Book Review: Dragon Connection (The Stone Crown #1) by Ava Richardson

I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley! Read on to know my honest opinion of the book!

About the Book:

Dragon Connection (The Stone Crown, #1)

One crown can unite them—or destroy them all.

The three kingdoms lie splintered, their aging dragon riders content with stories of glorious battle victories. But a new evil creeps across the land. Inyene, a powerful noblewoman of the Northern Kingdom, plunders valuable resources to power mechanical dragons in her quest to gain a foothold in the Middle Kingdom. From there she will ascend the High Throne, once again uniting the realms under a single crown.

For the wearer of the Stone Crown can wield unlimited power—if it can be found.

Narissea has spent a quarter of her sixteen years slaving away in the mines, accused of a crime she didn’t commit. When word reaches her of the horrors assailing her village, Narissea knows she must act despite the risk. Already her arm is scarred with four brands signifying previous escape attempts. If she’s unsuccessful in her fifth, it will mean death.

But her life forever changes when she stumbles upon an injured dragon, discovers an ancient shrine, and learns the true purpose behind Lady Inyene’s mechanical abominations.

Now, Narissea has only one choice: gain Inyene’s trust and find a way to thwart her plans, even if it means sacrificing that which she desires most of all.

Her freedom.

This book contains violence.

My Thoughts:

Dragon Connection is the first book in the Stone Crown series by author Ava Richardson. It is a well-written, fast paced, YA fantasy fiction novel that follows the life of Narissea as she navigates the mines as a slave and later embarks on a journey to find the Stone Crown. Nari is a strong willed girl, set to work in the mines as a slave along with many of her people, trapped into this situation based on falsified debts that are owed to Lady Inyene.

I particularly enjoyed how the author does not waste time building up the story, but throws the reader right into the middle of it. The author later on takes her time to explain some of the setting and give us a sense of the background of the people and the reason for their current predicament. Most of the things that happen in this book come as a pleasant surprise though some parts are a little predictable.

With a strong desire to thwart Lady Inyene’s plans, Nari embarks on a journey that involves an injured dragon, the Lady’s brother and a mage. Add to this mix some magic and we have the perfect recipe for an enjoyable read! I truly cannot wait to pick up the next book and find out what happens!

Book Review: The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

About the Book:

The View from Alameda Island

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr delivers a poignant and powerful story about how one woman’s best intentions lead to the worst of situations and how the power of love helps her to heal and ultimately triumph.

From the outside looking in, Lauren Delaney has a life to envy—a successful career, a solid marriage to a prominent surgeon and two beautiful daughters who are off to good colleges. But on her twenty-fourth wedding anniversary Lauren makes a decision that will change everything.

Lauren won’t pretend things are perfect anymore. She defies the controlling husband who has privately mistreated her throughout their marriage and files for divorce. And as she starts her new life, she meets a kindred spirit—a man who is also struggling with the decision to end his unhappy marriage.

But Lauren’s husband wants his “perfect” life back and his actions are shocking. Facing an uncertain future, Lauren discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had as she fights for the love and happiness she deserves.

My Thoughts:

The View from Alameda Island is a simple enough story with a straight-forward and slightly predictable plot but that tugs at the heart-strings and will make the reader stop to think. The story follows the life of Lauren Delaney as she navigates her seemingly perfect life. To the world outside, everything is perfect, but, only she knows how broken she feels inside. However, there is only so much a person can handle and after a point, they just snap. It is common and normal that every human being wants to be happy. So it is normal that Lauren is also looking for the same.

The author does a great job in working on her character sketches and bringing them to life in this book. The story focuses on the concept of self love, and the idea that at some point every person should take decisions that ultimately make them happy. This is the turning point in Lauren’s life when she decides that she wants a divorce and to get away from the darkness that has lurked behind the scenes during her twenty four years of marriage. This decision, though not taken easily, doesn’t sit well with her husband and thus ensues a struggle to get away and move on, in-spite of her husband who tries to win her back and refuses to let go.

The story is well-written and focuses on Lauren’s fight for the happiness that she deserves as she finds the strength to trust and love again! This is definitely worth a read and can be finished in one sitting!

Book Review: Gracie’s Secret by Jill Childs

About the Book:

Gracie's Secret

My dearest daughter, I will never forget the day I nearly lost you. The day you learned the secrets that would tear our lives apart…

Time stops for Jen when her beloved daughter, Gracie, is involved in a terrible car crash. Pronounced dead at the scene, it’s a miracle when paramedics manage to then resuscitate the little girl. The relief Jen feels at Gracie’s recovery is matched only by her fury at the driver of the car – her ex-husband’s new girlfriend Ella. Jen has never trusted Ella, and now her worst fears have been confirmed.

But then Gracie begins to tell strange stories about what she heard in the car that day, and what she saw in those moments near death. It’s clear that there’s something shocking hidden in Ella’s past… but exposing it could tear all their lives apart.

An emotional page-turner that will take your breath away. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Lisa Wingate, and Kerry Fisher.

My Thoughts:

Gracie’s Secret is indeed a compelling read and focuses upon a parent’s love for their child as well as the trauma of almost losing a child.

The story follows Jen as she gets the dreaded call that her three year old daughter is in the hospital in a coma. Jen blames Ella, her ex-husband’s girlfriend, who, she finds out was also in the car crash that put her daughter in a coma. The author focuses on the trauma and grief that the characters go through, each dealing with their own fears and demons. Luckily, Gracie comes out of her coma and goes home with her mother. After this, the main story begins, where Gracie starts to talk about Angels and heaven. It is here that some parts of the story are not easy to relate to or believe. I guess it is up to the reader and their way of looking at it. The story starts to follow both Jen and Ella as we find out more about them and the secrets being held. Nothing is ever as it seems!

The characters are fine, but could have been developed more. Jen gets a little annoying after a while as we see her obsession with her daughter grow and hatred towards Ella increase. Gracie seems more mature than her age and even talks like an older child. The other characters are okay but could have been further developed.

However, in-spite of all this, the plot is full of suspense with an ending that the reader will not even imagine. The book is well-written and is definitely worth a read!

Book Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

This latest book by Sarah J. Maas has been the talk of the town everywhere! It is literally everywhere! It’s amazing.

Note: The review may have a few spoilers. Be careful when you read it.

Read on to know my thoughts on the book!

About the Book:

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savoring every pleasure Lunathion-otherwise known as Crescent City-has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city-and Bryce’s world.

Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city’s most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step.

Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, wants nothing to do with Bryce Quinlan, despite being ordered to protect her. She stands for everything he once rebelled against and seems more interested in partying than solving the murder, no matter how close to home it might hit. But Hunt soon realizes there’s far more to Bryce than meets the eye-and that he’s going to have to find a way to work with her if they want to solve this case.

As Bryce and Hunt race to untangle the mystery, they have no way of knowing the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the darkest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir…

With unforgettable characters and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom-and the power of love.

My Thoughts:

Review: 3.5 Stars

House of Earth and Blood is a well-written, fast paced story that has it’s ups and downs. The book started off slowly and abruptly, making it difficult for me to understand the context setting and the initial character introductions. However, as the story progresses, the plot becomes stronger and more interesting. The story becomes gripping and is a wild roller-coaster until the very end. The author ensures that the readers attention is on the book and nowhere else!

Most of the characters are well crafted and interesting. However, I was not very impressed with Bryce, the main protagonist of the story. She is not as relatable as I had hoped, but all in all, she holds her own well in the story. Being half-fae, she is under the protection of the Fae community, but that is where it ends. On her own with her best friends, living away from her loving mother and step-father, anyone will assume that she is enjoying her life. But when tragedy strikes, it all comes undone.

As Bryce is pulled in to investigate her best friends death, the possibility of suicide, then murder all lurk about. Bryce has to sort out the facts and separate the truth from the lies. Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, is forced to step in protect Bryce, while working with her to solve the case. What ensues is a battle of wits and an underlying attraction which the two characters fight. With a lot of secrets being kept, it is not easy to find out the truth.

I did come to love a lot of the supporting characters, Bryce’s best friend Fury, shrouded in mystery. Her step-brother, the Fae prince whom a lot of readers will come to love. His is a very well developed character. I also liked the other Archangels both good and bad. The author brings out a colorful variety in the nature of characters introduced.

One message which is persistent throughout the book is the meaning of friendship and loyalty. The author also shows us the true power of love above all else. The story, even though a little slow at first, was truly a wonderful read! I thoroughly enjoyed the action and appreciate the way the characters find their way in the end! Even Bryce and Hunt grow on you in the end and the reader just has to accept them since they bring the story together!

This book is definetely a must read, especially for fans of Fantasy Fiction and of Sarah J. Maas.

Cover Reveal: The Best Mistake by Cookie O’Gorman

The Best Mistake
Cookie O’Gorman
Publication date: April 2020
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

Honor Tierney just wants one night with the playboy.

One hot, steamy, meaningless hookup, and then she’ll happily go back to reading her favorite books, studying to be an accountant and writing for the campus-paper-nobody-reads. Too bad she ends up in the wrong bed, with the wrong brother…who gives her the hottest night of her life.

Archer O’Brien just wants to play ball.

Well that, and for his brothers to stop acting out, so he won’t have to worry 24/7. As the oldest O’Brien and team captain, it’s his duty to make sure they don’t drink too much, party too much, or get in too much trouble. But when she walks into his bedroom—mistaking him for his brother—life throws him a curveball.

She’s determined to guard her heart. He’s not giving up.

And when Honor gets assigned to cover the Wolves baseball team, it’s game on.

This new adult sports romance features one hot (and hilarious) case of mistaken identity and a sexy set of brothers guaranteed to make you swoon.

Sometimes, the best mistakes are worth making.

Add to Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her novels ADORKABLE, NINJA GIRL and THE UNBELIEVABLE, INCONCEIVABLE, UNFORESEEABLE TRUTH ABOUT ETHAN WILDER are out now! Her next book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad, was released April 25, 2019!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

 

 

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Cover Reveal: Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

~ Cover Reveal ~
Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters
by Shilpa Suraj

 

About the Book:

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!
Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”
Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.
And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.
What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

 

Book Review: Before You Go by Kelly Heard

About the Book:

Before You Go

The bond between a mother and daughter is meant to be unbreakable. What happens when it shatters?

Western Virginia, 1979. Dell Shaw knows the relationship between a mother and daughter should be something warm, soft and safe. But her relationship with her former beauty queen mother, Anita, has never been like that. And then one day, Anita packs up and leaves home, abandoning Dell to look after her alcoholic father and grow up alone.

When Dell meets handsome Mason, who has his own scars, she begins to think she can build a new, happy family with him. A year later, she’s shocked to find herself heartbroken and alone with a new-born baby girl and only her mother to turn to. When Anita refuses help and instead arranges for the local church to take the baby away, Dell knows she won’t ever speak to her mother again.

But all that changes on the day Dell discovers her daughter is missing.

Anita knows where the child might be. There’s only one problem—Anita is in a coma, fighting for her life. As Dell divides her time between her mother’s bedside and searching for her daughter, she finds herself discovering new things about her past that make her wonder if she can forgive her mother after all. But will she be able to reconcile with her mother and find her daughter before time runs out?

An unforgettable and heart-wrenching debut about the endurance of love, the power of forgiveness, and finding beauty in the world around us. Your must-read book of 2019. Perfect for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, Kristin Hannah and Kerry Lonsdale.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis of the book was quite intriguing and this promoted me to pick it up. The story follows Dell, a fortune teller as she navigates her way through her present while trying to run from her past. Dell has moved away from Blyth, away from family and friends and away from her new born baby.

The author introduces us to a variety of characters as the story progresses. However, as the plot develops, there is little to no development on the fact that Dell is a fortune teller. This just seems to be a minor reference which exists until Dell goes back to Blyth. Dell races against time to try to find her daughter and spend time with her mother who is now in a coma and may be the only person who knows where her daughter is. The plot itself becomes quite predictable as the story progresses, and even though this story does bring out the importance of forgiveness and love, it becomes difficult to follow after a point. The characters are nice but unremarkable, and not very easy to relate to. The story plows ahead with no major twists or turns and is easy to follow.

The book did not engage me as much as I had hoped, but it is still a decent read! Fans of romance will enjoy this book!

Book Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (The Cursebreaker Series)

Find the heir, win the crown.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Harper has freed Prince Rhen from the curse that almost destroyed his kingdom. But all is not well; rumours are rife that there is a rival heir with a stronger claim to the throne and that ‘Princess’ Harper of Disi is nothing but a fraud.

Grey has fled the castle carrying a terrible secret. When he is discovered by soldiers and returned to Ironrose by force, Grey’s allegiances begin to shift. And as he grows closer to an enemy princess, he is forced to decide whether he will stand against Rhen for the crown he never wanted …

My Thoughts:

Brigid Kemmerer brings to us a well-written, action-packed sequel that follows Grey’s journey as he deals with the truth about who he is. All secrets come to light at some point, and it is the same in this story. When the truth about Grey comes to light, he is seen as a threat to the kingdom. Rhen, now freed from the curse is not ready to see reason or understand. All he sees is betrayal.

The author weaves together a rather complicated set of emotions spread among all the chaaracters, all layered one on top of the other. To get to them, we have to peel back each layer and deal with what is revealed. With so many rumours about Harper and the rival heir about, Rhen is at his wits end to keep everything together. This story mainly focuses on Grey’s journey, his actions and decisions and his interaction with the enemy princess and kingdom. We see how he grows, how he learns to become a prince in his own right and how he interacts with the people around him. There is a stark contrast to Grey’s personality and Rhen’s which is beautifully brought out in this book.

This story is a wonderful sequel to the first, showing us a different aspect of the plot and story and culminating in a cliff hanger, leaving the reader wanting for more! I am sure that every cursebreaker is impatiently waiting for the next book to know what happens!

Book Review: Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1) by Anthony Ryan

About the Book:

Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1)

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a friend. I must admit that I was completely blown away.

The story is spell-binding and very well-written, a tale like no other. It begins with a present day account of the goings-on. We are introduced to the main protagonist, Vaelin Al Sorna, who is being taken to the Meldenean Islands as a prisoner. After this account, we are given a glimpse into his childhood and how he came to be a brother of the Sixth Order. This is followed by the story divided into parts, with each part telling the tale of a specific plot line. The reader is introduced to a myriad of characters, a Realm known to follow the Faith and those who do not and the King of the Realm. The characters are interesting, very well crafted and play vital roles in this story.

At the beginning, the story was a little confusing and difficult to follow, but on continuing on, the plot slowly became clearer and clearer. The author tells us tales of war, of power and of plans that seem to be so intricately woven, that noone can understand them. Something is at play in the shadows and not even the reader is privy to what it is. The author handles this intricate plot very well, revealing just enough information to ensure that the book is a page turner until the end. Be prepared to deal with the gore of the battles as they are brutal and the author does a lot of justice with his descriptions.

This is just the first book in the series following Vaelin as he plows through the Tests of the Order, a place that trains and brings up assassins, deals with the battles, all the while trying to understand what his true purpose is. Some of it is indeed revealed in this book, but only enough to ensure that the reader is left hungry for more. With such a strong plot line, I cannot wait to see where the story goes in the next books!

This is definitely a must-read for fans of fantasy fiction!

Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

 New York Times bestseller!

Has everything you’d want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale.” – Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

“Absolutely spellbinding.” – Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My thoughts:

It is very easy to tell someone that the only way to break a curse is to fall in love. However, what people do not tell and this is the main catch, is that it is not so easy to fall in love.

This is the problem that Prince Rhen of Emberfall is facing. Having made one mistake in his youth, he is cursed to relive the eighteenth year of his life again and again and again. What was his mistake you may wonder? He courted an enchantress and cast her away. Spurned due to this and seeking revenge, she curses him. The curse can only be lifted when he finds true love.

Doesn’t this sound like a typical fairy tale but with the roles reversed? The prince has to find his princess. However, nothing is as easy as this explanation and this is not just any fairytale. In this new age re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast, the author brings to us a new age spin on things. Once the curse begins, the prince has the duration of the autumn season to find his true love. If that doesn’t happen, he turns into a monster and becomes quite dangerous.

The author brings to us a tale of sorrow and grief that is hidden behind the walls of the castle and unknown to the people of the kingdom. The only story that the people know is that their king seems to have abandoned them. The Prince’s guard is the only other person around and the only one granted with the ability to move from this time/place to the present day Earth and bring back girls for the Prince to court.

During one such situation, we are introduced to Harper. Harper witnesses a kind of kidnapping and tried to stop it. It is in this situation that she is brought back to Rhen’s world. The author then brings to us a wonderful tale of friendship, loyalty and eventually love. The characters are well developed and you cannot help but fall in love with them and their story. If I continue to write more, I will only gush about the story and reveal all the plot twists. To avoid that I will stop here and conclude.

A very well thought out book, this is a must read for all! I cannot wait for Book 2 and I am sure most of you will feel the same.