adult fiction, book review, coming of age, historical fiction, paranormal, romance

The Beautiful Ones | ARC Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: The Beautiful Ones

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 327

Publication Date: 4/27/21

Categories: Romance, Paranormal, Alternate Historical Fiction

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and
himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

  • This is the first novel I’ve read from this author, though I have Mexican Gothic on my TBR list and I fell in love with this story as it just pulled me in and didn’t let go. I don’t know what I really expected from it, but I found the writing so engaging, and beautiful.
  • I became a reader through romance novels so this was everything I want in a romance. I really was swept away and could not put the book down. There is passion, jealousy, betrayal, romance and love. I felt like my heart was being squeezed by the end of the story but in a good way.
  • I liked how this was an alternate historical fiction story, even though the places resembled high society in England some time in the early 1900’s perhaps, whatever time period where motorcars were being introduced. The characters attended balls, a season of parties, socializing and summer in the countryside. A fun twist is that Nina and Hector both could do telekinesis. In this world of The Beautiful Ones, it’s an extraordinary skill but looked down upon in high society. It makes Nina stand out in unpleasant ways, whereas Hector thrives with the skill being a performer. The two feel less alone when together.
  • Nina isn’t beautiful like her cousin’s wife Valerie, but she comes from a well known family. Unfortunately she’s too different, she talks when she’s not supposed to and it’s usually about inappropriate things like bugs, plus she can do telekinesis. She’s never made friends easily because she is different but I like how it didn’t stop her from being who she is and enjoying life. And thank goodness for her supportive family who loves her just as she is.
  • I love how Nina and Hector’s love grow. Their love is not quite a slow burn because Hector has been burning for Valerie, Nina’s cousin-in-law. I liked how the story explored burning passion and love versus something that forms into friendship and grows steadily into love.
  • Valerie ~ she is hateful but her character was done so well. So well that I hated her. Here was this woman who had the love she always wanted but he was poor. As a woman she had to marry well and she did, breaking the heart of her first love in the process. When he comes back to her, she revels in his obsession with her, they are both obsessed with one another, but whereas Hector believes it’s love, for Valerie, it’s possession. Nina is the innocent miss but Valerie is the hard, calculated woman and I was fascinated with her downward spiral.

The Beautiful Ones swept me off my romantic feet. I was hoping Nina would get some satisfaction over Hector and Valerie’s games and she does come out triumphant. This story is emotional, tragic, hopeful and everything I want in a romance. I am a new fan of this author and look forward to reading more books from her.

🦋 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, Blog tour, book review, historical fiction, netgalley, romance

BLOG TOUR } The Last Bookshop in London by. Madeline Martin | ARC Review

Welcome to the blog tour for The Last Bookshop in London!

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: The Last Bookshop in London

Author: Madeline Martin

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 4/6/21

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Buy Here: Amazon | B & N | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro.fm | Books-A-Million | Target | Kobo | AppleBooks | Google Play | Audible

Categories: Historical Fiction, WWII, London, Romance, Friendship, War, Bookshop

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature.

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.

  • How can I not enjoy a story about a bookshop? This one is even more inspirational because it’s about a bookshop in London during the Blitz in World War II. London was being bombed and yet this bookshop was there to keep people’s spirits up, keep them hoping, or keep their mind off what was happening.
  • Almost all the characters are wholesome, especially Grace who is a nice girl just wanting to get some work experience in London. She helps turn a bookshop around but other than that she is a very caring person ~ you can see it with the way she is with her friends and the new people she meets in London.
  • There is a minor romance in this story and what is a war story without a love story? Thankfully this one isn’t tragic, but sweet and hopeful. It’s always nice to remember when once upon a time, people did fall for each other through letter writing! It was all about patience back in the day.
  • I learned a lot of historical information from the book. I got a glimpse of all the organization people could volunteer for to help in the war. I thought that moment Grace and Viv go out on the town while bombs were dropping was pretty surreal! Also I enjoyed all of the St. Paul’s Cathedral history because it was one of my favorite places to visit when I did go to London few years ago. London really did survive!

Triggers: war, death, bombing

  • This was a super fast read, almost like the story glossed over the many things about war. I expected depth but it felt like a light historical fiction story. There was death and such but the story never felt heavy, unless I just never connected to the characters to feel their grief. Despite lacking depth, I think it held on to the message of Grace and the bookshop being an inspiration, a candle in the dark to so many suffering in the city during that time.

If you want to read a World War II story about books and hope, you will enjoy this one. Although it lacked the heaviness and depth of typical stories set during war time, I think the message about friendship, and community is a beautiful thing.

📚 ~ Yolanda

About the Author:

Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY bestselling author of historical romance novels filled with twists and turns, adventure, steamy romance, empowered heroines and the men who are strong enough to love them.

Website: http://www.madelinemartin.com/ 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

adult fiction, book review, contemporary, historical fiction, netgalley

BLOG TOUR } The Lost Apothecary by. Sarah Penner | ARC Review

Welcome to the blog tour for The Lost Apothecary by. Sarah Penner!

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: The Lost Apothecary

Author: Sarah Penner

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 3/2/21

Buy Here: Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Books-A-Million | Target | Libro.fm

Categories: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

  • The story is told through three perspectives, the past with Nella and Eliza and then present time with Caroline.
  • Caroline is going through some marriage trouble but I love how her curiosity to find out about an old apothecary bottle leads her to learning a lot of things about herself and the choices she made in life. I could relate to Caroline a lot.
  • Nella and Eliza’s story were fascinating ~ especially because that apothecary was one used by women to do harm. Was it okay for them to do that? In those times women had no resources to help them against men causing them harm so I can see why they resorted to poison. I felt for both Nella and Eliza and what happened to them.
  • The history about the apothecary is fascinating and I love how at the end of the book the author included recipes, non-harmful ones, of course!
  • There were moments I was more interested in Caroline’s life than Nella and Eliza’s but I think there was a good balance of both.
  • The twist in the end definitely tied in the women’s stories together.

I found the historical aspects of this story quite fascinating since I’ve always been drawn to stories about apothecaries and healing. It’s so interesting to learn about how people survived without modern medicine but in this case, how women survived some very bad situations they were trapped in. Caroline is the modern woman trying to get out of a situation she’s found herself in and researching Nella’s apothecary helps her find the strength to do the right thing.

📖 ~ Yolanda

About the Author:

Sarah Penner is the debut author of The Lost Apothecary, to be translated in eleven languages worldwide. She works full-time in finance and is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida, with their miniature dachshund, Zoe. To learn more, visit slpenner.com.

https://www.sarahpenner.com/ | Facebook: @SarahPennerAuthor | Instagram: @sarah_penner_author | Twitter: @sl_penner

adult fiction, book review, fantasy, New adult, romance

A Court of Silver Flames | Book Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: A Court of Silver Flames

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Format: eBook (owned)

Pages: 768

Publication Date: 2/16/21

Categories: Fantasy, New Adult, Adult, Romance, Family, Friendship, Mature Audience

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

  • Off the bat I want to say if you were uncomfortable with Rhys and Feyre’s sex scenes – then you will be more so with Nesta and Cassian. Because let me tell ya…it’s hot, it’s intense, and Nesta and Cassian enjoy it that way. Some will think it’s too much but I was a romance reader before I was a young adult reader so this is nothing new. More power to them! I expected nothing less especially from Nesta and Cassian. I’m actually glad this book is for more mature audiences because it was starting to get that way with Rhys and Feyre but was still being touted as Young Adult. Nesta and Cassian in the sheets or out of it lol…is 🧨. But because this series went from young adult to new adult/adult, I think there should be warnings to prepare a young adult reader haha.
  • I always loved Nesta because she was fierce, not likable, but I could admire her protectiveness over Elaine even though I despised her for treating Feyre the way she did – but everyone has a past. Someone isn’t hard and bitter and cruel as a child, they are made that way. And we learn just how Nesta’s upbringing shaped her into this woman with very sharp edges and walls, so many walls. Her story is important. I cried for Nesta multiple times in this story. I resonated with her – her story triggered a lot of things in me. She is at rock bottom but she rises to the top, claws her way to the top of the mental pit she’s in.
  • Friendship. This book and the women in it and the FRIENDSHIP. Even with Cassian, it’s her friendship with him that makes them so perfect for one another. Cassian doesn’t give up on her, doesn’t pity her. It’s why Cassian is her perfect mate. But the new women we meet that come into Nesta’s life are a force to reckon with. These women have been traumatized, scarred, broken, like Nesta – but they help each other up. Ugh…what it did to my heart seeing women uplift women. It’s beautiful.
  • Family ~ this one is tricky and messy and so complicated. But even I understood how she needed to break from them and choose her own family (her friends). There is so much hurt between Nesta and her sisters, I mean look what they all went through in the previous books. Trauma. Feyre and Elaine weathered it better but Nesta did not. Nesta has to learn to make amends, and she has to forgive herself. So easy to say, so hard to do but she gets there. It’s heartbreaking but she gets there.
  • Romance ~ Cassian gives Nesta the tools to save herself and when she breaks, he is there to tell her she got this. THIS MAN. UGH….give him to me. 😅 I love how he wasn’t afraid of her sharp edges. I liked how he called her out on his bs, and I liked how he gave her space even though he wanted to consume her. She was always so safe with him, from day one.
  • Triggers: story of rape, story of abuse, violence, death, grief, depression, self-loathing
  • Because I’ve read so many romance novels in my lifetime and sex is always in it ~ I get that SJM’s sex scene can be go from dirty talk to stars are exploding and the world is ending or made new when they orgasm. 😅 I’m like, okay…chill with the universe coming apart already. Fae sex is good, I get it! lol…but that’s just her writing style.
  • This is a long book but I read it in one day (throughout the day because I have kids and a puppy to care for) ~ it didn’t feel long to me though. The story is very character driven but yes there is actually something going on other than Nesta falling apart haha, the human Queen that was turned into a crone in the Cauldron wants to be made young again and she needs three artifacts to do it. War between courts/kingdoms are also threatening to erupt again. But for me ~ Nesta took the spotlight. It is her story.
  • Did I mentioned I cried? Multiple times, because I could relate to Nesta’s personal journey on so many levels.
  • Now give me Azriel’s story. Also, Morrigan and Elaine’s please. ☺️

This book went above and beyond my expectations, especially with care to Nesta’s character development. Also, with Nesta and Cassian’s love story. This is for my new adult/adult romance lovers, young adult readers beware if you aren’t here for the sex because Nesta and Cassian deserve their adult sexy times. 😅 I think it’s funny how Cassian is an alpha male but hello, Nesta is an alpha female, so when those two collide? It’s not fire, it’s dynamite. What I loved the most in this story has to be the friendships that Nesta builds, as the story kept reiterating “like calls to like“. Nesta called to me from the moment I met her because she had some darkness in her, some trauma and grief we didn’t know about that shaped her and made her lash out and angry. She needed to break so many walls and fears inside her to rebuild herself into someone she doesn’t hate. Nesta had to face her past and make amends. She had to forgive herself, she had to not give up, she had to just try. That’s inspiring and brave. It’s courageous, and that’s Nesta. This story broke me in so many ways but it will be the one that stays in my head for a long time ~ when I feel low, I’ll just remember Nesta’s climb to the top. ♥️ One step at a time. 💪🏾

📚 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, fantasy, historical fiction, magic, Mystery, netgalley

The Conductors | ARC Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: The Conductors

Author: Nicole Glover

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 3/2/21

Publisher: John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books

Categories: Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Slavery, Underground Railroad, Magic, Adult Fiction

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

A compelling debut by a new voice in fantasy fiction, The Conductors features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler’s Kindred: Introducing Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.

  • I love how the underground railroad and slavery history are part of this story. Hetty helped many people escape the South after the Civil War by using her magic and bravery. Now that she is in Philadelphia she plays a role in figuring out murders taking place around them, some of the victims being her friends.
  • The celestial magic in the story was very interesting. I liked how it was based off of constellations and they used sigils to conjure up the magic.
  • Hetty is a strong character – she is smart, caring and so brave.
  • Hetty and Benjy’s relationship was a marriage of convenience but it grew into something more which was so nice to see. They really were partners in solving the mystery and taking care of the people around them.
  • Triggers: slavery, abuse, murder
  • This is definitely a mystery, not quite a cozy mystery, and mysteries and I have a strained relationship – meaning if it’s too slow, I will not be invested in the story. This was slow for me. If you like mysteries though, this might be up your alley.
  • It would have been nice to learn more about the magic system because it sounded so fascinating. I love the idea of using the constellation sigils as magic. I just needed a little more information about the magic.

The concept of blending magic, black history tied to slavery, post civil war and the underground railroad is fantastic. I just wished the story held my attention more and that we got to see more of the magic system. In the end, Hetty and Benjy make a good partnership as they figure out the mysteries and investigates murders happening around them. Even though this book wasn’t for me, I think mystery lovers will really enjoy this book because of it’s uniqueness.

📚 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, contemporary, new releases, romance

Ladies of the House | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Ladies of the House

Author: Lauren Edmondson

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 2/9/21

Publisher: Graydon House

Categories: Romance, Jane Austen Retelling, Contemporary, Politics

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

No surprise is a good surprise. At least according to thirty-four-year-old Daisy Richardson. So when it’s revealed in dramatic fashion that her esteemed father had been involved in a public scandal before his untimely death, Daisy’s life becomes complicated—and fast.

For one, the Richardsons must now sell the family home in Georgetown they can no longer afford, and Daisy’s mother is holding on with an iron grip. Her younger sister, Wallis, is ready to move on to bigger and better things but falls fast and hard for the most inconvenient person possible. And then there’s Atlas, Daisy’s best friend. She’s always wished they could be more, but now he’s writing an exposé on the one subject she’s been desperate to avoid: her father.

Daisy’s plan is to maintain a low profile as she works to keep her family intact amid social exile, public shaming, and quickly dwindling savings. But the spotlight always seems to find the Richardsons, and when another twist in the scandal comes to light, Daisy must confront the consequences of her continued silence and summon the courage to stand up and accept the power of her own voice.

  • I love how it is a Sense and Sensibility retelling, but modernized. It is set in Washington D.C. in the world of politics and I found it so fun to read.
  • The family bond is wonderful especially after the scandal that Daisy’s dad left behind. They are strong together as they try to move on past all the hate thrown at them in the community. The sister relationship between Daisy and Wallis is lovely.
  • Daisy was my favorite because she is smart, strong, level-headed and yet cares so much for her friends and family as well. Her character voice is strong and distinct. She’s in love with her best friend Atlas, but he is in a relationship. Daisy is also chief of staff for a senator in D.C. and is on the verge of losing her edge and job, so she’s dealing with a lot on her plate. But she owns up to her dad’s mistakes and tries to right a wrong somehow and I love that she knows what is right and does it.
  • The romance retelling was spot on with Daisy in love with Atlas who she couldn’t have because he has someone and Wallis who meets someone dashing who breaks her heart. It’s a happy ending for both.
  • It slowed down for me in the middle only because it was predictable to me but not in a bad way. I’ve just watched the Sense and Sensibility a lot haha ~ so I pretty much knew what would happen. But really, I do love the political atmosphere.

I enjoyed this modern retelling of Sense & Sensibility! It had scandal, drama, humor, romance, and best of all a bond between sisters and a mother that was on display in face of everything thrown at them.

📚 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, contemporary, E-book, magic, paranormal, romance

Fables & Other Lies | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Fables & Other Lies

Author: Claire Contreras

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 224

Publication Date: 12/20/20

Categories: Gothic Romance, Adult Fiction, Paranormal

Do you believe in curses? 

I never did.

Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.

Not until it came true. 

Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy. 

I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill. 

The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away. 

  • I love the whole mysterious, haunted house that is always covered in fog. There is a whole legend about the curse between the Guzman and Caliban families and it draws you in. The mood of this book was perfectly dark, somewhat creepy and yet sexy all at the same time.
  • Penny is a normal young lady, but a Guzman with a past she’s running from. She comes back home to take photos of the “house” which is about to be listed for sale. Coming back home brings back all kinds of memories that she has to deal with.
  • I enjoyed Penny’s friends Dee, Jose and Martin. They were lively, fun and had her back. I’m glad Penny had them since it doesn’t seem like she had much family.
  • The attraction between River and Penny is instant but nothing much happens until near the end of the book.
  • River is a fascinating character, very vague and mysterious but we do find out more about him in the end.
  • Triggers: sexual assault
  • I wish the story was longer..I think there was room to expand on River and Penny’s growing attraction. There was definitely sexual attraction but it would be nice to see them bond on another level and get to know River’s personality more. I was expecting much more emotions from them.
  • At the ending of the book, with the twist, at first read, I don’t know if it worked for me. I was confused for a moment, had to reread to make sense of it. After I thought about it, I realized I just had to keep my reality suspended.

I love the whole vibe of this book. It is dark, sexy, and mysterious. It drew me in, making me question the curse, the house, and made me wonder how will River and Penny come together. I do wish the story was longer so we could see their relationship grow, also the ending felt rushed. I definitely would like to read more from this author in the future though.

📚 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, historical fiction, netgalley

The Four Winds | ARC Review

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Title: The Four Winds

Author: Kristin Hannah

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 464

Publication Date: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: 2/2/21

Categories: Historical Fiction, Dust Bowl, Family

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America’s most defining eras—the Great Depression.

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. 

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

  • Kristin Hannah is an auto-read author for me. She does it again with The Four Winds and wow, this is a heavy read. But like the amazing writer she is, she makes you feel despair, desperation, fear, loss and eventually hope. This story is a hard journey into a bleak time during American History, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl era.
  • Not only does this book make you feel – it places you in the specific time and place so you can be there in person, struggling with Elsa and the Martinelli’s. I was praying for rain to help them! I was pleading for her daughter to give her mom a break. I was begging them to take the government help. I was enraged at the discrimination and poverty they experienced in California. Kristin Hannah always does research for her books and it shows! It’s why I love her books so much.
  • Elsa is our main character and she is a girl who just wants to be loved. She’s been ruled by fear and rules all her life only to be discarded by her family. But does she survive? Hell yes…she does everything for the love of her children. My god, her mother’s love is heartbreaking and enduring. Her daughter Loreda is a strong force in this story as well. She is carefree like her father and is at an age where she fights her mother on everything. It’s a long road for all of them, but mostly for these two and their relationship.
  • This story is so multi-layered. There are so many themes in this book: motherhood, pride, discrimination, poverty and survival.
  • Triggers: poverty, discrimination, depression
  • This story is pretty bleak and depressing. There isn’t much happy times at all in this book.

Kristin Hannah once again weaves an emotional tale of brutal struggle and hope. The mother-daughter relationship in this book hit me hard, especially at the end. Elsa Martinelli’s journey is one of courage and strength and I wished so much life was kinder to her. This is an inspiring story to remind us we can get through hard times and no matter what, love endures.

💛 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, book review, Dystopian, E-book, fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy

Savage Lands | Book Review

My Review: 4/5 Stars

Title: Savage Lands (Savage Lands, #1)

Author: Stacey Marie Brown

Format: ebook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 308

Categories: Dark Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Almost twenty years after the barrier between Earth and the Otherworld fell in the Fae Wars, Budapest is balancing on the precipice. A battle for dominance is brewing between the elite fae and the privileged humans in Eastern Europe. The prejudice between the sides is bubbling with hate and violence. 

Nineteen-year-old human, Brexley, has grown up in privilege, but not without heartbreak. After being orphaned, she is taken in by General Markos, living in a walled city rife with power grabs and ruthless political games. Then one night the course of her life changes, and Brexley is thrown into the most feared prison in the east. Halalhaz, the House of Death—where you go in but don’t come out. 

She must learn to live with the worst of fae and human criminals. The rule of hierarchy puts humans on the bottom, where the only way to survive each day is to make alliances with the fae.

Here she meets the sexy, vicious legend, Warwick Farkas. A myth among man and fae. He is as brutal, cruel, arrogant, and as lethal as the lore says he is, ruling the prison with unchallenged authority. Brexley can’t deny an intense draw to him, one that might cost her life.
If The Games don’t take her out first—
A fight to the death where only one survives.

  • I haven’t read a paranormal romance in awhile and this hit the spot! There is Brex pining over her childhood love Caden, a normal human guy about to rise in the ranks of his father’s army. And then…there is Warwick, a legend, a myth…nope he’s real, just not fully human.
  • World building ~ I enjoyed this! I love this dystopian/fantasy world of Budapest after the veils come down. Fae and humans hate each other even though the war has ended. I love how dark and gritty it is.
  • Characters ~ The characters are pretty fierce. Brex is a solider, a fighter and she needs that to survive prison time. I’d like to see how her character grows even more. And Warwick? He is lethal and an absolute alpha male. The two of them are intense together. The side characters were great too!
  • Mood ~ so intense. There is prison fighting, and so much sexual tension. It is gritty, raw, dark…and even though it was rough for Brex in this book, she survives it and it makes me wonder what she will endure in book two as they venture into the savage lands.
  • Story ~ very fast paced story and addictive. I want to read book two right now just to get to know these savage lands and find out more about Warwick! And what about Caden? What’s happened to him? So many questions!
  • Triggers: sexual harassment, violence, torture
  • This is the first book I’ve read from this author and now I’m interested in her other books.

This is how I like my paranormal romances, gritty with great world building. I like them intense, with a badass female and an equally deadly alpha male, but the appeal for me is when they can keep up with each other. So far the chemistry between them is off the charts but what about Caden, her childhood love? I don’t know but I’m hooked, give me more savage lands! Glad I gave this book a chance and I look forward to reading more books from this author.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

adult fiction, contemporary, thriller

The Whisper Man | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5

Title: The Whisper Man

Author: Alex North

Format: paperback (owned)

Pages: 355

Categories: crime, thriller, adult fiction, contemporary, mystery

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

My Attention: read in 3 days

World Building: village of Featherbank

Writing Style: easy to read, direct

Crazy in Love: none of that

Creativity: a crime mystery that touches on grief, and facing things from the past

Triggers: crime against children, murder, alcoholism, troubled home, abuse, kidnapping, grief

  • I’m one of those people who likes watching documentaries on serial killers – it freaks me out, but I like learning about the psychology and motivation of these killers. So if you are like me, and liked stories like Silence of the Lambs, then you will like The Whisper Man. There is a spooky children’s rhyme in the village about the Whisper Man. There is a creepy house that Jake and his father move into and of course…whispering heard in the house and Jake talking to himself (or so people think) – everything that will give you some chills and thrills while reading the story.
  • The characters are all pretty fleshed out and have mystery to them as well. Jake has lost his mother and finds himself talking to a little girl only he can see. Tom, Jake’s father, is barely holding it together. We see how parenting and grieving is hard for him. Then there is Pete Willis, the detective on the case that has haunted him for years. He is now a recovering alcoholic with a few regrets in his life. I could feel all their struggles. I love the emotional connections that were made in this story.
  • The case of The Whisper Man is mostly solved except for one body that has never been recovered. And now there is a copycat on the loose, so the mystery reveal was something I didn’t expect and then the ending was…wow.
  • It’s disturbing – as any story about harming children should be disturbing. So when we finally meet the killer…I was scared for all parties involved. I’m a parent so it definitely made me want to grab my kids and not make them leave my house ever!
  • There wasn’t anything mind-blowing about this story but I did enjoy how all the elements came together.
  • The rhyming song creeped me out (because children singing songs about serial killers usually creep me out) – but the story didn’t give me that scary factor, so if you are wanting a book to scare you – this won’t be it. It’s more thrilling mystery than scary.

This book had a little bit of everything: crime, mystery, thrills and creepiness. It also delves into the challenges of dealing with grief, addiction, and forgiveness. Overall, an enjoyable read that makes you follow the trail of clues and gives you a little thrill here and there.

🖤 ~ Yolanda