Book Review: Rise of the Wild Moon by Nina Walker and Kimberly Loth

Rise of the Wild Moon is Book 3 in the New World Shifters series by Nina Walker and Kimberly Loth. The book will be released on 18.01.2021.

I was provided with an eARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. Read on to know what I thought about this book.

(Hint: I loved this book and I love the series! The authors have done a magical job!)

58710478._SY475_

My Thoughts:
I must admit that with each book, the plot only gets better and better! This book picks up where Book 2 left off after the Lycans attack at the festival. Poppy escapes with help from Ryne who also sends Knox with her to take care of her. Having been bitten, Poppy is yet to discover how it will affect her.

In this book, we meet more of the shifters and get to know them better. We get to spend time among the Lycans as Poppy and Knox end up among a group of them. They have their own ways, but seem to be more concerned about the humans and about saving them (or so they say!). Can you truly ever trust anyone and assume that they do not have a secret agenda? This forms the crux of the plot as the story progresses.

As Poppy navigates her way with the Lycans, she ends up with the resistance and meets many of the players involved. We also learn more about the Lycans as Poppy learns to handle the transitions every Moon cycle. Thus ensues a journey to rescue someone and exact revenge while also trying to save the humans from their fate among the werewolves. I enjoyed reading about the various characters and I like how the authors have worked to develop them. They are well rounded and believable. I also like how Poppy grows as a character reaching a point where she takes strong decisions and initiative while also assuming the role of a leader. She is caring and compassionate and this turns out to be the best part of who she is.

I devoured this book in one night, enjoying the story completely and now eagerly waiting for the next book in the series. This is indeed a wonderfully written book with a new spin on the supernatural with a dash of romance that will have the reader hoping for more!

Book Review: Greece Actually by Sue Roberts

About the Book:

Small, shy, safe. That’s how Becky lives ever since her last romantic calamity landed her in hospital. Her comfort zone is as confining as her tiny bank balance, and fiercely guarded by her totally over-the-top mum. But the news that her ex is back sniffing round is the final straw. In a very un-Becky move, she packs her bags for the Greek island of Skiathos. Maybe the setting of her favourite ABBA movie will be just the break from reality Becky needs…

Stepping aboard the Mamma Mia! boat tour, Becky leaves her fear in the port as she sings… out loud… in public, and cries Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! to everything the Greek life has to offer. She befriends locals young, old, and absolutely perfect (hello, sizzling hot restaurant-owner Kyros!), dines on freshly baked bread drizzled in golden olive oil on a starlit date, and walks barefoot along silky sandy beaches.

When Kyros asks her to stay longer, Becky is stunned. Could she really create a new life for herself here, and trust her heart with this smooth-talking charmer? But just as she’s thinking about putting down roots, her troublesome ex makes a dramatic return, begging for her back. Will she go back to playing it safe, or will she take a chance on Greece and embrace her true dancing queen?

My Thoughts:

Greece Actually is a light hearted summer or beach read that follows Becky as she goes to Greece with her two best friends. Having just come out of an abusive relationship and living a relatively low-key life, she jumps at the chance to house-sit for her uncle while he goes sailing. The story takes us on a journey around the Greek island of Skiathos and the surrounding places. We discover places to visit and some of the local food while also meeting people who live there.

The book blurb teases a Mamma Mia themed story or a love for the movie or even a love for ABBA songs. However, I did not find this translated into the story as Becky embraces the holiday with her friends. There is not a lot of backstory provided into the characters and thus they felt quite one-dimensional. Though I enjoyed reading about the bond between the friends, I felt that not enough attention was given to them and their lives.

This is a romance set in Greece and even the romance part was a little bit of a let down. We also do not see much of ‘the ex’ until almost the very end and it is not as dramatic as it was portrayed. I was not as invested in the characters as I had hoped to be while reading the book blurb. The highlight of the book is the setting and the beauty of the Greek islands. Overall this book can be read once, but I am sure that it would still be enjoyed by many.

Book Review: My Best Friend’s Wedding by Tilly Tennant

About the Book:

58825419._SY475_

Falling snow, sparkling champagne, and an ex that Libby would rather forget…

As chief bridesmaid, Libby knows she should be having the time of her life at her best friend’s snowy Christmas Eve wedding. But she’s at the mercy of three bossy little flower girls and she’s not looking her best in an enormous fuchsia dress. Which is a shame, as it is the first time she’s going to see her ex Rufus. The man she was supposed to marry. The man who left her alone at the altar…

As the dancing begins, and Libby does her best to avoid her ex, the snow outside falls faster and faster, making it impossible for the guests to leave. Snowed in at Lovage Hall, Libby is charmed by American Noah with his dark cropped hair and dimpled cheeks, and the two of them share their dreams and a very passionate kiss.

But when the morning comes, and the snow melts, a shocking revelation about Noah comes to light and Rufus reveals the desperately sad reason he ended their relationship. As Rufus begs for another chance, Libby’s head tells her to trust the man she’s known for years, but her heart can’t quite let go of the spark she had with Noah. Will she make the right decision for her own happy ending?

A gorgeous, romantic heart-warming read with characters that will find their way into your heart and stay there. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Shari Low and Jenny Colgan.

My Thoughts:

My Best Friend’s Wedding follows Libby as she navigates her role as chief bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding while trying to maintain her calm among all the chaos. The story is light and set in a single place covering three whole days. The main focus is the wedding and Libby’s interactions with the various characters.

The reader is also introduced to Noah, a potential love interest with whom Libby feels an instant attraction and ends up spending time overnight while snowed in. We also meet Libby’s ex, the one who cheated on her and now wants her back. I felt that some of the character development fell flat and I did not connect with the characters as much as I would have liked.

The entire setting was monotonous with a lot of focus on the three younger bridesmaids and their behavior. Libby, though kind and endearing, is not easy to relate to, though I did enjoy how adept she was at handling most of the situations.

Overall this is a pleasant one time read that the reader can sail through without having to think too much. It has a good mix of fun and romance and some of the character bonding is definitely worth reading about. This does read like a light rom-com with just enough in the plot to keep the reader going until the end. Though not one of my favorites by this author, I did enjoy the book.

Book Review: Saved by the Spell (House of Magic #2) by Susanna Shore

About the Book:

57893934._SY475_

Magic and I hadn’t exactly had a good start, but thanks to a spell that made me repulsive to men, I was seriously considering becoming a witch hunter.

A chance encounter with a charming stranger makes Phoebe dream of a happily-ever-after, until she learns that there’s a spell on her that makes her repulsive to men. Luckily her boss, Archibald Kane, and her new landladies are experts on magic. Only this one seems to confound them all.

Who has spelled her and why? Is it a challenge on Kane’s leadership of the mages? Or is there a more sinister game afoot?

Phoebe doesn’t mind the space men give her in the tube, but her cousin’s engagement party is coming up. How is she to celebrate, if she makes half the guests nauseous? And how is she to charm the man of her dreams when she suspects he’s part of the problem?

It might take the Archmage to break the spell—if only they could find him. A spell may be needed to save them both.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book by the author that I have read. I dived right into Book 2 without having read Book 1, but that was alright. I was easily able to catch on to who the characters are and what happened in Book 1 based on the references.

The story follows Phoebe as she once again finds herself in an awkward situation with magic. She has been spelled and is now repelling all men. This makes it difficult for her at work with her boss and at home. Surrounded by mages, Archmages, werevolves and vampires, Phoebe just might have a chance to break the spell. Who knows, maybe being spelled can come in handy or maybe not? Read on to find out.

The story is light and fast paced, the events developing rather quickly. The plot is straightforward but with an element of mystery that adds value to the magic of the book. I enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the various eccentric characters. The author has added in some humor to lighten the situations further and this helps to set the story apart.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book to join Phoebe, Archibald and all the others on their next adventure.

Announcement: Smita Bhattacharya’s ARC team sign-up!

BeFunky-collage

For those of you who do not know of her, Smita Bhattacharya is a management consultant by day and an author of mystery novels by night (in her own words!). She has written and published both novels and novellas, each as amazing as the next.

The Darya Nandkarni series follows amateur and self-proclaimed detective Darya Nandkarni as she embarks on adventures that somehow lead her into the middle of a mystery. Every single time! Or in this case, across three books in this series! 🙂

The Retribution series is a series of novellas among which Snow Fever is indeed quite mysterious and thrilling! I absolutely loved it and cannot recommend it enough!

Smita has a unique perspective of things and life in general and this is seen through her books and writing. She has strong protagonists and well thought-out whodunnits that will keep readers hooked and yearning for more!

And so, here I am, calling out to all fans of mysteries, thrillers and short stories in this genre to join me in signing up to be a part of Smita’s advance reader team!

Smita has so many stories to tell and it would be amazing to be a part of the journey!

The sign-up form can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Book Review: A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert

About the Book:

When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.

Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.

My Thoughts:

The story follows Princess Jiara as she deals with the death of her sister, a marriage proposal from the man her sister was previously engaged to and the responsibility to step up for the sake of her family and her people. In addition to this, Jiara has to find a way to uncover the truth behind her sister’s death and bring the murderer to justice.

Initially, I liked the concept of the book and the idea of a vengeful ghost who can actually cause harm was intriguing. As the story progresses, I like how Jiara grows as a person and her distress while trying to read and learn a new language is brought out rather delicately. However, some parts of the story were rather abrupt and the character development was not strong enough. King Raffar is interesting, but the reader doesn’t come to know him as a person. We do not also get a chance to understand how he governs or what he thinks. With a strong focus on Jiara, her struggles and triumphs, it is difficult for the reader to connect with other characters.

In terms of the plot, the author has done a good job and the surroundings are well described. The kingdoms, their locations and the people are touched upon albeit only a little, but enough to give us a sense of the places. Overall this is a light YA fantasy read that has great potential and wraps up quite well in the end. The book can be read quickly and is rather enjoyable for those who enjoy the genre!

Book Review: Blood Casino by Nina Walker

About the Book:

Keep your cards close and your enemies closer.

At least that’s what my mom always told me. Becoming a vampire hunter was never in my cards, but it is now that she needs my help. A decade ago vampires seized control of the bars, casinos, and the dark underbelly of society. Now they deal in addiction and bargain with blood, and humans over twenty-five can’t fight back against their compulsion. It’s made my mother vulnerable––the only family I have left.

To save her, I’m forced to make a deal with the devil––one who lives above a casino, wears a crown, and wants to drink my blood. Andrianos Teresi may be dangerous and alluring but I’ve got a stake hidden up my sleeve. I’ll go all in and play his game, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

What I don’t expect? The heart that needs guarding is my own.

My Thoughts:

Blood Casino is the first book in a new series by Nina Walker. With a focus on vampires and humans alike, this book bring to us a fresh new take on the supernatural. The story focuses on Evangeline, a human who is dealing with her mother’s gambling addiction. In the city of New Orleans, we are introduced to a world where Vampires live in the open and there are rules to ensure harmony. The vampires own businesses, some which deal with gambling and such in the form of Casinos. When Eva’s mother ends up spending more time in the Casino owned by Adrianos Teresi, it is inevitable that Eva has a run-in with one of the most powerful vampires.

While trying to lead a normal life, take care of her mother and protect her, Eva is torn between the world of vampires and her own. Forced to make a deal to save her mother and at the same time trying to work against the vampires is not easy and this puts Eva in a very difficult position. The author also brings to us slowly developing romances which leads to a lot of intrigue. A love triangle is definitely interesting and one where there is the option between a human and a vampire is even more alluring.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and how the characters are developed. The author does a great job in describing the various relationships in the book and giving us the background of each character. This book is worth the read and ends with a twist, giving an opening for the next book! I am totally looking forward to this!

Book Review: Ten Days with a Duke by Erica Ridley

About the Book:

From a New York Times bestselling author: a second chances, enemies-while-lovers reunion romance where nothing is as it first appears, and everyone’s motives are suspect…

Olive Harper’s family has been feuding with the Westons for decades. The Westons’ stud farm is the biggest, but the Harpers’ is the most famous… and she’s the sole heiress. Or was, until her father brokers a truce by offering the Weston heir the Harper farm. The only way to get it back is to marry the knave who kissed her and humiliated her, twice—or prove to her father that some rifts can never be healed.

Scholar and botanist Elijah Weston is dreadful at feuding. For one, he prefers horticulture to horses. For two, he’s been desperately in love with his mortal enemy ever since he kissed her—and, yes, publicly destroyed her—all those years ago. When he’s given ten days to win Olive’s heart, he arrives with marriage license in hand. But where lies and double-crosses abound, how can lifelong rivals learn to trust their hearts?

The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!

My Thoughts:

Ten Days with a Duke is a heart-warming romance with a strong, independent female character, Olivia and the hero, Elijah,  who prefers horticulture and has been in love with Olivia for years. Olivia is the heiress to the Harpers’ stud farm and quite capable with the horses. When she comes face to face with the person who stole her first kiss and humiliated her, she vows to get back at him even though she is now expected to marry him.

Elijah is a delight, strong, tall, handsome and brooding, he is caught up in his father’s plans and in trying to win Olivia’s heart. As the story progresses, our characters learn to let go of the past, find their own way and even to forgive finding love along the way.

This book is a pleasant and quick read set in the time of Christmas in a rather picturesque village! It is indeed the season of love!

Book Review: Hinterland by L.M. Brown

I was provided with a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Hinterland

 

Nicholas Giovanni’s life revolves around his five-year old daughter Kate. When he isn’t driving his taxi, he is taking care of her and her mother Kathleen, whose last involuntary admission to hospital was before Kate was born. When his childhood best friend, Ina, returns next door, tensions rise in the house. Already unstable, Kathleen suspicions of Ina and Nicholas grow until a day of violence ensues and Kathleen disappears.

Kate’s life is shattered by her mother’s disappearance. No-one will tell her where Kathleen is. Although Ina helps to take care of Kate, Nicholas keeps her at arm’s length. He cannot bring himself to tell the truth about Kathleen’s last day, until Kate runs away, and he realizes his silence has torn everyone apart. To find Kate and to keep Ina in his life, there are truths he must face, if it’s not too late.

My Thoughts:

Hinterland is a story of one family’s experience with mental illness as well as the choices they make and the subsequent consequences. The main protagonist Nicholas is a devoted father to his daughter Kate and takes care of her mother Kathleen. Initially we are introduced to these three characters and their neighbor, an elder woman named Tilly. She has known Nicholas since his youth. Nicholas has a strained relationship with Kathleen and we can see how that indirectly affects Kate, a five year old child at the time the story begins. We also follow along as Nicholas maneuvers his job as a taxi driver and taking care of his daughter, shielding her from anything bad as only a loving parent can do.

As the story progress, we are introduced to Ina, Tilly’s daughter and someone Nicholas has always had feelings for. With her arrival, things are set in motion as tempers run high, jealousy creeps in, doubts arise. This leads to one incident that changes all their lives. The author’s style of writing is unique and something I have not come upon very often. She leaves a lot unsaid and gives space for the reader to read between the lines and come up with their own interpretation. It’s an interesting way of handling the plot.

The characters are intriguing and I enjoyed reading about them. However, Nicholas was quite confusing and at times I did not like him. In addition, we observe as Kate grows up from a shy five year old to a rebellious teenager who does not know the truth about her mother or why she just disappears one day never to be seen again. This forms the crux of the plot leading to strained relationships and the family’s struggle to deal with the absence of Kathleen but the constant reminder that she exists/existed. I enjoyed reading about Ina and the support she provides in a quiet manner.

Though the story is slow in the first half, it picks up pace in the second half leading to an interesting open ended finish. This gives the reader space to imagine the kind of ending they want for the characters. The author has handled the concept of mental illness very well, bringing about an awareness among the readers of it’s effects on the person dealing with it as well as the effect on the people around. Even though I do have some mixed feelings about this book, I did enjoy reading it. It was a roller-coaster of emotions and finally, the truth always comes out! This book is well worth the read!

Book Review: Summer at Hope Haven (Dune Island #1) by Kristin Harper

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley and Bookouture. Read on to know my thoughts on the book.

About the Book:

Summer at Hope Haven (Dune Island #1)

Making her way up the cedar-lined driveway, tears fill her eyes at the sight of the cottage’s faded trim and peeling turquoise shutters. Taking a deep breath, she grasps the heart-shaped iron door handle and steps inside the once-happy childhood home she’s been avoiding. It is time to face up to the past…

When Emily’s fiancé walks out on her while she’s still grieving the loss of her family in a terrible accident, she escapes back to Hope Haven on the remote Dune Island, where her family vacationed every summer. Emily hopes that fixing up the house will also mend her broken heart, but the cottage holds more than just bittersweet childhood memories. Emptying her father’s antique writing desk, Emily finds a letter that reveals a devastating secret about her parents.

With a head full of questions that can never be answered, it seems like returning to the island was the worst decision Emily ever made… until she meets Lucas Socorro, saltwater dripping from his dark curls after a surf session. As they take long walks on the soft sand, and talk late into the firefly-lit night, Emily wonders if Dr Luke—as the kids in the hospital call him—could be the one to help her heal. With Luke holding her hand, delving into her family’s painful past is a little easier.

Painting the gloomy cottage walls the colour of seashells, and revamping her grandmother’s flea-market furniture, Emily starts to feel she might call Dune Island home for good—and that she could build that home right here with Luke. But when Emily’s family secret spreads through a network of local gossips, her fragile heart breaks all over again. Luke is the only one who could have started the rumours. Was she wrong to trust him so easily?

As the sun sets behind the dunes, Emily has a difficult decision to make. Does she pack her bags and leave the island for good? Or take a risk that Hope Haven has everything she’s been looking for?

A beautiful and emotional read that will make you long to feel the sand beneath your feet. Perfect for fans of Nancy Thayer, Tracy Brogan and Mary Alice Monroe.

My Thoughts:

The book introduces us to Emily, the main protagonist dealing with the loss of her family in a terrible accident and a broken engagement. To get away, Emily comes down to Hope Haven, to stay at the house her family vacationed at every summer. Surrounded by many memories and in the midst of discovering new secrets about her parents, Emily is once again shattered as she struggles to reconcile the knowledge she has of her parents and the new information she finds. In the midst of all this, she leans on her bonds with her childhood friend and his wife while trying to forge new with Lucas Socorro, a doctor at the hospital and the people at Dune Island.

As the story progresses, the reader is thrown into the midst of Emily’s emotional turmoil as she struggles to cope. The story is well-written and is filled with some very well crafted characters. They are endearing and relatable and fun to read about. The setting is beautiful and while our characters take long strolls along the beach, it is easy for the reader to imagine themselves doing the same thing.

The story is quite enjoyable and as Emily becomes stronger and accepts her life, the secrets, the people at Dune Island, she also starts to consider opening herself up to love. This is a great read for all the romance fans out there!