Book Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly (Cursebreakers #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Vow So Bold and Deadly (The Cursebreaker Series)

Face your fears, fight the battle.
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Fight the battle, save the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.

 

My Thoughts:

Finally! The final book in the Cursebreaker series is available and it is a worthy emotional conclusion.

The book picks up where the second leaves with Grey aligned with Lia Maria on one side and Rhen on the other side with Harper. Each try to find a way to handle their kingdoms and win favor with their people. The story as always is divided into point of view chapters and is handled very well by the author. With Lilith back and working her master plan in the background, it takes a lot for Harper and Rhen to trust each other again and work through their anger.

On the other hand, Grey is trying to learn how to wield his magic as well as get the soldiers of Syhl Shallow to work with him and not against. Lia Mara, a queen who is looking for peace instead of violence in how things are handled faces pushback at every turn and is trying to find her footing.

As everyone works together on their own side, Harper works to bring Rhen on a path to peace. Grey and Rhen have too much history to move against each other. The story is well-written and is a fitting conclusion. The relationships between the characters grow, but bonds of family are the strongest in the end. It is beautiful to see how everyone fights for something or someone they love and in the end they all realize what they are fighting for. This is a story of courage in the face of adversity and the courage to stand up for what you believe in. The choices to stand up for the ones you love and support them!

I read this book in almost one sitting and am glad for it. The story evokes strong emotions in the reader as they traverse the kingdoms with the characters. It is good to be back with our favourites and to join them in this final journey!

I thoroughly enjoyed this final book and love the series! It is indeed a must read!

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: Rescuing Lord Inglewood (Inglewood #1) by Sally Britton

About the Book:

Rescuing Lord Inglewood (Inglewood #1)

All he wants is someone he can trust. All she wants is to belong. But when compromising circumstances force them together, do they have a chance at finding love?

Silas Riley, Earl of Inglewood, is known among his peers in Parliament as the man made of stone. As a wealthy peer, there are few he trusts with his friendship. He guards his heart and his honor with vigilance, and when an accident nearly takes his life, he’s faced with a situation which threatens his standing in society.

Growing up in the shadow of her older brother, Esther Fox’s acceptance in his circle has been indifferent at best. So when she ends up in a compromising situation as she saves the life of her brother’s dearest friend, the Earl of Inglewood, she is forced to marry him to save her own reputation. Once again, she finds herself accepted only because of the situation, and not because she is truly wanted.

Neither are prepared for a loss which further complicates their new relationship. With such a difficult beginning, can they ever hope to understand one another, let alone find love?

My Thoughts:

A pleasant read, Rescuing Lord Inglewood follows Esther Fox as she navigates high society in the absence of her older brother and is forced to marry his best friend, the Earl of Inglewood to preserve her reputation. What ensues is a series of events that could either bring the two together or force them further apart.

In the wake of loss and devastation, Esther has to find her way back to herself and hopefully find love in the process with a whole lot of understanding. She has to work hard to crack through the façade that Silas riley portrays in the hopes of forging a better relationship.

I enjoyed watching the characters grow and find their place in the lives of others. The author has done a great job with the plot and the characters. The story is well-written and a quick and enjoyable read! This is a must read for fans of romance.

 

Book Review: Never Say No by Elizabeth Neep

I was approved a copy of the book on NetGalley. The below review is my honest opinion.

About the Book:

Never Say No

It’s always been yes. Yes, I’ll be your friend. Yes, I’ll be your girlfriend. Yes, I’ll move in with you. Yes, yes, yes. I can’t just change my mind now. Can I?

Hailey has always been told she can have it all. And saying yes to every opportunity that comes her way seems like the obvious way to make sure she gets it.

When she finds an engagement ring hidden in her boyfriend Dom’s closet, she knows she’ll say yes.

Her best friend Sophie suggests they run a marathon together and although Hailey hasn’t done more than sprint for a bus in years, she says yes.

And every time her new boss, the infamous Vivian Jones, asks her to stay late (again) at her dream job, the answer is always yes.

But somewhere between saying ‘yes’ to Vivian’s latest demands and still trying to make it home on time for boxsets and burritos on the sofa with Dom, Hailey has lost sight of what she really wanted in the first place.

Far from winning at life, Hailey feels like she is fighting to juggle two very different worlds. When those worlds finally collide, could having it all actually mean losing everything?

Fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Holly Bourne and The Devil Wears Prada will adore this funny, heart-felt and honest look at navigating those moments in life where you reach a crossroads and have to decide who and what it is you want to be.

My Thoughts:

Never Say No follows Hailey as she navigates life with the Fear Of Missing Out attitude. She always says yes to everyone and everything, but it feels as though this happens by choice and not out of necessity. Hailey has a steady boyfriend and a bestfriend who is close to both of them, making their group of three and the dynamics quite interesting. Having decided to pursue a career in Law, Hailey tries to get noticed at the prestigious firm, especially by their only female partner, Vivian.

Vivian is an icon, a strong woman who works hard to get what she wants. However, no-one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. As the story progresses, we observe these two women as they navigate their lives and the world. It took me some time to get into the book, as initially I could not understand where it was going. The blurb promises humor, but for me there was very little of it and more personal drama. In addition some of the characters like Liam and Dom were not very well developed. It would have been nice to get to know Hailey and Dom as a couple and to understand their dynamics before the job at the Law firm gets in the way.

The story flows well and even though the book did not grip me, I did enjoy the read. The author does show us a reality that most people can relate to, the idea that we do not know where we are headed, or that we have to be a certain way to be accepted. All these are very pertinent points and the author tackles them well through this story.

This book is worth a read and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

About the Book:

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

THIS IS A WORLD DIVIDED BY BLOOD – RED OR SILVER.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .

My Thoughts:

The Red Queen is another first in a series of fantasy fiction that caught my attention. This book has garnered a lot of attention and it talked about a lot. The story follows Mare as she navigates life in the poverty-stricken Stilts. The author has created an interesting Dystopian world, divided based on the color of a person’s blood. As a result we have the elites and the commoners, who only exist to serve and follow the rules. Mare ends up being different, having powers inspite of her red blood. Some would say she is an anomaly in the otherwise distinct class divisions.

The plot follows Mare as she ends up working in the Silver Palace and once her powers are discovered, she is betrothed to the younger prince. The readers are introduced to many characters, a lot of whom are predictable if you have read any other dystopian fantasy fiction series. There is a prince, his family, someone out to get them, the rebels and so on.

However, one thing about this book is that even though some aspects are predictable, the author keeps throwing some curve balls as us. This brings some intrigue into the mix and thus makes the book an enjoyable read.

#R3COMM3ND3D2020 with #BookBlogger Namrata Ganti (@redpillows91) #redpillows #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #publishedin2020

Thank you damppebbles for the feature!

damppebbles.com

Welcome bookish friends to damppebbles. Happy Wednesday. The weekend is almost in sight! Today I am delighted to welcome another brilliant book blogger (I have to ask, where are all the authors this year? Bloggers are smashing it!). It’s the lovely Namrata of redpillows. Namrata’s blog is fantastic so if you don’t already subscribe, head on over there in a tick and correct that.

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2020? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2020. To make things interesting I have added a couple of teeny, tiny rules this year which are; 1) the book must have…

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Book Review: 337 by M. Jonathan Lee

I was provided with a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Please note that the double-ended upside-down opening for this book is available in books ordered in hard copy from UK booksellers only.

About the Book:

337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note. While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby. Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth. Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.

My Thoughts:

A wonderfully written novel, the story follows Sam as he goes through the motions of living every day. However, not everything is at it seems, and this is a constant theme running in the background of the plot.

Sam’s mother vanished during his teens leaving behind a letter and her rings. We do not know whether she simply decided to leave one day or something more serious happened. In the current day, Sam reconnects with his Grandmother whom he has not seen or spoken to in years in an attempt at reconciliation and a final attempt to solve the mystery behind his mother’s disappearance. We are introduced to a variety of characters including his younger brother, his father, about whom we gradually learn things, his wife, from whom he is now separated and finally his grandmother, old and dying. There are so many layers to this story and the characters that the reader is always forced to stop and contemplate the goings-on.

The descriptions are rich and vivid bringing the place and characters to life. There is love and loss interspersed with the trauma Sam and his brother faced when they were younger. Having dealt with so much in life, Sam constantly talks about the advice his therapist has provided which are very much applicable in some way to all of us. The chapters are short and easy to read and the scenes with Sam and his grandmother are beautifully written with a lot of unspoken emotions in them.

This latest book by the author is a pleasure to read and though it raises many questions that ensure the reader is kept engaged long after finishing the book. This book is a must read!

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: Return to Virgin River (Virgin River #19) by Robyn Carr

I received an ARC of the book through NetGalley. The book was released on 13th October 2020.

About the Book:

Robyn Carr returns to the beloved town of Virgin River with a brand new story about fresh starts, new friends and the magic of Christmas.Return to Virgin River (Virgin River, #19)
Struggling with grief after the death of her mother, successful author Kaylee Sloan needs a distraction, to come to terms with life and meet her looming deadline.

With Christmas approaching, Kaylee rents a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing and as she drives north through the mountains she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local bar is the heart of the town and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a stranger in need.

Welcomed by those in Virgin River, Kaylee starts to see her life in a new light. And as she becomes more involved in the town and the people in it, especially local artist and dog trainer Landry Moore, Kaylee realises she may have found her peace. As Christmas approaches, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to mend a broken heart than Virgin River.

My Thoughts:

Author Robyn Carr takes us back to Virgin River with Kaylee Sloan. For fans of the book/TV series, it is indeed a welcome trip down memory lane! We meet a hoard of characters, some familiar and some not so familiar, but it feels just about right!

The story follows Kaylee Sloan as she decides to move to Virgin River for a few months for a fresh start and some fresh perspective to help with her writing. Dealing with the loss of her mother, she is not just dealing with the loss of a parent, but also her best friend and confidante. This book takes us on a journey of acceptance and togetherness. The people of Virgin River come together to help Kaylee when bad luck strikes just as she reaches the cabin she was renting. It is wonderful to meet many of the characters again and see where they lives are now. A warm welcome, a few kind words and the right kind of support can do wonders to a person grieving and lonely.

What follows is the usual mix of discovery and romance as Kaylee strives to mend, finish her novel and just feel better. The story is well-written and a simple read. The book can be finished in one sitting depending on the reader’s time. A wonderful heart-felt story, this will tug at the reader’s heartstrings and take us on an emotional rollercoaster. Once again Robyn Carr brings us happiness and nostalgia all in one neat package!

Book Review: Thorne Bay (An Alaskan Packs Novel Book 1) by Jeanine Croft

I downloaded a free auto approved copy of this book via NetGalley.

I picked it up based on the synopsis which seemed quite interesting. Read on to know my thoughts.

About the Book:

Thorne Bay (An Alaskan Packs Novel Book 1)

Disillusioned and aimless, Evan Spencer makes a pact with herself. To follow wherever the finger of destiny points. Even if that means heading to some obscure Alaskan town she’s never heard of. A place where the primal beauty of the backwoods is rivaled only by a certain pair of steely green eyes.

But Thorne Bay has a dark side. It’s not just rumors and wary gazes that shadow the darkly alluring Tristan and his reclusive family. Her search for self, as it turns out, leads to a discovery of werewolves and a fight for survival. Alaska might just leave an indelible mark. Love and Death will leave her changed forever.

My Thoughts:

The story follows Evan Spencer as she makes a drastic move to try to follow her destiny and find her place in the world. She moves away from her family to Alaska in the hopes of finding herself and her independence. On the way we meet Tristan who is extremely good-looking, but shrouded in mystery along with his family. Not bothered by rumors, or perhaps eager to discover the truth by herself, Evan forges a friendship with Tristan that seems to be more than that. As their bond develops, we meet some of the people Evan works with and some of the people from Tristan’s family.

The author maintains a level of intrigue around Tristan and drops enough hints without directly giving way to the idea of werewolves. Though the main characters are well developed, some of the supporting characters like Nicole and Dean are just touched upon. It would have been nice to have some more background on them, some insights into their lives before Evan turned up in Alaska and this entire plot line was set in motion. Some horrors of the werewolf world and the laws that govern their existence are brought in and this adds context, but could have been addressed in-depth to add to the storyline.

Some parts of the story are quite normal and expected and the love story that develops between our two main characters is wonderful to read about. I enjoyed the way the author approached the supernatural and the punny banter between Evan and Tristan.

Overall however, I would say that this is definitely an enjoyable and worthwhile read!