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More to Love by Alison Bliss

More to Love (A Perfect Fit) - Alison Bliss

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had some issues with this book. This was really more of a 2.5-star read but since I am feeling generous, I am rounding up. I have had a review copy of this book for quite a while but hadn't had the chance to read it so I decided to pick up the audiobook and give it a try. I thought that the narrator did a great job but I just couldn't ever get completely behind this story.

Jessa was great. She was confident and an all-around nice girl. She worked hard and wanted to play by the rules. She wasn't afraid to take risks or go for what she wants. And then there is Max. Max ruined this story for me. He lies when he meets Jessa and doesn't stop lying for the whole book. Jessa deserved better than that.

I did enjoy seeing Jessa connect with the people in town. I also thought that Max and Jessa had great chemistry and there was some potential for their relationship. My problem is the Max waits way too long to come clean and his lies go on way too long. He even takes steps to keep the deceit going after he has started to get involved with her. There were just a lot of lines crossed in this story. Every time Max had an opportunity to come clean with Jessa and didn't take it, I lost some respect for his character. By the end of the book, I had no respect left. Jessa deserved better.

I thought that Violet Strong did a great job with the narration. Her narration was one of the highlights of the book. She did a great job with the character voices and had a great reading voice. I had no problem listening to her narration for hours at a time. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to more of her narration work.

I think that there are some readers that will enjoy this one more than I did. I have a hard time with romances where one character is deceiving the other so this one didn't work for me. I haven't quite given up on this author and would love to try more of her work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
More like 2.5 stars but I am rounding up because the narrator did a good job. I didn't like Max at all. It is really hard to fully enjoy a romance when one of the characters is completely unlikable. Max is lying for almost the entire story and I think that it was a big enough deception to make it hard to want to see this relationship work. Jessa was great and I think she deserved better.

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

The Short Drop - Matthew FitzSimmons

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a very well done story. I have had a copy of this book for years and finally decided to give it a try. I am finding that I have overlooked a lot of great novels over the years and this book is one of them. This book was able to grab me right away and I, along with everyone in the story, wanted to know what really happened to Suzanne. I really enjoyed the time I spent listening to this story.

14-year-old Suzanne Lombard disappeared ten years ago. At the time, her father was a well-known senator but he is now the vice president and is currently running for president. There was one surveillance video of Suzanne that surfaced shortly after she disappeared but nobody has seen her since. Everyone wants to know what happened and where she is now.

Gibson Vaughn knew Suzanne when they were kids. Gibson's father worked for Lombard and as a result, Gibson and Suzanna spent a lot of time together when they were children. Gibson has his own issues from the past to deal with and is no longer on good terms with Lombard. He decides to sign on with a group trying to finally get to the bottom of Suzanne's disappearance. I liked Gibson a lot and had a good feeling that he would be able to find out what really happened.

This was a very well thought out mystery. Every piece of information that comes up could become important later in the story. I really enjoyed seeing all of the pieces of the puzzle come together to show the full picture. There is a lot going on in this story but I thought that it worked very well. Everything really made sense and the story felt very possible. I liked that the mystery was able to keep me guessing. There were some pretty big surprises and some excitement that really kept the story moving forward.

I thought that the narrator did a good job with the story. Some of the voices that he used were very similar and I found that I really had to pay attention to determine who was speaking. He had a very soothing voice that I found easy to listen to for hours at a time.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that it was a wonderfully layered and detailed mystery that was able to really make me think. I wouldn't hesitate to read more from this author in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley and I purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. A lot went into this mystery and everything was important in the end. There was a lot of action and a lot of things that were in play at any given time. I really was curious about what happened to Suzanne, who was involved, and how much everyone knew. I listened to the audiobook and I thought that the narrator did an acceptable job with the story. I thought that some of the voices that he used were a little too similar to really catch who was talking very quickly. Overall, this was a very well done story.

Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Us - Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I am so in love with Jamie and Wes. I have seen these books around and everyone seemed to be loving them. I finally understand what all the fuss was about. I really liked the first book in this series but I must say that I liked this one more. I loved getting the chance to see this pair during the next stage of their relationship. I am so glad that I finally made some room in my reading schedule for this wonderful series.

This book picks up shortly after the events of the first book. Jamie and Wes are a couple and are happy living together in their apartment. Wes is just starting his NHL career and feels like it would be best to wait until after his first year before letting anyone know that he likes men instead of women. It's not ideal but they are dealing with it. Things get a little more complicated when Wes's teammate, Blake, decided to move into the building and be their new best friend.

There are so many books out there that show a couple falling in love and those books are great. I love reading a good story about a couple falling for each other but there is something special about a book that shows an established couple making things work. The way these two feel about each other is never in question in this story. This was about making things work when it is difficult, communicating and working through problems, and giving a little space when necessary. I knew that these two would make it work but it was fantastic to see it happen.

The characters are fantastic in this book. I knew going into the book that I loved Jamie and Wes and I still do. I just love them more. They are both funny at times and so sincere with each other. I did not expect Blake. Blake made this book even better. I started off being rather annoyed by him but he completely grew on me and by the end of the book, I loved him just as much as Jamie and Wes.

The narration of this book was outstanding. Both Teddy Hamilton and Jacob Morgan did a wonderful job with this story. I think that they totally captured the characters' personalities perfectly. They both handled a wide range of emotions very well. I am pretty sure that I liked this book just a little more simply because of their narration.

I would highly recommend this series to others. Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy are a fabulous writing team and this book is proof. I fell in love with these characters and couldn't wait to see them make it as a couple. I plan to read much more from these authors including Good Boy which tells Blake's story.

Initial Thoughts
Somewhere between 4 and 5 stars so I will go with 4 for now but that might change. I might have liked this one even more than the first book in the series. Jamie and Wes are awesome and I really enjoyed watching them work though some pretty big issues in this book. I will most definitely be picking up Blake's book, Good Boy, very soon. The narration of this book was phenomenal.

Book source: Purchased

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

Hollow Kingdom - Kira Jane Buxton

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really liked this book. I am always on the lookout for something different, something original, something I haven't read one hundred times before. I have also been reading a lot of zombie books lately so I kind of think that this book was written for me. This was a different kind of zombie story and one that I won't forget any time soon. I am so glad that I took a chance and decided to give Hollow Kingdom a try.

This story is told almost entirely from S.T.'s point of view. There are a few other characters that get a quick point of view, but this is really S.T.'s story. S.T. is a bird. A pet crow to be precise. He has been dependant on his human, Big Jim, and likes his life. He knows that it is time to venture out on his own when Big Jim loses an eye and goes a little crazy. S.T. and Dennis, Big Jim's hound, leave the house and begin an adventure more intense than they could have ever imagined.

I loved S.T. from the start of this story. I thought that the author did a fabulous job of bringing this bird to life. I felt his uncertainty, his loyalty, and his desire to make things as right in the world as he could. S.T. is a smart little bird with a very large heart. He takes his quest seriously and puts himself at risk in order to save the lives of others. S.T. isn't the only great character in this book. We get to know Dennis through S.T.'s eyes and I couldn't help but fall in love with that dog. There really is a nice cast of characters that help to bring this story together.

I loved the way that this story was told. I was surprised by the level of humor throughout the story. S.T. knew how humans operated based solely on his experiences with Big Jim so his knowledge was a bit skewed. This story was also an emotional one. There were times that I got choked up but the turn the story took. I also appreciated the underlying message of the story. The reason behind the demise of humans is something that I would have to say has had a negative impact on our world in a lot of ways. I also liked the fact that we got to see how the animals fared without our interference and it was quite clear how much better the world can work when we work together.

I would definitely recommend this book to others. This funny, touching, and insightful story was unlike anything that I have read before. I will definitely be reading more from this talented author in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing.

Initial Thoughts
I really liked this book. A lot. I have been trying to decide if I should give it 4 or 5 stars. I am going with 4 for now but that might change. This book was funny, touching, and insightful. I thought that the whole concept was very well done and I really liked the underlying message. ST, Dennis, and all of the other animals were all great characters and I had a wonderful time going on this journey with them.

The Institute by Stephen King

The Institute - Stephen King

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was spectacular! I hate to admit it but I avoided Stephen King's books until about 5 years ago or so. When I was a teenager almost 30 years ago, I read a short story written by King and didn't enjoy it. I didn't pick up another book with his name on it for another 25 years. It turns out this was a very big mistake. Huge. I could have been enjoying his books all these years and didn't give them a chance because for some reason I thought that my teenage mind was able to make a good decision. I have matured a lot as a reader and a human being and have enjoyed his books that I have picked up during the past several years but I have a lot of catching up to do.

I found myself like the characters in this book right away. We first meet Tim who becomes a night knocker in a small southern town. I liked Tim a lot but I really felt like Luke was the driving force of this story. Luke is a twelve-year-old boy who happens to be a well-adjusted genius. Luke's life falls apart when he is taken to the Institute. He is able to make friends and keep himself safe in this unkind environment. Luke never stops thinking and always seems to be two steps ahead of everyone else. I couldn't help but want to see good things happen for this awesome kid and his friends.

I loved the way this book came together. I felt like there were a lot of finely moving parts that worked perfectly to tell a larger story. Every piece of information may become important at a later time. The descriptions were so vivid that I almost felt like I was there with Luke through all of his experiences. I found this plot to be incredibly original. The story was really exciting at times with some pretty intense action. I found parts of the book to also be emotional. Luke goes through a whole lot in this book and I really felt for him at times.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I had a fantastic time with this book and hated to put it down. It really was a joy to read and I cannot wait to read more of King's work.

Initial Thoughts
This was spectacular. Almost 30 years ago, I read a short story by Stephen King and didn't care for it. I have no idea what story I even read but I decided that I didn't like King's writing and didn't pick up another book with his name on it for another 25 years or so. What a dumb decision my teenage self made because I have really enjoyed the books written by King that I have read during the past 5 years and I know I could have been reading him this whole time.

At least I was smart enough to pick up this book and I loved it. The characters were phenomenal and I loved the way the story came together. This was a big story with a lot of smaller moving parts and everything just worked. The plot was original, exciting, mind-boggling, and at times emotional. I will definitely be recommending this one.

Book source: Library

The Whisper Man by Alex North

The Whisper Man - Alex North

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was very well done. This book got my attention after reading a few really favorable reviews. Once I looked a little further, I decided that this was my kind of book and decided that I needed to read it. This was a book that hooked me rather quickly and was rather hard to put down at times. I had a really good time with this story and am really glad that I decided to give it a try.

Tom is trying to move on with his life after the loss of his wife. It is now just him and his son, Jake, and Jake is not dealing with the loss very well. Tom decides that moving into a new house is the step they need. Meanwhile, a boy in town disappears and the details are incredibly similar to the events twenty years earlier when "The Whisper Man" terrorized the community.

I really enjoyed the mystery in this book. I thought that the mystery was rather complex and I couldn't wait to see how all of the pieces would end up coming together. I was never exactly sure how things would work out and I found myself working along with the characters to try to piece things together. There were plenty of surprises and I enjoyed the fact that the book kept me guessing until the end.

I thought that the characters were well done. Tom and Jake were hurting from their loss at the start of the story. Most of the book is told from Tom's point of view and I really liked that we got to see his doubts and concerns. In addition, we also get to know some of the detectives working on the case. I didn't agree with everything that these characters did in the story but they seemed very real to me. They were flawed but trying to make their life better.

I thought that Christopher Eccleston did a great job with the narration of this book. I think that I enjoyed the book just a bit more because of his performance. He did a great job with the character voices and I thought that he was able to add a lot of emotion into his reading. He had a very pleasant voice that was easy to listen to for hours at a time.

I would definitely recommend this book to others. This was a very well done and rather complex mystery that grabbed my attention and didn't let go. I wouldn't hesitate to read more of Alex North's work in the future.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from Celadon Books via Bookish First and I borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
So this was very well done. I liked the complexity of the mystery and I was eager to see how things would work out. There were a lot of things at play in this story and I liked the way that things fit together in the end. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a great job with this book.

Wrapped Up in You by Jill Shalvis

Wrapped Up in You (Heartbreaker Bay, #8) - Jill Shalvis

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was another great read from Jill Shalvis. I have been with the Heartbreaker Bay series since it started and have looked forward to each installment. Each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone but readers of the series will enjoy catching up with well-loved characters. This series has been consistently good so I went into it with rather high expectations and it was just as good as I hoped it would be.

This book is Ivy and Kel's story. Ivy is part of the friend group that is at the core of this series. She runs the taco truck and has finally started to put down some roots. She moved around a lot growing up and learned how to take care of herself. She is really hesitant to think about anything long term since her plans don't usually work out. Kel is Cal's cousin from Idaho. He works as a sheriff and runs the family ranch but is helping his cousin out while he takes a bit of a break. Kel also is bothered by things from his past which is having a big impact on his present.

I loved these two together. They had wonderful chemistry with each other and I felt like they had a lot in common. They both just seemed to be a little bit better when they were together. I loved the way that Kel watched out for Ivy and felt protective towards her. Ivy was able to help Kel make progress with the demons from his past. They were both hesitant to think long term but the pull towards each other was so great they couldn't stay away from each other.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This was a fantastic romance with fantastic characters and just the right amount of heat. While this is a Christmas story, the festive details were extremely minor so it would be a great book to pick up at any time of the year. I can't wait to read more in this wonderful series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Tasty Book PR via Book Funnel.

Initial Thoughts
This was another solid read from Jill Shalvis. Kel and Ivy were great together and I thought that they had a lot in common with each other with their family issues. I was really happy to see an epilogue that showed us how things would work out for them. An all-around great read!

The Trouble with Christmas by Amy Andrews

The Trouble With Christmas - Amy Andrews

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

Oh, I loved this romance! I went into this book rather blindly. I had not read any of Amy Andrews work before this book. This is the second book in the Credence, Colorado series but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone novel. I do want to go back and read the first book though but that is just because I liked this one so much. I really had a fantastic time with this story.

Suzanne is an artist who is looking for a change of scenery. She rents a cabin on Grady's ranch to get away and work to find her muse again. Her career has consisted of reproducing art for museums and other clients but she would love to create original art. Unfortunately, her muse gets stuck on Grady. Grady wants nothing more than to be left to work his ranch. He likes to be left alone and doesn't need anything more in his life.

A visit from Suzanne's parents changes everything. Suzanne and Grady must try to make them believe that they are head over heels in love. And that Grady is really into Christmas. They go straight into over the top cheesy Christmas with tacky decorations and lights everywhere. Oh...and did I mention that Grady is not at all into all this Christmas stuff?

I had so much fun with this book. Grady and Suzanne were great together and had fantastic chemistry. I loved watching them inch closer and closer to each other over the course of the story. I loved that there was some humor worked into the book and it seemed to show up at just the right moment. Both Grady and Suzanne were complex characters whom I grew to love over during this story. I really felt like these two deserved to find happiness together.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. I was totally swept away by this wonderful romance and didn't want it to come to an end. I will definitely be reading more from Amy Andrews in the future!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Entangled: Amara via Bookish First.

Initial Thoughts
Oh, I loved this book! Grady and Suzanne were perfect and I adored all of the tacky Christmas stuff worked into the story. This really was a great romance.

Total Bravery by Piper J. Drake

Total Bravery (True Heroes #4) - Piper J. Drake

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this romance quite a bit. This is the third book in Piper J. Drake's True Heroes series but it can easily be read as a stand-alone. I haven't read any of the other books from this series and I had absolutely no problems jumping in with this one. I picked this book up on a day that I was home waiting to get some repairs done because I thought it fit my mood that day. I was right. I consumed this entire book in a single day and had a great time with it.

When Raul gets a call for help from Mali, a friend and co-worker's sister, he doesn't hesitate to come to her aid. Raul works at Search and Protect along with his partner Taz, a German Shepherd. He is brand new on the job and hasn't even officially started when he gets the call from Mali but he knows he needs to help. Mali is afraid. She has been in Hawaii doing research and her group had to scatter. She believes that people may be after her and she fears for the safety of her group.

This book had plenty of action to keep things really interesting. There were some pretty intense scenes that really kept the pace of the book moving forward. I thought that the action was nicely balanced out by the scenes that were more character-driven. I really enjoyed getting to know Raul, Mali, Taz, and the rest of the crew. It was very interesting to see what motivated them to act. I loved the fact that Taz was such a well-developed character that played a huge part in the story. I am a sucker for books that involve dogs and I thought that Taz added a whole lot to the story.

I liked the chemistry between Raul and Mali. I enjoyed the romance in this story but I did feel like the action of the story felt like a larger focus. I liked that things moved a little slower and I thought that their chemistry was very well done. I was completely invested in seeing this pair figure out how to make things work long term.

I would recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense. The story does deal with human trafficking which may be hard for some readers. I found this story to be very entertaining and action-packed and therefore hard to put down. I would not hesitate to read more of well-done series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing).

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this romance. This was the first book by Piper Drake that I have had the chance to read so I was very glad that this book worked well as a stand-alone. I thought that the characters were well done and there was a lot of excitement to keep things moving forward. I was really happy that the dogs were present throughout the story and that Taz played such a huge role. Raul and Mali were great together.

Twisted Mind by Kate L. Mary

Twisted Mind: A Broken World Novella - Kate L. Mary

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a great chance to see things from a completely different perspective. This is a novella-length story that really does need to be read after Twisted World since the events in this story take place at the same time. In this story, we see things from Jackson's point of view. I was pretty sure that I didn't like Jackson before I started this book but now I am absolutely certain that this is not a nice guy. It was really kind of fun to see just exactly how this guy mind really works. I had a good time with this story.

Jackson Star was born at the start of the zombie apocalypse and he is roughly the same age as Megan. Jackson's father is the man in charge of the settlement that they live in. He doesn't know what it is like to not be in power. They live in a big house while others live in shacks. Jackson, along with his father, has a plan and that plan involves Megan James.

Jackson was even worse than I thought he would be and I thought he was pretty bad. He really does have an evil mind and I was at times amazed by just how far he would be willing to go. I thought he was selfish and uncaring but learned that he actually enjoys seeing others in pain. He likes to make others suffer and he is completely unable to empathize on any level. 

This story was very eye-opening. It was really interesting to see things happening that I couldn't even imagine. I liked that certain parts of this story mirrored Twisted World but though a warped lens. I thought I knew what happened but I didn't know everything. I love the fact that even though I knew a lot of the events that would happen in this story, everything still felt very fresh because the perspective was so different. 

I thought that Heather Firth did a great job with this story. I like that she speaks very clearly and I think she does a great job with the character voices. I thought that she had a very pleasant voice and I had no trouble listening to this story for hours at a time.

I would recommend this series to others. I love the world that Kate L. Mary has created and the characters almost feel like family. I cannot wait to read more in this series!

I received a review copy of this audiobook from the author.

Initial Thoughts
This was an interesting point of view. This novella takes place at the same time as the first book in the series, Twisted World. Everything is presented from Jackson Star's point of view and as much as I thought I didn't like him before, this novella left no doubts. Jackson Star is not a nice guy. The story did answer a few questions and let me see another side of things to really give a clear picture of what is going on in this world. I thought that the narration was well done as well.

Selkies Are a Girl's Best Friend by Molly Harper

Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend (Mystic Bayou #3) - Jonathan Davis, Molly Harper,  Amanda Ronconi

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a great little audiobook! This is the third book in the Mystic Bayou series but I was pretty confident that it would work well as a stand-alone. It did work very well on its own but now I kind of want to go back and read the earlier books. Funny how that works. I thought that this book was fun from beginning to end and I had a great time meeting some of the residents of this strange town.

Sonja can handle just about anything. She works for the League and seems to be able to get things done. She is given the task of being the liaison for the town's new doctor. Will has taken the position as the new doctor but he wasn't expecting to see the ailments that seem to be popping up around town. He hasn't lived in Mystic Bayou for a very long time and it is obvious that some things have changed. 

Sonja and Will were great together. I thought that they had really great chemistry and seemed to mesh really well. It was fun to watch them work with each other and I really enjoyed it when they opened up to each other. Will had quite a few hang-ups in regards to starting a relationship which made sense considering his history. 

I loved the way that this story was written. It had all of the humor that I have come to expect from Molly Harper which kept things really light. The story also had a lot of heart with the characters dealing with some real issues and moving forward in their lives. I thought that the characters in Mystic Bayou were very well done. I especially enjoyed getting to meet Will's brother. 

Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis did a fabulous job with the narration. I really thought that their voices worked well together in this story and it is always nice to have two narrators for a story that is told from two different points of view. I thought that they both did a great job with the characters voices and were able to add some emotion into the story. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to more from this pair of narrators.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this story was funny, original, romantic, and exciting. I couldn't stop listening because I just had to know what else could happen in the strange town of Mystic Bayou. I can't wait to read more from this delightful series.

I received a copy of this audiobook from Audible Originals.

Initial Thoughts
This was fun! I have not read any of the previous books in this series and I can confirm that this book works very well on its own. I thought that the relationship between Will and Sonja was well done and I really enjoyed the friendship between Jillian and Sonja. This was rather comical with a lot of fun references worked into the story. I thought that the narration was great and added a lot to the story.

The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

The Ugly Stepsister - Aya Ling

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had so much fun with this book! I haven't read too many retellings but I was quite curious about this Cinderella story. Unfortunately, I was quickly distracted by other new shiny books and this one was lost in my virtual stacks. I came across the audiobook and decided it was time that I give this book a try and I am so glad that I did. I flew through this audiobook and really enjoyed my time with it.

Kat lives with her sister and mother but she is transported to the world of Cinderella when she accidentally rips an old book. Instead of Cinderella, Kat fills the role of Katriona who is one of the step-sisters. It was a lot of fun watching her try to navigate this new world. She had so much to learn with the differences in manners, language, and fashion just to start. Kat decides that in order to get back to her world she needs to help the prince fall for Cinderella so she starts working towards this goal.

I loved Kat. I loved the way that she couldn't help but try to make the world a better place even if she didn't plan to stay for very long. Prince Edward was also quite wonderful. He couldn't help but be drawn to Kat's fresh perspective. They were really just wonderful together. I couldn't help but cheer this pair towards their happily ever after. 

The audiobook was narrated by Luci Christian and I thought that she did a great job with it. I really liked all of the voices that she used and thought that her reading helped to make the story even more enjoyable. She had a very pleasant voice that I was able to listen to for hours at a time. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to more of her work.

I would recommend this book to fans of fairy tale retellings. I thought that this was a really well-done story that offered a new look at an old tale. I do have to admit that I wasn't thrilled by how the story ended but that would be my only complaint. 

I received a digital review copy of this book from Aya Ling via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I had sooo much fun with this one! I thought that this story was really well done and it was a very nice twist on the Cinderella story that I know. Kat was such a great character and I loved the way she wanted to make the world a better place. Edward really did seem to be her perfect match. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narration was very well done. I am not really sure about that ending but that is really my only complaint.

Twisted World by Kate L. Mary

Twisted World - Kate L. Mary

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a great time with this audiobook. I recently read six of the seven books in Kate L. Mary's Broken World series and really enjoyed myself. When I saw that there was another series set in the same world, I knew that I needed to read those books. Once I started listening, I couldn't stop and ended up finishing the book in just a couple of days which is pretty fast for me with a book this length. It is safe to say that I enjoyed this book.

As I mentioned, this book is set in the same world as the Broken World series. I was happily surprised to find that many of the characters that I had grown to love in the first series were back in this book, just twenty years older. I think that readers could start with this book without any issues but readers of the earlier series will have some additional background information that could be helpful.

This book is partially told from Megan's point of view. Megan is Axl and Vivian's daughter and it was really nice to get to see her all grown up and navigating the world as competently as her parents had done in the previous series. Megan's father is missing and her mother isn't dealing with things very well so it is up to Megan to keep things together. She gets a couple of jobs in order to keep the bills paid. One of her jobs is in the entertainment district where she meets a convict fighter named Donaghy. It quickly becomes evident that there is more going on than Megan originally realized. I really liked both Megan and Donaghy's characters and I thought that they made a wonderful pair.

I liked the mystery in this book. The zombies have changed and it seems that there may be a whole mystery around those changes. The CDC was the organization that saved the world from the zombies but it seems they may be involved in a whole lot more. There were a few characters that I spent a lot of time trying to work out their true identities. There was a lot of action in this story to keep things very interesting.

Heather Firth did a great job with the narration of this book. I thought that she did a fantastic job with both the female and male points of view in this story. Her reading helped to bring this story to life by adding a lot of emotion to it. Her pacing was very well done and I found her voice to be very pleasant to listen to for hours at a time. 

I would recommend this book to others. I think that this is a very well done story set in an interesting world. I thought that this book had a wonderful combination of action, mystery, and great characters. I cannot wait to start reading the rest of the series.

I received a review copy of this audiobook from the author.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this! I loved the Broken World series and it was great to check in with all of the characters to see how time has treated them. This book is told from Megan's perspective who was born after the world fell apart. Things aren't looking great for Megan and her family and it was interesting to see the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. I thought that Heather Firth did a good job with the narration. I definitely plan to continue with the series.

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this book was just okay. This is really a pretty generous 3 stars but I am going to go with it. I have wanted to read Gail Carriger's work for a very long time and I remember being excited when I got my hands on a review copy of this book years ago. Somehow it got lost in my tbr pile but I decided that it was time to give it a go. It really wasn't all that I had hoped it would be but I am glad that I gave it a read and did find many parts of the book quite enjoyable.

This book felt younger than I expected it to feel. I do read quite a bit of YA but I thought that this story had more of a Middle Grade feel. That is not a bad thing - just an observation. My main issue with this story is the fact that I was often rather bored. For some reason, I never felt any connection to the story or the characters and often found my mind wandering. 

The story revolves around Sophronia, who is sent off to Finishing School. This isn't like any other Finishing School. While she is taught important things such as how to curtsey properly, she is also trained in the art of espionage. I thought the school was pretty interesting and enjoyed seeing all of the various steampunk elements that present. There were a few more intense scenes that I thought were really well done as well.

I thought that Moira Quirk did a good job with this book. She was able to represent all of the different characters very well with her voice. I thought that the dialogue in the story flowed quite nicely. I found that she read the book at a nice pace and had no issues listening to her narration for long periods of time.

I think that this is a book that other reader might like a bit more than I did. I thought that the book did many things quite well but I was often bored and eager to finish the book so that I could move on to something else. I do hope to read more from Gail Carriger soon but I will probably choose a book from a different series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Little Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
Maybe 2.5 stars but I am rounding up for now. There were parts of this story that I really did enjoy and other parts that felt rather dull. I just had a hard time really staying interested in this book but I did like the characters. I listened to the audio and thought that Moira Quirk did a great job with the story.

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) -  Ilona Andrews

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

There is something special about a new Ilona Andrews book. When I get one in my hands, I feel like a kid a Christmas. That kid has no idea what is under the tree but they know that it is going to be good. And it was good. So very good. This series is one that I treasure so my expectations were really high when I sat down to read this newest installment and every single one of those expectations were met. This story is a gift and I am very glad that the writing pair of Ilona Andrews were able to share it with their fans.

This is the fourth full-length book in the Hidden Legacy series which follows the Baylor family. The first three books were told from Nevada's point of view. Catalina took center stage in the novella, Diamond Fire, and kept the lead in this book. I loved Nevada but I am finding that I really like Catalina as well. Catalina is definitely her own person and often approaches things differently than Nevada might. I really enjoyed seeing this wonderful family from a different perspective.

I loved the characters in this book. I already loved the members of the Baylor family from the earlier books in the series but I always enjoy getting to know them just a little better. I really liked getting to know Catalina in detail. It was fun to see her use her powers and I have a feeling that we are going to get to see them develop quite a bit in future books. Alessandro was a bit of a mystery. I liked the fact that it was really hard to tell whose side he is on but he always seemed to show up exactly when he was needed. The chemistry between Catalina and Alessandro was pretty much off the charts so I am looking forward to seeing how things progress between the pair in future books.

This story was exciting and the mystery was very well done. There is no shortage of action in this story as I have come to expect from the series. The mystery was fairly complex and Catalina was forced to juggle many things while she worked to get to the bottom of things. I really liked that there were a few larger plot points that were left open and I look forward to seeing where things go in future books. 

I would highly recommend this book to others. This book was everything that I had hoped that it would be and even just a little bit more. I can't wait to read this one again and again!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Avon Books via NetGalley / Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
Amazing! This was the kind of book that you lose sleep over. The kind of book that you really hate to put down. The kind of book that as soon as you finish you want to start reading all over again. 

I guess you could say that I liked it :) A lot of things have happened in Baylor family and I really enjoyed seeing Catalina take the lead. She is different than her sister, Nevada, but just as easy to like. There was a lot of action in this one and a few developments that I didn't expect. I can't wait for more!

Forgotten World by Kate L. Mary

Forgotten World (Broken World Book 6) - Kate L. Mary, Emily Teng

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a fantastic time with this book. This is the sixth book in the Broken World series which really does need to be read in order. While there is a seventh book in the series, this book really wrapped up the main story. I feel like I have been on quite the adventure with Vivian and the rest of the book and I really wanted to see things work out for them. This was one of those books that was almost impossible to put down.

This book is told from Vivan's point of view. At the start of this book, the group is ready to start their trip to Atlanta. The CDC is up and running and the key to the cure that they are working on might just be Angus. The man in charge of the trip thinks that everything should be a piece of cake but Vivian, Axl, Angus and the rest of the group know that thing may not go as planned. 

This was an emotional and exciting story. This story broke my heart and gave me hope, sometimes at the same time. There are a few scenes with some pretty intense action when I wasn't sure if our group would make it. When things did go wrong and a couple of characters were lost, I felt it. There were some pretty hard losses in this one. There were also some really great moments when characters put themselves in harm's way in order to protect someone else. 

One of the biggest strengths of this book is the characters. I love how this group has grown both individually and together over the course of the series. Even the characters that are put in the story to test the group are incredibly well done. All of the emotions that this group goes through felt very real. They aren't perfect and they do make mistakes but they are always there for each other when it really matters. 

I would highly recommend this series to fans of post-apocalyptic stories. I had a great time cheering this group on when things were going well and feeling crushed with them when they weren't. I have become a huge fan of Kate L. Mary and look forward to reading more of her work just as soon as I can.

Initial Thoughts
This was great! There were some pretty tough losses and a lot of excitement in this installment. It has been wonderful watching the characters grow over the course of the series and saying goodbye to some of them was really hard. This really wrapped things up nicely. There is another book in the series which I am eager to start but it looks like it is about a character that was separated from the larger group.

Book source: Kindle Unlimited