Nov 272014
should you read this series

 The Monstrumologist series is indescribable.  It’s historical, it’s Gothic, it’s horror… it’s even an odd type of ‘coming of age’.  It makes me squeamish and it makes me feel uneasy.  It’s violent, bloody and cruel.  It’s also on the slower side, definitely not what one would call action packed. It sinks it’s nails into you and makes you feel like you just have to keep reading.

I took my time reading this series, completing it over 2 years time, and I thought I would share my thoughts with you guys.

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Book #1: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy 

 The Monstrumologist

Synopsis from Goodreads:

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

A Gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts.

Publication Date: January 1, 2009

This book starts off very roughly.  Aptly, as it is the series genre, Rick Yancy writes these books with a very Gothic undertone to them.  They are very dry, and the characters are mostly very stuffy.  It was rough for me, and when I reached the halfway park I almost quit. Thankfully someone happened to mention that the first 50% of this book is slow, but after that it rolls right along.  Hearing that, I decided to give it a bit longer to see if things turned around and I will gladly admit that I was literally about a chapter away from the good stuff!

You see, the second half of this book was so good that I couldn’t put it down.  I plowed through the entire second half in about 5 hours.

Also, despite the stuffiness and adjusting to the writing style, from the very beginning it was creepy.  This is a horror story, and there was absolutely no holding back when it came to the descriptions.  Scary, grotesque, descriptions are pretty much a requirement for any good horror story.

I watched in mute horror, he ran his fingernail over one of the boils clustered on his forearm, breaking open the swollen white center. A squirming, stringy mass of colorless worms gushed from the wound, each no thicker around than a human hair. “Even my tongue,” he moaned. “When I talk, the sores burst open and I swallow them.” My father began to weep, and his tears were flecked with blood and swam with worms.

This book is another prime example of why I am so hesitant to abandon any book.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

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Book #2: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancy

Curse of the wendigo 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

While attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancé to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, and which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop also considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo.

Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?

This second book in The Monstrumologist series explores the line between myth and reality, love and hate, genius and madness.

Publication Date: October 1, 2010

 As a follow up to the first book The Curse of the Wendigo sure did not disappoint. Rarely does a book actually make me gag, but Yancy succeeds, hitting the nail on the head when it comes to writing the creepiness and horror.  The gore level certainly matched, though I thought it exceeded, what he set out in The Monstrumologist.

Yancy found ways of advancing the story in book two by offering another side to these characters.  Now, without losing the integrity of his characters, he added humor and he began to weave in love.   I have to admit, this book made me like Pellinore Warthrop. Watching him navigate past relationship opened him up a bit.  It hinted at how deeply he may feel about others, Will Henry in particular. This second installment gave us as the reader a glimpse of the love that he likely had for the boy.

“Henry? Why did you go somewhere you clearly had no business being?”
“Lilly! What- did she bop you over the head with a chair and carry you down to the Monstrumarium?”
“She said she wanted to show me something.”
“A word of advice, Will Henry. When a person of the female gender says she wants to show you something, run the other way. The odds are it is not something you wish to see.”

Overall, the book was great. Great amazing writing, endearing humanistic characters, engaging and scary plot! Book 2 raised the Monstrumologist bar.

“What, don’t you like women?” He ribbed, giving me a wink.
The doctor pursed his lips sourly. “As a man of science, I have often thought that, for the sake of accuracy, they should be classified as a different species altogether- Homo enigma, perhaps.”

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  1/2

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Book #3: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancy

Isle of Blood


Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Dr. Warthrop goes hunting the “Holy Grail of Monstrumology” with his eager new assistant, Arkwright, he leaves Will Henry in New York. Finally, Will can enjoy something that always seemed out of reach: a normal life with a real family. But part of Will can’t let go of Dr. Warthrop, and when Arkwright returns claiming that the doctor is dead, Will is devastated–and not convinced.

Determined to discover the truth, Will travels to London, knowing that if he succeeds, he will be plunging into depths of horror worse than anything he has experienced so far. His journey will take him to Socotra, the Isle of Blood, where human beings are used to make nests and blood rains from the sky–and will put Will Henry’s loyalty to the ultimate test.

Publication Date: January 1, 2011

From the start I was drawn to Will Henry. In The Monstrumologist we were introduced to a very scared, sad, young boy. And we’ve watched him grow into a lonely, but terrifyingly practical, young man. I don’t necessarily like the path that Will Henry is on, but at the same time I can completely understand what drives him.

I love him.  I want to mother him.

Still, for me, the best part of this series is Pellinore Warthrop.  I didn’t feel it nearly as much in the first book. Actually, I pretty much thought he was a jerk. Then in the second book,  The Curse of the Wendigo, you started to see those other sides of Pellinore. He’s like an onion with the layers peeling back so slowly, and at the center is a man I have come to care about. And one that I believe truly cares about Will.

Warthrop is torn between his self-hatred, his drive to be the best Monstrumologist he can be, and to make sure to keep his charge/assistant/apprentice safe. Sometimes it’s obvious that he’s right on the edge of lunacy, falling to the darkside, but that only makes the glimpses of tenderness even more profound.

He shoved me toward the stern and turned his back upon me, planting his legs wide for balance and spreading his arms as if inviting the fullness of God’s wrath upon his head. A burst of lightning flashed, thunder shook the planks, and Warthrop laughed. The Monstrumologist laughed, and his laughter overtook the wind and the lashing rain and the thunder itself, trampling the maelstrom under its unconquerable heels. Is it any wonder the power this man held over me-this man who did not run from his demons like most of us do, but embraced them as his own, clutching them to his heart in a choke hold grip. He did not try to escape them by denying them or drugging them or bargaining with them. He met them where they lived, in the secret place most of us keep hidden. Warthrop was Warthrop down to the marrow of his bones, for his demons defined him; they breathed the breath of life into him; and without them, he would go down, as most of us do, into that purgatorial fog of a life unrealized.

You may call him mad. You may judge him vain and selfish and arrogant and bereft of all normal human sentiment. You may dismiss him entirely as a fool blinded by his own ambition and pride. But you cannot say Pellinore Warthrop was not finally, fully, furiously alive.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

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Book #4: The Final Descent by Rick Yancy

The Final Descent


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop have encountered many horrors together—but can Will endure a monstrumological terror without his mentor?

Will Henry has been through more that seems possible for a boy of fourteen. He’s been on the brink of death on more than one occasion, he has gazed into hell—and hell has stared back at him, and known his face. But through it all, Dr. Warthrop has been at his side.

When Dr. Warthrop fears that Will’s loyalties may be shifting, he turns on Will with a fury, determined to reclaim his young apprentice’s devotion. And so Will must face one of the most horrific creatures of his monstrumology career—and he must face it alone.

Over the course of one day, Will’s life—and Pellinor Warthrop’s destiny—will lie in balance. In the terrifying depths of the Monstrumarium, they will face a monster more terrible than any they could have imagined—and their fates will be decided.

Publication Date: September 10, 2013

Darkness has always been the theme of the series, but in The Final Descent that darkness is taken who a whole new level.

We are vain and arrogant, evolution’s highest achievement and most dismal failure, prisoners of our self-awareness and the illusion that we stand in the center, that there is us and then there is everything else but us.

But we do not stand apart from or above or in the middle of anything.  There is nothing apart, nothing above, and the middle is everywhere-and nowhere.  We are no more beautiful or essential or magnificent than an earthworm.

In fact-and dare we go there, you and I?-you could say the worm is more beautiful, because it is innocent and we are not.  The worm has no motive but to survive long enough to make baby worms.  There is no betrayal, no cruelty, no envy, no lust, and no hatred in the worm’s heart, and so who are the monsters and which species shall we call aberrant?

The fourth and final book in this quartet was quite a change from the first three books.  Unfortunately, because this the last book, I can’t say too much about it without giving away the direction the story took.  Just note that the book veered off in a direction that I didn’t expect and I can see how some fans may have found it disappointing.

I will say that there was a giant change in the writing style from the first three books to this one.  In the story the reason for this change is explained.  As the reader though, it took a bit of time to become accustomed to.  It jumped around a lot.  The jumps weren’t from character to character like other books, but it instead moved rapidly through time.  One page would be the past, then you’d get half a page in the future, and the chapter would end in the present.  I found myself frequently having to remind myself of when the scene was taking place.

I didn’t like it as much as I had the previous ones, but I also wasn’t as disappointed as I read others were.  Things didn’t turn out the way I’d been hoping, but that’s alright.  It just mirrored life.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

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Final Score: 4 Skulls – B

So, in closing, the characters are brilliant.  The Monstrumologist story is unique.  Some books I liked more than others, but as a whole I’m glad I read it.  It is like a horror series the likes of which I’ve never read before.

I can’t just give the series the full 5 skulls.  In addition the changes in the writing of the final book, there’s also just a gut feeling.  I think that there is a little something that is lacking in the books, and it’s something that I can’t put my finger on. It could be as simple as how I hesitate to recommend this series to people, despite how much I enjoyed it.

I’ll leave it like this: if you like a slow intricate series, one that is beautiful in it’s gruesomeness;  if you like books that take thought to read, and that aren’t something that you can fly through mindlessly, you should absolutely add The Monstrumologist to your shelf.  I believe there’s a good chance you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

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 Posted by on November 27, 2014 at 8:03 am
Nov 262014
Early Review: Wickedly Wonderful by Deborah Blake

Wickedly Wonderful by Deborah Blake Book #2 in Baba Yaga Genres: Paranormal Romance Publication Date: December 2nd 2014 ARC Provided by Berkley and Netgalley Synopsis from Goodreads: Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them… Though she looks like a typical California surfer girl, Beka Yancy is in fact a powerful yet inexperienced witch who’s struggling with her duties as a Baba Yaga. Luckily she has [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 26, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 252014
Author Q & A, Release Day Group Review, + Giveaway: The King by Tiffany Reisz

 When we got the email telling us Tiffany Reisz would be answering questions on The King blog tour, we were thrilled! When it comes to Tiffany’s writing and her sinners, we want to know every last detail! Which sinner did she originally plan to kill off? Who is her favorite to write? And what’s in store for her readers? She fills us in on all that and more! Here’s what we wanted to know: BABR: Was there a particular arc for Original Sinners you had planned on that didn’t pan out? If there was, are you willing to share any tidbits? [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 25, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 242014
New Release Review: The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Job by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg Book #3 in Fox and O’Hare Genre: Romantic Suspense Publication Date: November 18, 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Random House Synopsis from Goodreads: He’s a charming con man and she’s a dedicated FBI agent, and they’re about to drive each other crazy . . . again! The FBI had one demand when they secretly teamed up Special Agent Kate O’Hare with charming con man Nicolas Fox—bring down the world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons. This time it’s the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn’t know what their target looks [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 24, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 212014
Early Group Review: Symbiont by Mira Grant

    Symbiont by Mira Grant  Book #2 in the Parasitology Trilogy Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Publication Date: November 25, 2014 Publisher: Orbit   Synopsis from Goodreads: THE SECOND BOOK IN MIRA GRANT’S TERRIFYING PARASITOLOGY SERIES. THE ENEMY IS INSIDE US. The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world’s population began attacking their hosts turning them into a ravenous horde. Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 21, 2014 at 8:22 am
Nov 202014
Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge: Science Fiction - A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

The Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge was Science Fiction for October (yes, we’re late!) and we decided to try a new-to-us author, Claudia Gray, and her newest novel, A Thousand Pieces of You. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray Book #1 in Firebird Genres: Young Adult Science Fiction Publication Date: November 4th 2014 ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Harper Teen Synopsis from Goodreads: Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray. Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm
Nov 192014
New Release Review: Gray Bishop by Kelly Meade

Gray Bishop by Kelly Meade Book #2 in Cornerstone Run Genres: Paranormal Romance Publication Date: October 21st 2014 ARC Provided by InterMix and Netgalley Synopsis from Goodreads: Some people need something to fight for… With the attacks on their homes escalating and human half-breeds seeking sanctuary among them, the loup garou are reaching their breaking point. Two, in particular. After failing to stop his little brother’s kidnapping years ago, Bishop McQueen angrily broods on his shame, though no one else blames him. Jillian Reynolds is still dealing with a tragic accident that took everything she ever wanted from life. And her attraction to Bishop [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 19, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 182014
Review: Hate is Such a Strong Word by Sarah Ayoub

Hate is Such a Strong Word by Sarah Ayoub  Genre: Realistic Cultural Fiction Publication Date: September 1st, 2013 Publisher: HarperCollins Australia   Synopsis from Goodreads: I hate being invisible. I hate that I still can′t fight my own battles. I hate that I can′t keep up with the demands of high school. Sophie Kazzi is in Year 12 at an all-Lebanese, all-Catholic school where she is invisible, uncool and bored out of her brain. While she′s grown up surrounded by Lebanese friends, Lebanese neighbours and Lebanese shops, she knows there′s more to life than Samboosik and Baklawa, and she desperately wants to find [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 18, 2014 at 8:02 am
Nov 172014
Early Review: The Duke's Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton

The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton Book #1 in Duke’s Behaving Badly Genre: Historical Romance Publication Date: November 25, 2014 ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Avon Synopsis from Goodreads: All of London knows the Duke of Rutherford has position and wealth. They also whisper that he’s dissolute, devilish, and determinedly unwed. So why, everyone is asking, has he hired a governess? When Miss Lily Russell crosses the threshold of the Duke of Rutherford’s stylish townhouse, she knows she has come face to face with sensual danger. For this is no doting papa. Rather, his behavior is scandalous, and [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 17, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 142014
New Release Review: Toxic by Carol Ericson

Toxic by Carol Ericson Genre: Romantic Suspense Publication Date: November 3, 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Harlequin Synopsis from Goodreads: “That’s the way I like it – hot and wet.” Not something I’d typically say in a job interview, but it just kind of slipped out. I blame Ronnie Tatethe woman is sin in stilettos. As bosses go, the sexy ex-showgirl is way more appealing than the Miami billionaire who hired me to find his missing mistress. The girl’s trail ends at Ronnie’s bayside bar, so I’ve got to get close to the people there to find out more. And I [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 14, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 132014
New Release Review: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong Book #3 in Otherworld Stories Genres: Urban Fantasy Anthology Publication Date: October 28th 2014 ARC Provided by Plume and Netgalley Synopsis from Goodreads: Rare and never-before published short stories featuring fan favorites from the New York Times bestselling series It’s been more than ten years since Kelley Armstrong began the Otherworld series and drew legions of fans to a realm roamed by witches, werewolves, necromancers, vampires, and half-demons. Many of the novels have become bestselling favorites, but not all of the Otherworld adventures have been easy to find. At last, Otherworld Nights shares short stories that have previously [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 13, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 122014
ARC Review: The Chase by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

The Chase by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg Book #2 in Fox and O’Hare Genre: Romantic Suspense Publication Date: February 25, 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Random House Synopsis from Goodreads: Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling authors of The Heist, return in this action-packed, exciting adventure featuring master con artist Nicolas Fox and die-hard FBI agent Kate O’Hare. And this time around, things go from hot to nuclear when government secrets are on the line. Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 12, 2014 at 4:00 am
Nov 112014
Steals and Deals for November!

Looking for a new book to snuggle up with on a budget or maybe you’ve had your eye on a series but were afraid to commit to the full price? Well, wait no longer! Steals & Deals brings you free and cheap yet quality reads we’ve spotted on for Kindle devices and apps. Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen (Book #8 in Rizzoli & Isles) || Price: $1.99 || Buy Now In Wyoming for a medical conference, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. But when their SUV stalls on a snow-choked mountain road, they’re [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 11, 2014 at 4:08 pm
Nov 102014
New Release Review: UnDivided by Neal Shusterman

UnDivided by Neal Shusterman  Book #4 in the Unwind Dystology Genre: Science Fiction Dystopian Publication Date: October 14, 2014 Publisher: Simon & Schuster   Synopsis from Goodreads: Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman. Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 10, 2014 at 8:22 am
Nov 062014
Review: The Heist by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

The Heist by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg Book #1 in Fox and O’Hare Genre: Romantic Suspense Publication Date: June 18, 2013 Synopsis from Goodreads: FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 6, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 052014
Review: Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey  Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery Publication Date: March 31, 2009 Publisher: Allen & Unwin   Synopsis from Goodreads: Late on a hot summer night in 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 5, 2014 at 11:22 am
Nov 042014
Spotlight on November's New Releases

Welcome to our monthly feature where we take a look at the new books releasing this month and offer up our top picks and opinions. We have chosen 20 of our most anticipated new releases. The release dates are on a best known basis and are not guaranteed. Books may get delayed or sometimes even released earlier so please check with your favorite store to ensure availability. Now, on to the books! A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (#1 in Firebird) – Expected publication: November 4th 2014 by Harper Teen Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier (#1 in Blackthorn and Grim) – Expected [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 4, 2014 at 7:00 am
Nov 032014
Release Day Review: Blamed by Edie Harris

Blamed by Edie Harris Book #1 in Blood Money Genre: Romantic Suspense Publication Date: November 3rd, 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Carina Press Synopsis from Goodreads: Born into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager. That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgivable. She’s worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on November 3, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 302014
New Release Review: The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen  Book #3 in The Ivy Years Genre: LGTB Contemporary Romance Publication Date: October 15, 2014 Publisher: Rennie Road Books   Synopsis from Goodreads: What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now. Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself. So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 30, 2014 at 11:36 am
Oct 292014
Review: Reap & Repent by Lisa Medley

Reap & Repent by Lisa Medley Book #1 in The Reapers Genre: Urban Fantasy Publication Date: June 2, 2014 Synopsis from Goodreads: They see death. Can they share a life? Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets–yellow is happy, green is peaceful, red is aroused. She can even see the brilliant white light that glows just before death. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura. Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth–and, having spent more than two hundred years [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 29, 2014 at 7:00 am