Author: Sarah Williams
Title: The Brothers of Brigadier Station
Genre(s): Romance; Western; Contemporary
Review: This story is incredibly charming and such a fun romantic read. I love how Meghan seeks out a simple life in the country as opposed to the city life that our generation tends to lean towards. Her character really appreciates the outback and what the outdoors can do for the soul. I think the dynamic between Meghan and Lachie is interesting and I see how he was her connection to getting the life she always wanted. But the story didn't really become engaging until Darcy (Lachie's younger brother) came into the picture. The description of his rugged looks and laid back demeanor made my own heart melt! I enjoyed reading how their relationship blossomed into a beautiful and honest friendship. The men's mother also played an important role for Meghan and their relationship warmed the story further. I think the idea of a women falling in love with her betrothed's brother is intriguing and taboo, which made some moments nerve racking. But the respect that Meghan and Darcy had for Lachie showed the genuineness of the characters and it made me fall even more in love with them. I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a heart warming southern romance.
Book Description: "She came to the outback to marry the love of her life. She just didn't expect him to be her fiancé's younger brother. When Meghan Flanagan, a vet-nurse from Townsville, moves to Brigadier Station in outback Queensland to marry the man of her dreams, she is shocked to discover that perhaps her fiancé isn’t the man she wants waiting for her at the altar. The man she's destined to marry, just might be his younger brother. Cautious of women after a disastrous past relationship, Darcy is happy living on his beloved cattle station, spending his spare time riding horses, going to rodeos and campdrafting. He didn't expect the perfect woman to show up on his doorstep. Engaged to his brother. With the wedding only hours away, Meghan must make the decision of a lifetime. But, her betrayal could tear the family apart. She knows all too well the pain of losing loved ones and being alone. Now that she has the family she so desperately wants; will she risk losing it all? Set in the drought stricken plains of Julia Creek, North Queensland and the coastal city of Townsville this is a rural romance that will leave you asking: Will she marry the right man, for the right reasons?"
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Title: Throne of Glass
Genre(s): Teens; Romance; Fantasy; Literature and fiction; Action and adventure; Science fiction and fantasy; Sword and sorcery
Review: I have seen Maas's novels all over the internet recently, but it took me a little while to jump onto the bandwagon. When I was younger, I enjoyed reading fantasy and SciFi immensely. But as my bio suggests, I have more recently been engaged with romance novels and mystery, so I was a little nervous how I would like the first installment of this series. But I am very glad that I took the chance, because I am obsessed with this book! So obsessed in fact, that I am trying my hardest not to read the second book so that I can finish the other novels I have lying around. During the first few chapters, I immediately began to fall in love with Celaena Sardothien. She is the epitome of a strong female heroine that has incredible insight to the things that hold her back and what she must do to overcome them. Her character is also incredibly relatable in that when she first meets someone, her walls are up. But as time progresses and trust builds, her walls come down and her relationships form. In regards to the fantasy world that Maas created, it took me away from mine and implanted my imagination into Adarlan. Although her description of the fantasy world is not as elaborate as some other known novels (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc.) it was detailed enough that I could picture exactly what it looked like in my mind. I am really excited to see how the setting unfolds as I get deeper into the series. Although Celaena was the main character, I think that Maas was able to portray the other pertinent characters excellently. I knew exactly who each person was in terms of their place in the story and their traits. I really enjoyed the dynamic that unfolded between the triangle of Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian. Maas set their stories up for a long-term engagement and I'm really intrigued by how all of their characters developed separately and together in this installment. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a great fantasy read with a lot of action, mystery, and a little bit of romance.
Book Description: "In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world."
Author: Morgan Matson
Title: The Unexpected Everything
Genre(s): Teens; Literature and fiction; Social and family issues; Family; Parents; Dating and sex
Review: This book is incredibly charming and the perfect read for summer. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Andie and her three friends. They all had their own quirks and contributed to the group in unique ways. The relationship between Andie and her father was torturous for me in the beginning, because I hate to read about conflicts between parents and their children. This was just a personal dislike for me, but I think the beginning really made room for relational and character growth as the story progressed. Clark's character was also really engaging and intrigued me. I think that his maturity added a lot to the plot and it helped Andie's character move forward. I gave this book 4 stars because I was having a really tough time getting into it at the beginning. I don't know if it was the timing of me reading this book or if it was the story itself, but it has taken me several months to get past the parts that didn't reach out to me. BUT I will say that I am so glad that I stuck it out, because the latter half is a true treasure. I was laughing out loud and even teared up at some points. Having gotten to the end, I now understand the purpose of the slower beginning. Matson really laid out the foundation of Andie's character and the foundation was crucial for an in depth development. I think if I had read this at a different time in my life I would have appreciated the beginning a lot more, but in going with my honest reaction I still gave it four stars. I think that teens and adults alike would enjoy this novel. Teens would be able to easily relate to the characters and adults would find it charming and elegantly written.
Book Description: "Andie must learn to embrace the beauty in chaos in this New York Times bestselling novel about friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans. Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan. Future? A top-tier medical school. Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around). Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else? Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks. So it’s no surprise that Andie has her summer all planned out too. Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all--working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?"
Author: Victoria Quinn
Title: Black Obsidian
Genre(s): Romance; Contemporary
Review: I was really disappointed after finishing this book. I had high hopes for it after reading a bunch of reviews and seeing that it was compared to 50 Shades of Grey and the Crossfire Series. Rome and Calloway obviously have a very strong connection, but as the story progressed I realized that there was very little substance. Sure, they each had each gone through incredibly difficult situations that led to their adulthood problems. However, I find that storyline to be so typical among erotic novels now that I am craving for something more. The book was also limited in the sense that there was limited interaction with other characters until the very end. Personally, I enjoy books more when the main characters interact with people in their life on a consistent basis. It makes the story feel more real-life to me. Aside from these complaints, I will admit that the sexual scenes were very steamy. I will be reading the other installments of the series because I just want the storyline to get better and I am hoping that it will in the other books. Check back for reviews on the other books in the series over the next several weeks.
Book Description: "I was standing at the bar and waiting for a friend when it happened. When my life changed forever. She strutted inside with her head held high with grace, not pretentiousness. With legs that reached her neck, and an hourglass frame perfect for gripping, she got me hard instantly. And those green eyes got the rest of my body hard too. Mistaking me for the man who cheated on her friend, she walked up to me, those green eyes burning with fire, and she slapped me so hard my skin bubbled. And damn, it felt good. She slapped me two more times, using her petite size to gain momentum as her palm crushed into my skin. I never wanted it to end. I'd never met a woman who made pain feel so good. I'd never met a woman as strong as myself. I'd never met a woman I wanted to dominate more. I'd never met a woman like her. Rome Moretti. My next submissive."
Author: B.A. Paris
Title: Behind Closed Doors
Genre(s): Mystery; Thrillers and suspense
Review: To put it mildly, I am obsessed with this book! I read the description multiple times before finally deciding to take the plunge because honestly, the description does not do the story justice. This book is certainly one to keep you on your toes until the very end. One thing I found interesting was how the chapters rotated from past to present. Personally, I have never read a book in this format and I was not sure how I would like it as the story went on. However, it made for a really great presentation of the story. I must admit that there were multiple times when I became frustrated with Grace's character. Although, I believe Paris created Grace to be that way so the ending would have more of an impact. Jack's character was equally as well developed. The way he came across kept me so intrigued during chapters that were moving a little more slowly for my taste. I would definitely categorize this book as a psychological thriller and I recommend it to anyone who greatly enjoys character development.
Book Description: "Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable. Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows. Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed."
Author: Deborah Harkness
Titles: A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, The Book of Life
Genre(s): Mystery; Thriller and suspense; Supernatural; Vampires and witches
Review: This trilogy is by far my favorite when it comes to fantasy featuring witches and vampires. Each book followed its own path while still remaining connected to the main plot. Unlike other novels within this genre, Harkness was able to create a realistic world where vampires and witches exist while staying hidden from humans. It was also very obvious that she did her research about the settings that she placed her characters in. Her knowledge of present-day England and the United States, as well as the history of England made her written world come to life in an incredible way. There was never a scene that I couldn't picture in my mind. Harkness also created a world of characters that genuinely helped the story to evolve past Diana and Matthew. Each character added another layer to the plot and they also helped each book to stand out on their own. I also really enjoyed how the world of witches and vampires merged through an ancient romantic connection, but I wouldn't characterize this trilogy as a romance. Harkness added touches of romance throughout and it added a really nice touch. This trilogy kept me on my toes, but in a really good way. I highly recommend this story to anyone who is looking to genuinely get lost in another world.
A Discovery of Witches: "Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont."
Shadow of Night: "Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey."
The Book of Life: "Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present—facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency."
Author: Helen Hardt
Genre(s): Romance; Western; Literature and fiction
Review: I have to admit that I am a huge sucker for erotic romance novels. I don't know what it is, but after reading the 50 Shades of Grey saga, I became hooked! I came across Craving when I was on Instagram. It was an ad that stated the storyline was steamier than that of Christian Grey. So naturally I had to give it a chance! Although the story was stimulating in some ways, it was really difficult for me to concentrate on that and the characters because there were so many glaring typos and grammar errors. The errors were not just in the beginning, middle, or end of the book, but all throughout. I was dedicated to get through the novel, but it was very distracting. If there weren't as many errors, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more. The relationship between Jade and Talon was interesting for sure, but something always felt off for me. Their connection did not come across as genuine as other character connections I have read about. Since this story is presented as a Saga, I wish that Hardt would have spent more time on the setting details and character development. I think doing so would have made this story significantly better. But overall it was a quick read, so I would recommend it for the beach or a lazy Sunday.
Book Description: "After being left at the altar, Jade Roberts seeks solace at her best friend's ranch on the Colorado western slope. Her humiliation still ripe, she doesn't expect to be attracted to her friend's reticent brother, but when the gorgeous cowboy kisses her, all bets are off. Talon Steel is broken. Having never fully healed from a horrific childhood trauma, he simply exists, taking from women what is offered and giving nothing in return...until Jade Roberts catapults into his life. She is beautiful, sweet, and giving, and his desire for her becomes a craving he fears he'll never be able to satisfy. Passion sizzles between the two lovers...but long-buried secrets haunt them both and may eventually tear them apart."
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Title: The Chemist
Genre(s): Mystery; Thriller and suspense; Literature and fiction
Review: This is one of the many books that I listened to via audible. Although I realize that listening to a book is obviously much different than reading it myself, I still feel like I can get the picture in my mind of what the author is trying to paint. I gave this thrilling story 4.5 stars instead of 5 because the first few chapters were not as captivating as the rest of the story. I don't mind a slow start, but this one was almost excruciatingly slow. I found myself paying more attention to the road than I was to the story (which I probably should pay more attention to the road while driving haha!). However, once Meyer started to establish the storyline more, it became incredibly exciting and I was on the edge of my seat the entire journey. Meyer provided the perfect amount of setting details to really help my mind paint a picture of where the characters were at and the kind of trouble they were each facing. The character development was another aspect that I really enjoyed. There were subtle, but definitely noticeable changes made throughout. The development really came across as natural and not sudden. Although I am a true romance junky, I loved that Meyer did not make the heart of the story about romance. It was more tailored towards self-discovery and character strength, but the added romance was a bonus for this little lady. Having read Meyer's Twilight saga, I was pleasantly surprised by personal growth as an author. The difference between The Chemist and Meyer's other novels was astronomical, in a good way. I really recommend working your way through the first few chapters because the story itself is well worth the read.
Book Description: In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life. She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous. Resolving to meet the threat head on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life, but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of. In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors.
Ever since I was a teenager, I have always wanted to write a book. Although still very young, I have lived through some very interesting events that I think would make an exciting base for a great adventure. However, I tend to procrastinate and I consistently told myself that I would get to writing my book one day. For about 10 years that day never arrived...until recently. As I approached an age that made me closer to 30 than 20-years-old, I quickly became anxiety ridden that my life only consisted of one thing, school. I have been in school for 21 years now and being a student has become my identity. I never thought that I could be more than that, but I am thankful for my sudden change of heart. Why not now? You can go to work, be a parent and/or spouse, have fun, and still write a book. Before I started the first chapter of my novel I did a ton of research on how to write a book. There was a wealth of information and I quickly became consumed with the thoughts of publishing and cover reveals and expanding my social media following. All the while I still did not start my book. After spending hours researching the best way to start a lightbulb went off. I just need to start the damn thing! So that is exactly what I did. I sat down on my back patio, three dogs and a kitty in tow, and I wrote. It took me about a month to finish my first chapter, but once I hit the period symbol after that last word I felt a rush of adrenaline. I was actually following through with it! So my advice to those who haven't started is to simply begin. Even if the story changes and you have to scratch the whole beginning, that's okay. Find a space that makes you calm and focused. Shut off your phone and turn off your computer's notifications. Distractions make for easy procrastination. You are capable of making your story and creation come to fruition, so just do it already!
Author: Samantha March
Title: Defining Her
Genre: Contemporary Women
Available on Amazon
Review: I know Samantha virtually through our YouTube beauty channels and when she started talking about releasing her 5th novel I immediately emailed her for a signed pre-order copy. Although I have only talked to Samantha through social media, I can tell how genuine of a person she is. Writing is her passion and it definitely shined through in Defining Her. This story transported me to a situation that felt extremely similar. The characters in this novel were eloquently created and their growth throughout the story was portrayed in the best way possible. There were times when I found myself loathing each character because of the decisions they made, but that just made the story so much more enjoyable. I connected with them on a level that was raw and human. It revealed that pain that all humans go through when they make life changing errors. But it was the characters' realization of their mistakes that really captured my heart. As long as we learn, we can grow. Samantha did an excellent job conveying the struggles that everyone goes through and her story's ending left me with a fuzzy feeling. I highly recommend this read, especially to women!
Author's Description: "Nellie Hawthorne is a woman who has it all. A devoted husband, her own business, a wealthy lifestyle. But the Nellie she is now is much different from her past. A past filled with abuse, addiction, and men. Nellie’s carefully constructed new life is suddenly in jeopardy when a blast from the past emerges in her small town and her overbearing mother-in-law starts pushing for grandchildren and questions start being asked. A budding new friendship presents itself at an opportune time, and a once friendless Nellie finds herself growing closer to Prue Doherty. Prue Doherty is the quintessential good girl. Always making the right decisions, always playing it safe. Until she meets a man that could change all of that. Still reeling from a devastating breakup and betrayal that had her fleeing from Chicago and settling into suburb life with her mom close by, Prue finds herself in a damaging funk. But everything changes when she befriends Nellie Hawthorne. Nellie is trying to escape her past. Prue wants that perfect future. While both women strive to change their lives, they continue to cling to the past. But what defines us? Who we were then . . . or who we are trying to be now? Lies, manipulation, and deceit are woven throughout the pages of this edgy women’s fiction novel, with an ending you won’t see coming. This novel contains adult content, graphic language and disturbing situations."