Book Review, Books, Fiction, HEA, NetGalley, Romance, YA

Book Review: Playing Her Secret Crush ~ Casey Griffin

PLAYING HER SECRET CRUSH by Casey Griffin


Title: Playing Her Secret Crush
Author: Casey Griffin
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Shakera
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Date of Release: July 2, 2018
Pages: 270
Format: Kindle (Entangled Publishing)

Sometimes, there are words that are better left unsaid… This was totally not one of those times! Katie and Alex have had a crush on each other for quite some time. For good reasons, they never said anything. Now that senior year is here, it’s time to turn over a new leaf. Katie wants to be more outgoing and get a boyfriend, Alex wants a steady relationship. Can they overcome their own obstacles and get out of their own way?

What I loved is this book is every nerd’s dream! Who doesn’t love talking about gaming!? Both Katie and Alex are sweet and endearing, but at the same time, they do frustrate you as a reader. You know there are things they should say but don’t, but you also know and understand why. Their chemistry was great, even with the secondary characters. I would love a second book… if it’s written in the stars!

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Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, NetGalley, Romance, Sci-fi, series, YA

Book Review: Bring Me Their Hearts ~ Sara Wolf

Bring Me Their Hearts
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Title: Bring Me Their Hearts (Book 1)
Author: Sara Wolf
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Shakera
Genre: Fantasy, Folklore, Sci-Fi, YA
Publisher: MacMillan
Date of Release: June 5, 2018
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback (Entangled Publishing)

When asked to not only do a cover reveal but a read and review, I had to jump at the chance!

One night, a group of bandits killed Zera’s parents and almost killed her until a witch, Nightsinger, saved her life by making her heartless… literally. Being a “heartless” isn’t too much different from being a zombie, except you still look human.  Now she is under the control of Nightsinger. Zera was made an offer she couldn’t refuse, bring me the heart of Crown Prince Lucien and I’ll give you your freedom… but fail, and your heart shall be crushed. Decisions, decisions!

I knew immediately I would love Zera! Who doesn’t love a sassy, smart-mouthed, strong young lady?! I appreciated her internal battle for her humanity. The relationship between Zera and Prince Lucien really worked for me. It felt like time was taken for them to get to know each other. The only issue I had with the book was the pacing… it was a bit slow for my liking, but still an enjoyable story. The cover is stunning, great storytelling, and I’m already excited for the next installment. I can’t wait!

Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, NetGalley, Sci-fi, series, YA

Book Review: The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray ~ B.A. Williamson

The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray
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Title: The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray
Author: B.A. Williamson
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by: Shakera
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: North Star Editions
Date of Release: May 15, 2018
Pages: 336
Format: Kindle (NetGalley)

In a world that is all black, white, and gray, things can become extremely boring! No one knows how that feels better than Gwendolyn Gray! She faces a very serious problem… she doesn’t think in black and white. She is the only person her age that doesn’t think the way everyone else does, and that leaves her as an outcast. As her parents and classmates continue to fall under the influence of the gray, dull society, Gwendolyn’s vivid imagination runs wild and naturally gets her in trouble. There are two faceless men who will stop at nothing to stop Gwendolyn from changing the world as they know it, including completely wiping cities off the map. Can Gwendolyn, with the help of two friends, stop the two faceless men and save everyone from a dull, gray existence?

This was the kind of book I read as a child! It is so awesome to read about a child having such a vivid imagination! There is something about a child using their imagination to save the world that is absolutely amazing. There are so many great things about this book: a narrator who acknowledges the readers and makes you feel as though you are a part of the story, Gwendolyn realizing she isn’t just some silly girl. There is a real power in your imagination. Stirling and Sparrow are great characters! The addition of siblings Stirling and Sparrow helped create the steampunk feel this book had. The story was great and I loved the small moments when the narrator would say, “I’ll spare you the boring details…”, “Sparrow said a few words that wouldn’t be polite to repeat…”. This might be a turn off for most, but I enjoyed it. The pacing was quite quick with world-building along the way, which was spectacularly done.

What was amazing about this story was the way it challenged the way stories/fairy tales are usually told. Normally it would start with “Once upon a time…”, but instead, it challenged you with “What if…?” Here’s to Gwendolyn Gray, for showing us it’s okay to stand out in a world where you were meant to blend it, for showing us it’s okay to use your imagination, and going against the norms… because being normal is overrated.

 

18+, Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, HEA, Romance, Sci-fi, YA

Book Review: A Million Junes ~ Emily Henry

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Title: A Million Junes
Author: Emily Henry
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Shakera
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Magical Realism, YA
Publisher: Razorbill
Date of Release: May 16, 2017
Pages: 350
Format: Kindle (First to Read)

This is a modern rendition of Romeo and Juliet with a twist. Do you believe what happens in the past can and will effect your future? What if what happened was generations before you were born? What if a misunderstand stood in your way of happiness, and it was a misunderstanding before you or your parents existed? This is what Jack (June) and Saul are facing, and they decide to face it head on!

This story requires you to use a bit of imagination. There’s a hint of magical realism, which is beautifully executed. Each character served a purpose, even if you didn’t understand what their purpose was in that exact moment. This story is witty, whimsical, and fun. The writing is superb in a way the author creates such a spellbinding world, characters, story, and you can’t help but to get caught up in the whirlwind that is Jack and Saul.

I will be completely honest with you, this book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea… and that’s okay! Read this book with an open mind and a bit of imagination, and you’ll love this book as much as I do. I thought this was absolutely fantastic.

Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, series, YA

Book Review: TruthStone ~ Mike Shelton

TruthStone
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Title: TruthStone (The TruthSeer Archives, Book 1)
Author: Mike Shelton
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Shakera
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Indie
Date of Release: February 15, 2018
Pages: 291
Format: Kindle (Mike Shelton via AXP)

We all know the sayings: “Thou shall not lie,” “The truth shall set you free,” and “A little lie never hurt anyone.” In this case, the truth is as dangerous as the lie… and a lie, even a tiny one, can be quite painful.

Fifteen year old, Shaeleen learns the unfortunate consequences when she becomes the TruthSeer. Every little lie, even half-truths, causes her pain. For centuries, the kingdom was protected and served by gemstones of power, each stone represented a different power. Now, those stones are failing. There is an challenge for the throne, but there are so many lies surrounding the throne, can Shaeleen save the throne AND survive? Or will she make the ultimate sacrifice? Travel with Shaeleen as she tours the kingdom, meeting new friends and foes along the way, as she learns what it means to be a TruthSeer.

What a whirlwind?! I was swept away from the very beginning. Shaeleen is a bright young lady with a good head on her shoulders. She’s put in a difficult position as she becomes the TruthSeer, and you start to see how often people lie. Even if the lie wasn’t outrageous, it was something as small as “I like your dress,” could easily have her doubled over in pain. Equally as bad, all the people who want your power. While having the TruthStone does make it easy to know who to trust, it’s not so easy when you have to match strength and sometimes wit. This story was well executed, and engaging. I truly enjoyed watching Shaeleen try to navigate her way around the truth and people who are following dark forces. I will definitely be staying tuned to see where this goes.

18+, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Free, Romance, series, Suspense

Bargain Tuesday: Soho Dead, The Edinburgh Seer, Secrets of Redemption

Soho Dead
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Title: Soho Dead(The Soho Series, Book 1)
Author: Greg Keen
Genre: Mystery
Date of Release: July 1, 2017
Pages: 334

¸¸.•¨•★ $1.99! ★•¨•.¸¸

Kenny Gabriel is three years away from turning sixty, has forty-three quid in the bank and is occasionally employed to find people who would rather not be found. Broke, clientless and depressed, he knows things can’t get much worse. Then he’s summoned to the office of London media magnate Frank Parr, whose daughter, Harry, is missing—and there’s ten grand on the table to get her back.

It’s a lot of money, and God knows Kenny needs the cash. But he and Frank have a history he’d rather not revisit. Kenny worked for him in the seventies, when Frank was the head of a Soho magazine empire and owner of an infamous nightclub. And Kenny might still be working for Frank now—if he hadn’t witnessed his boss brutally torturing another employee.

Kenny suspects taking this job is a mistake, and he’s probably right. Because while he may be done with the past, the past is far from done with him.

For Prime members: Read and listen for free!

 

The Edinburgh Seer Series
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Title: The Edinburgh Seer (The Complete Trilogy)
Author: Alisha Klapheke
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Date of Release: March 23, 2018
Pages: Unknown

¸¸.•¨•★ $0.99! ★•¨•.¸¸

She thought hiding her sixth sense would solve everything. She was very, very wrong.

In a land divided by corruption and rebellion, Aini successfully manages her father’s altered candy lab alongside an apprentice—the mysterious, sexy Thane.

But life goes from sweet to sour when the most nefarious clan in Scotland abducts her father.

And the only way to rescue him is to risk using her sixth sense and stop fighting Fate.

Leap into USA Today bestselling author Alisha Klapheke’s unique, action-packed adventure, an urban fantasy series that fans of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander will love!

Free with Kindle Unlimited

 

Secrets of Redemption
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Title: Secrets of Redemption
Author: L.K. Shaw
Genre: Suspense
Date of Release: March 24, 2017
Pages: 280

¸¸.•¨•★ Free! ★•¨•.¸¸

I killed a man.

He deserved to die, but guilt threatens to consume me. Every time I close my eyes, all I see is blood. His face haunts me, and I don’t know how much more I can take. My life is out of control. Then, there is Josie. I’ve wanted her for years, and now, I can never have her. Darkness surrounds me. I’m damaged goods. A murderer.

I killed a man.

He deserved to die, and never once have I regretted my actions. Then, there is Miles, who walks around as if ghosts are chasing him. I know what he did, and I know it’s eating him alive. I’ve loved him for years, and now, it’s time for action. Time for him to learn that submission will give him back his control. I only hope my Domination can light his way out of the darkness.

 

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Book Review, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Sci-fi, series, YA

Book Review: The Vampire Secret ~ Tricia Barr

 

The Vampire Secret
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3-and-a-half-stars
Title: The Vampire Secret (The Amarant Series, Book 1)
Author: Tricia Barr
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by: Shakera
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Date of Release: March 17, 2018
Pages: 374
Format: PDF (JA Culican Review)

What do you do when you’re a 17 (going on 18) year old who loves reading vampire novels and you notice some anomalies? You do what all other sane people do… you look up the author and lose your shit when you find out he’s an actual vampire! Well, not all sane people would do that… just Crimson. Crimson is obsessed with the author, Nicholae Albaric, an actual vampire who writes about his life adventures, never realizing someone would think they were true. Crimson isn’t all that she seems… but she doesn’t know it. She is a very rare and special breed, but the only way to know that would be her eyes. Can Nicholae save her or will an old enemy ruin his plans?

The characters are likable enough. The hard part is remembering Crimson is a teenager. It shouldn’t be too hard to remember she’s a teenager, given her dialogue. Some of her thoughts will make you frustrated or annoyed; which is why you have to keep in mind her age. I can understand some of the comparisons to Twilight, but I think this is slightly better. One of my issues with this book is how long it took to get to Crimson meeting Nicholae, and the synopsis to come to life. All of her interactions with her friends weren’t necessary. The book didn’t need a lot of fluff. You kinda got that with Benny. Benny is a loveable vampire when you get to know him. He provides a decent amount of comic relief. There was a point in the book where Benny’s name was spelled differently. While this didn’t factor into my rating, it definitely stood out.

I liked the story well enough, but it didn’t wow me. The synopsis is great and the cover is fantastic, it just takes a little too long to get into.