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Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Undead Girl Gang - Lily Anderson
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was fun! I was initially drawn to this book by its awesome cover and when I read the book's summary, I knew that I needed to have this book in my life. This book had so many elements that I love including witchcraft and undead characters. This ended up being a really quick read for me and I found myself liking the book more and more as I worked my way through the story. I found this to be a really entertaining and original novel.

This book hooked me from the very start as it opens with Mila attending her best friend's funeral. The story is told from Mila's point of view and her internal dialogue really made it easy to like her character right away. Mila believes that her best friend, Riley, was murdered but everyone else is calling it a suicide. Mila is a really low point as you would expect. She misses her friend and is angry that nobody seems to think her death is a result of murder. When a book shows up with a perfect spell, Mila decides to take action.

Mila and Riley practiced witchcraft together. Mila decides to cast a spell that will bring her friend and two other girls back for a short window of time so that they can solve their deaths. It was so much fun to watch this group of four girls try to figure out what to do with their time. I thought that all four of them showed a lot of growth during the story. The mystery at the core of the story had a few surprises and kept me guessing until the end. 

I would recommend this book to others. I found this book to an entertaining look at friendships, zombie, and learning to move on. This was the first book by Lily Anderson that I have read but I will definitely be reading more of her work in the future. 

I received a digital review copy of this book from Penguin Publishing Group - Razorbill via First to Read.

Initial Thoughts
This was fun. I liked how the girls grew over the course of the story. It was really a unique story that kept me completely entertained. I had no idea who was responsible for everything until it was revealed within the story.

 

Marek by Sawyer Bennett

Marek: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel (Carolina Cold Fury Hockey) - Sawyer Bennett

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

I liked this book but I do have to say that it is my least favorite book in the series so far. I was really excited about this book from the set up of the story that occurred in the previous book in the series, Reed. This book is the eleventh book in the series but it would read perfectly well as a stand alone because everything that is important to the story is included in this volume. That being said, the previous book got me really excited about this book despite the fact that I knew there was going to be a secret baby, which is a trope that only rarely works for me. I did enjoy this book even though I had a few issues with it.

My biggest problem with this story is that Marek and Gracen have the same argument over and over throughout much of the book. I get it that this is a really big deal to get over and it could never happen overnight. It just became a bit tiresome to read about this pair having the same issue coming up time and time again. I would have loved to see a little more of Marek getting to know Lilly or maybe a bit more of the three of them together. We do get to see some of this happening but I think that would have been a more powerful way of seeing them come together instead of the rehashing the same argument time and time again.

My other issue with this book was that Marek was a bit of a jerk at the start of the book. He brings Gracen and Lilly to his house and then promptly makes sure that he is never home to spend any time with them. I understand that he didn't know how to deal with the situation but how on earth can you get to know a child you are never home to be around. It just didn't make sense to me. Thank goodness Reed was there to put him in his place.

Marek and Gracen did have some great chemistry together and I really did like their interactions when they were not arguing with each other. These two have been through a lot and they really had to take some time to be able to be together while staying positive. I would say that the last third of the book or so was when things started to work for me a bit better. I liked the way they eventually were able to appreciate each other again.

I think that other readers might like this one a bit more than I did. This story did have some great points with a cute kid. a few rather romantic moments, and some pretty hot interludes. I can't wait to read more from Sawyer Bennett very soon.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley. 

Initial Thoughts
This wasn't my favorite book in the series but I did enjoy it. Maybe 3.5 stars? I might round up once I have some time to think about it a bit. I knew going into this book that there would be a secret baby. That is not my favorite trope but I liked the way that things were set up in the previous book so I decided to give it a try. Marek and Gracen have more than a few issues with each other but they do seem good together and their chemistry is off the charts. Lilly was adorable.

Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Aftermath - Kelley Armstrong

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

This book was truly great. I have to admit that when I first saw that this book would involve a school shooting I was really nervous about reading it. Did I really want to read a book about such a terrible event especially in the current climate? I really wasn't sure but I decided to add this book to my reading schedule because I wanted to see what Kelley Armstrong could do with such a terrible event. I haven't read too many books written by Kelley Armstrong but I have really enjoyed the ones that I have read so I trusted that she would deliver a story worth reading. This book ended up being one of those books that are almost impossible to put down. I am so glad that I decided to give this one a try.

As previously mentioned, this book does involve a school shooting so I was really afraid that it would be one of those books that would break my heart to pieces. In some ways, I guess it did because I hated everything they had gone through but it wasn't the traumatic reading experience that I had feared it would be. The focus of this book is Skye, the sister of one of the teens responsible for the school shooting that tore her hometown apart just a few years earlier. Skye is forced to move back home with her Aunt and go back to the school with the same kids who knew her brother and what he did.

Jesse was Skye's best friend and was possibly becoming more when everything happened. His brother was one of the victims and his life is completely different than it was before the shooting took place. Jesse not only lost his brother but also his best friend when Skye's family quickly left town. Jesse isn't really sure what to think about Skye's return to their hometown.

This book was a whole lot about the characters. Spending time with both Skye and Jesse as they work through their thoughts and feelings about everything going on was very eye opening. This book was also a really well done thriller. I think I might have actually missed the fact that there was some new issues when I first read the book's summary but I was quickly caught up in the events surrounding Skye and Jesse. I had a few suspects but I was never quite sure who was responsible for all of the things going on and I found myself completely glued to the pages. I really liked how Skye and Jesse were able to reconnect as they worked to figure things out.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others. I found this to be a thought provoking page turner filled with wonderful characters. I can't wait to read more from this talented author.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Children's - Crown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this rather exciting book. This story wasn't what I thought it would be. It was a lot better than I expected. I had no idea this would be a thriller but once things started happening, I didn't want to put the book down. I liked Syke and Jesse and was really hoping that things would work out for them. I was able to guess a few things that happened in the book but I was still completely entertained.

Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay

Death by the Dozen - Jenn McKinlay

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

I had a good time with this cozy. I listened to the first two books in the series last year and I was really excited to spend a little more time in the cupcake bakery. I was entertained from the very start and ended up listening to the book for hours at a time. I was completely entertained and I worked to solve the mystery along with Mel and Angie.

I love a good mystery but I also love a good cupcake. I am not really sure which one I like more but it might be the cupcakes. One thing that I loved about this book was the cooking contest. Mel and Angie participate in a contest where they had to use a mystery ingredient. I loved the description on what kind of desserts these two would make using some rather strange ingredients both in the contest and as practice. I loved that baking was really a part of this story.

The mystery was able to keep me guessing and I wasn't quite sure who the murderer was until the big reveal. Vic and Mel had a special relationship but not everyone was such a big fan of the man so there were quite a few suspects. When things started happening that brought the danger closer to Mel and Angie, everything became a little more serious. I thought that the mystery aspect of the story was very well done.

The characters in this book were great. It was really nice to be back with both Mel and Angie as well as their friends and family. This book does introduce a new character, Oz, who starts working at the bakery as an intern from the local high school. I wasn't sure how Oz would fit in at first but it quickly became apparent that he was meant to be a part of their group. I was also thrilled to have a kitten added to the mix of characters. The kitten, Jack, didn't have a whole lot of time in the story but I did enjoy the scenes he was in quite a lot.

Susan Boyce does a fantastic job with this series. I love all of the voices that she uses in the book. I thought that she was able to add just a bit more excitement to the story through her narration. I thought that she read the book at the perfect pace and her voice was very pleasant to listen to throughout the story. I had no problems listening to this book for hours at a time and look forward to more of her narration in the future.

I do recommend this series to others. This is the third book in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series but it could easily be read as a stand alone. Readers of the series will enjoy seeing things move forward in the lives of the characters. I can't wait to read more of this entertaining series!

Initial Thoughts
This was a nice little mystery. I wasn't quite sure who the murderer was until the big reveal even though I had a few guesses. It was nice to see all of the characters from the previous books and I liked the addition of the new bakery intern as well as the kitten. I actually really enjoyed it when they were working on interesting recipes for the competition. I wouldn't have a clue about making anything with the mystery ingredients that they had to use. The narrator did a fantastic job with the book. This was a pretty enjoyable read overall.

Book source: Library via Hoopla

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Killman Creek - Rachel Caine

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

This was really good. I didn't like it quite as much as the first book in the series but I still liked it better than most books I pick up. After the events of the previous books, I was really eager to read more of Gwen's story. Once I started listening to this audiobook, I found myself totally immersed in the story because if I wasn't listening to it, I was thinking about it. I really ended up enjoying this installment in the series.

The biggest difference between this book and the previous one is that this book is told from several points of view. The first book was told entirely from Gwen's perspective so I kind of expected this to do the same. I ended up really liking the fact that the author decided to mix things up a bit in this book by using not only Gwen's point of view but also including each of her children and Sam in the mix. This was really a different kind of story and I think that having the other perspectives made the doubts between the characters feel much more realistic.

I found much of this book frightening to think about. Of course, the thought of being married to someone that turns out to be a serial killer is scary but this book went beyond that. I haven't really considered how technology could be used against an individual and how helpless anyone is to stop it from happening. I know that a lot of bad things happen online so the descriptions of the dark web in this story were hard to think about.

I was happy to see all of the key players from the first book back for this installment. It was nice to get to spend a little bit of time in the heads of Lanny, Connor, and Sam. Lanny and Connor have been through a lot and have been changed by things outside of their control. I would expect them to have mixed feelings about a lot of things so it was nice to get to really see what they were thinking. There were times in this book that I didn't care for some of the things Sam was doing or thinking but I understood his doubt.

I liked that this book used four different narrators to tell the story. Each narrator handled all of the chapters told from their character's point of view and I think that they all did a great job representing their character. I thought that they each brought a lot of emotion to the story and each had a very pleasant speaking voice. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to more from any of the four narrators that worked on this book.

I would recommend this book to others. This is the second book in the Stillhouse Lake series which I think is best read in order. This book did come to a very satisfying conclusion and I am looking forward to reading more in the series as soon as it is available.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. There were a few things in the story that were rather scary to think about. I was a little surprised to get different points of view in this book since the first book was told entirely from Gwen's perspective. I do wonder if there will be more books in the series since the end of this book felt rather final. I kind of think that this family needs to live a peaceful life after all that has happened to them.

Book source: Audible purchase

Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell

Nothing Left To Burn - Heather Ezell

I thought that this book was okay.  It was one of those stories that I liked but didn't love and will ultimately find rather forgettable.  I am really not sure what caused me to add this one to my reading list since the cover does nothing for me and the synopsis is only mildly appealing.  I did find this book to be a fairly quick read and I was entertained but it was never a book that was hard to set aside.

This book jumped around in time quite a bit.  About half of the book occurs on the day the fire comes so close to Audrey's home that she is evacuated.  The rest of the book is set prior to that day.  The present day events are told in a chronological manner but the flashes to the past do jump around just a bit with some happening closer to the fire and others at different times in Audrey's relationship with Brooks. 

I never really connected with any of the characters.  Audrey often did things that didn't make sense to me.  I kind of wanted to sit her down and give her a good mom talk since she seemed to be on a rather destructive path.  Brooks was a character that I never trusted and his relationship with Audrey was rather unhealthy. 

I did like the fact that the story was centered around a fire.  I thought that it was a really original setting and some of the descriptions of the fire were truly frightening.  I did find some parts of the story to be rather predictable but I wanted to keep reading to see if things would actually work out the way I thought they would.  I do have to say that I was really disappointed by the way the book ended.  I really felt like the book just kind of stopped instead offering some kind of resolution. 

I do think that a lot of readers will like this one a lot more than I did.  This was as story that kept me turning pages.  I would not hesitate to read future books by this debut author.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Penguin Publishing Group - Razorbill via First to Read.

Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Hexed - Kevin Hearne

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

I liked this one but not as much as the first book in the series. This one really falls somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me but I have decided to go ahead and round up. I was really excited to get back to the series after enjoying the first book in the series. This is definitely a series that needs to be read in order since this book picks up shortly after the events of the previous installment. This ended up being another enjoyable listen.

One of the things that I loved the most about the first book was the characters. I was really happy to see all of the key players back for this installment in the series. There were a few new characters that were rather impressive as well. I really like Atticus. He is incredibly patient and able to determine the best course of action in most situations. I love that he has adapted to the present time better than most of the other that have lived a very long time. Oberon is such a wonderful character and anytime he was a part of a scene I usually had a big grin on my face.

This book has all of the excitement that I had hoped to see. Atticus has to team with the local witch coven when bad things start happening. Atticus has several problems that he is juggling during the story and somehow he makes it all seem easy. This book balanced the action very nicely against some of the lighter moments in the book.

Luke Daniels continues to do a fantastic job with the narration of this series. He does such a great job with all of the character voices and adds a lot of emotion to story. His portrayal of Oberon is simply outstanding. I couldn't imagine an intelligent Wolfhound sounding any other way. I had not problem listening to this one for hours at a time.

I would recommend this series to others. It is a very unique series that contains the perfect combination of humor, action, and thought provoking mystery. I can't wait to read more of this wonderful series.

Initial Thoughts
Maybe 3.5 stars? I liked this one but not as much as the previous book in the series. Oberon is still my favorite character and I do wish he had been in the book just a bit more. This was highly entertaining with appearances from most of the characters that played a part in the first book. Luke Daniels continues to do a fantastic job with the narration of this series.

Book source: eStories purchase

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Hounded - Kevin Hearne

Buddy listen with Lexxie!

What a fantastic start to the series! I have been wanting to read this series for a long time and it turned out to be just as good as I had hoped it would be. The book's excitement started at the very beginning and never really let up. I wanted to listen to this one for hours at a time simply because I didn't want to step away from the story. I had such a good time listening to this book.

The characters in this book were great. Atticus is a Druid. He looks like he is 21 or so but he is actually over 2,000 years old. He has discovered quite a lot during his time and I had a fantastic time learning about some of his abilities. He is a very smart man that is able to reason things out very quickly and seems to always stay very calm in any circumstance. I thought that Atticus would be my favorite character in the book until Oberon made an appearance. Oberon is an Irish Wolfhound that can communicate with Atticus. I fell head over heels in love with Oberon. I didn't expect to laugh over this book but Oberon had me laughing out loud several times during the story.

The book had a lot of action and a rather complex mystery at its core. There are several characters that seem to be out to get Atticus in one way or another. It seemed like he had a whole lot of tricky situations to juggle at the same time and as the book progressed things only became more intense. This book really had a little bit of everything. There are fight scenes and enough strange characters to keep things very interesting.

Luke Daniels did such a great job with this book. I am so glad that I decided to go the audiobook route with this series. He really was able to make scenes a bit more exciting through his narration. He does a great job with all of the character voices but I really loved how he represented Oberon. I really feel like Mr. Daniels brought this story to life.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that both the story and narration were very well done. I can't wait to listen to more of this series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
This was fun! I thought it was a really great start to the series and I loved learning about all the things that Atticus can do. Oberon was the best! Lots of excitement and quite a few laughs made this one a great listen. Luke Daniels does a fantastic job with the narration. I can't wait to listen to more of this series very soon.

Book source: Audible purchase

The Good Luck Sister by Jill Shalvis

The Good Luck Sister - Jill Shalvis

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

I had a really nice time with this novella. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Jill Shalvis and this story had everything I was looking for when I pick up a book with her name on the cover. I loved the first book in this series, Lost and Found Sisters, so I was very eager to return to Wildstone for another story. Once I started reading this story, I simply could not put it down and ended up finishing it with a big smile on my face.

This story features Tilly and Dylan, both of whom played a part in the first book in the series. If you haven't read the first book, there is no need to worry because this story can easily be read as a stand alone. This story is set in the future and Tilly and Dylan are both all grown up now. They were both teenagers in the first installment so it was great to see them in adulthood. The story does include flashes from their past which was a really nice reminder for me and readers new to the series will quickly get the background information that they need to enjoy this installment.

The characters were great in this story. I loved Tilly and Dylan in the first book and I quickly discovered that I liked the adults they have become. There is a cute puppy in the story that melted my heart from the very beginning of the story. I did think that Quinn seemed a bit over the top in this one but it was all done in fun. I love that humor was flawlessly worked into the story and the quotes at the start of each chapter always brought a smile to my face.

I liked Tilly and Dylan together and am really happy that they were able to get their second chance. Although things have not worked out exactly as they had hoped, they have both made the most of the situation they have found themselves in. Their relationship did move pretty fast in this book but that tends to be the case in most novellas. They had fantastic chemistry with each other and their feelings for each other felt very genuine.

I would recommend this novella to others. This was a wonderful story filled with great characters, a few laughs, and a touching romance. I can't wait to read more of this great series very soon.

I received a digital review copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
This was a nice novella. I liked that parts of their past were shown during every chapter. I read the previous book so the flashes back to the past was a really nice reminder. Readers who are new to the series will not have to worry about missing anything either since we get a lot of their past in this story. Things moved pretty fast in this story as they tend to do with shorter pieces but it seemed to work. I did think that Quinn was a little too much at times in this story. I had a nice time with this one in the end.

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

My Oxford Year - Julia Whelan

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

Honestly, this was fantastic! I just really loved everything about this delightful story. I know Julia Whelan from her work as a narrator so I was really curious about this book as soon as I saw it. I decided to give it a try simply because of my curiosity and didn't really know much about the book beyond my guess that it would be about someone spending a year at Oxford (nothing gets past me). This book is really so much more than that and I must say that I had such a good time reading this book.

Ella is at the center of this story. Ella is from Ohio and has just made it to England to study at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. To make things even better, she gets a call offering her a position to work on a presidential campaign just as she makes it to England. Things are looking up for Ella. She soon realizes that things are a little different at Oxford than she expects but she is making friends. One of her classes is being taught by the same man she had a run-in with at the fish shop on her first day in town. I do think that this a book that will really be best to go in as blindly as possible so I am going to be careful not to include any spoilers in this reviews.

I really liked Ella. She is so driven to do well with everything she attempts but it quickly becomes obvious that she will have to make a few adjustments to succeed at Oxford. She was just such a strong character and I found her very easy to relate to. I really liked her more and more as the book progressed and thought that she grew dramatically as a character. Jamie was also great. He was more of a mystery to me at the start of the book but as I continued reading, I really fell in love with him. He was such a great guy and I thought he compliments Ella very well. 

This story made me think, it made me feel, and it even made me laugh. This book was such a joy to read. When I started reading, I thought that this was going to be one kind of story and then things changed and by the end of the book I was reading something totally different. I loved the fact that this book went in such an unexpected direction kind of like life tends to do. 

I would highly recommend this book to others. Julia Whelan has proven that she is not only great narrator but that she is also a wonderful writer. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this story and can't wait to read more of her work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this this. Not really sure on the final rating right now. It is either 4 or 5 stars from me but I will need to think about it a bit so I will go with 4 for now. I really didn't know a lot about this book before reading it besides the fact that it would be about someone spending a year at Oxford (nothing gets past me). It was so much more than that. It was a delight in the end. I have loved Julia Whelan's narration in the past and it looks like I enjoy her writing just as much.

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

Only Human - Sylvain Neuvel

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

This was so good! The whole trilogy is really amazing. I actually remember reading the first book in the trilogy, Sleeping Giants, and thinking that it was just okay. Everything changed when I decided to try the audiobook for the story. I was really able to appreciate the story much more with the help of the narrators. When I picked up the second book, Waking Gods, I was worried that I wouldn't be as impressed by the book in print after my experience with this previous book but I liked that book right from the start. The same can be said for this book. I thought that Waking Gods ended with just a bit of a cliffhanger and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen to these characters. This was one of my most anticipated reads for the year and I was not disappointed.

This review will contain spoilers for the previous two books in the trilogy.

I went into this book expecting it to pick up right where the last book ended and it did to a point. The first part of the book goes back and forth between a time 9 years after the previous book and various points during those 9 years. I had so many questions about what had happened to everyone during those 9 years and I am glad that we got to see some of the more important events. We do learn more from the characters as they are being interviewed about their lives during those lost years as well.

So Vincent, Eva, and Rose have spent a significant amount of time living on an alien planet. You would think that they would have changed a lot during those years. They did experience some changes but the most dramatic changes happened here on Earth. Our planet has not done well during those years. Things are bad. Countries are power hungry and using the robots to intimidate other nations while their people are being treated poorly.

I loved the characters in this book. I really feel like I have got the chance to really know Rose and Vincent during the course of the trilogy. Eva is much older and I liked her character more in this book. Many of the key players from previous books show up in this installment as well. I was always thrilled to get to see these familiar characters play a part in the story even when they were a character that I loved to hate. There were a couple of new characters that seemed to fit into the story quite flawlessly as well.

This story was just as exciting as I had anticipated. How could a book about giant alien robots be anything but exciting? Anyway, this book had all of the action scenes that I had hoped to see. There were quite a few surprises along the way and I found myself turning pages as fast as I could just to see what would happen next. I was somewhat surprised by how things worked out in this one and it really was a good surprise. I was very satisfied by how everything ended.

I would highly recommend this series to others. This is an exciting and highly imaginative trilogy that has been a whole lot of fun. I do plan to purchase a copy of the audiobook of this one for a re-read in the near future. I can't wait to see what Sylvain Neuvel comes up with next!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this! This falls somewhere between 4 and 5 stars for me. Right now I am going with 4 but I may bump it to 5 after I have some time to really think about everything. This bulk of this book takes place 9 years after the events of the last book with some pieces of information from that time filled in along the way. Things are not looking good for anyone in this book but I was really quite satisfied by how everything was resolved. This was definitely a page turner for me and I can't wait to listen to the audio of the story once I get the chance to add it to my collection.

What You Do to Me by Barbara Longley

What You Do to Me - Barbara Longley

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

I liked this book and had a lot of fun with it. I really didn't know a whole lot about the book but when I saw that it was offered through Prime Reading at Amazon, I decided to give it a try. It was a really quick listen for me and I was able to get through the whole book in just a couple of days. It wasn't perfect but it had some really great moments that made the overall experience quite enjoyable.

One thing that I had to get past with this book was the initial set up. Sam becomes well known as the handyman offering a few more personal services. I was quite amused by how things started until Haley's mother got involved. Haley's mother sends Sam to work on Haley's house and requests his personal touch. What mother does that? Every mother I know would do everything in their power to prevent such a thing from happening. It just felt odd to me but I went with it and just had fun watch Sam and Haley.

I really liked Sam and Haley together. They both had some pretty big issues to work through and I thought that they were really good for each other. I love how Haley confides in Sam and takes his advice. Sam really had a hard time opening up to other but he was very drawn to Haley. I wish that Sam could have worked through some of his issues a little quicker and saved both of them some heartache but everything worked out in the end. 

I think that this is the second time that I have listened to Teri Clark Linden and I thought she did a good job with the book. Her voice was very pleasant to listen to for hours at a time and she was able to bring a lot of emotion to the story. I thought that the character voices that she used were all very well done. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to more of her work in the future.

I would recommend this book to others. It was a fun romance that had the happily ever after that I wanted to see. This was the first book by Barbara Longley that I have had the chance to read but I look forward to more in the future.

Initial Thoughts
So the initial set up for the story is a little odd but kind of funny. The book kind of grew on me as I listened to it. Sam and Haley were adorable together. I didn't completely get Sam's reasoning when it came to avoiding relationships but everything worked out in the end. This is only the second time that I have listened to Teri Clark Linden's narration and it did take me a while to get used to her with this book. I would probably rate this one 3.5 stars but am rounding up for now.

Source: borrowed from Amazon Prime Reading

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Envy of Angels - Matt Wallace
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was just okay for me. I have heard great things about this series so this book has been on my to be read list for some time. I bought a copy of the book but had not had the opportunity to sit down and read it just yet so when I saw that the audiobook was available through my library, I decided to go that route. It is a rather short piece so I was able to finish it in just a couple of days. I didn't fall in love with this book but did enjoy some aspects of the story.

This book was weird. I like weird books so that shouldn't have been any kind of problem but this book is really weird. Not normal weird but undead clowns worshipping a giant chicken kind of weird. This book had a certain crazy that went along with the weird and I think it was just a bit much for me at times. It was definitely unique and unlike anything else that I have ever read. 

Darren and Lena get the chance to work for a catering company called Sin du Jour. Sin du Jour is not your normal group of caterers. They have a very original menu and clientele that sometimes come to them with special requests. Serving the wrong kind of meal could have devastating consequences for the employees of Sin du Jour. I thought that the way that the staff of Sin du Jour interacted with each other felt rather authentic.

The narrator was just okay for me as well. I believe that this is the first time that I have had the chance to listen to Corey Gagne's narration. I have to admit that I didn't care for some of the voices that he used especially for the female characters. It was difficult to determine who was talking at times. I thought that he did have a pleasant voice that brought excitement to some of the scenes but I was never quite able to completely move past my dislike for some of the voices used. I would probably be willing to give this narrator another try in the future with a different kind of story.

I think that some readers may enjoy this story a bit more than I did. It was a really interesting concept with some really exciting scenes. The book did cause me to swear off all chicken nuggets at least for a little while. I am probably not going to continue with this series but I am glad that I decided to give this story a listen.

Initial Thoughts
This was weird. Not normal weird but undead clowns worshiping a giant chicken kind of weird. It was definitely unlike anything else that I have read before. The narrator was okay. I didn't care for some of the voices that he used especially for the female characters. 

Book source: Library via Hoopla

 

Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

Her Darkest Nightmare (Dr. Evelyn Talbot Novels) - Brenda Novak

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

I thought that this was pretty good. It wasn't great but it was good. I have been excited about this book since I read the prequel novella Hanover House a couple of years ago. This is the first full length book in the Evelyn Talbot series but I do recommend reading the prequel novella first if at all possible since it really sets up the series well. I had a pretty good time with this book and was eager to learn how everything would work out in the end.

Evelyn Talbot has a lot of experience with psychopaths. As a teenager, her boyfriend killed her friends and almost killed her as well after torturing her for several days. As an adult, she has dedicated her life to learning more about psychopaths. She was the driving force behind opening Hanover House, a facility that houses and studies these individuals.

Sergeant Amarok is the local law enforcement. He is an Alaskan State Trooper and the only real authority in the town. He has to deal with dangerous weather condition and whatever other issues come up in the area. When it appears that a murder has occurred, he is the one tasked with figuring everything out.

This book had a lot of really great elements. It was an exciting story. There was more than a few scenes that really had me worried that things might go poorly for the characters. The mystery was rather complex and kept me guessing until the very end of the book. I liked the romance between Evelyn and Amarok. They really seemed perfect together and I loved how their personalities complimented each other.

There were a few things about the story that seemed a bit off. I did like the romance between Evelyn and Amarok but I didn't care for the way that it seemed to take over the rest of the story at times. The book spends a lot of time in Evelyn's head and she spent so much time thinking about Amarok. I kind of thought she should have been thinking about the murderer running around the town but that is just me. I also thought is was unrealistic that Amarok would have been left to deal with everything on his own. I would think that a murderer on the loose would have been enough to get a few reinforcements sent to his little town.

Therese Plummer did a great job with this book. I found the book to be a pretty quick listen that I really enjoyed. Overall, I think that the narrator did a nice job with the character voices although I did find a couple of the voices to be rather similar at first. I thought she did a great job with adding excitement to the book at just the right moments. I would definitely listen to this talented narrator again in the future.

I do recommend this book to others. This wasn't a perfect book but I had a lot of fun with it. I am really looking forward to finding out what else might threaten Evelyn and Hanover House very soon.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. Not great, but good. Right now I am giving it 3 stars but I may bump it to 4 after I give myself some time to think about it. The book focused on the romantic relationship of Evelyn just as much as the murders and corruption happening all around her. Some parts of the book were unbelievable although entertaining. I thought that the narrator did a good job with the story.

Book source: Audible purchase

All For You by Jessica Scott

All For You - Jessica Scott

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

This really was a fantastic read. I have had this book for years but for some reason never picked it up until now. Let me tell you that this was a big mistake. Huge mistake. This book was really good and made me think. It made me feel which is always a good thing. I think that I had expected this book to be a more typical military romance before reading it but I was completely wrong. I am really glad that I took the time to read this powerful story.

This book deals with military suicide and PTSD which are some pretty tough topics. Most of the soldiers in this story are affected by their time in combat in one way or another. Reza is a Sergeant First Class and tries to watch out for his men while dealing with his own issues. He often has to spend a lot of valuable time trying to find out what is going on with his me. Time that could be spent in training before their next deployment. 

Emily, a Psychiatrist, is new to the Army and really wants to help the soldiers that come to her for help. Her family is not in favor of her decision to enlist in the army but she is determined to make a difference. She quickly learns that there are a lot of things that she does not understand in regards to what the soldiers have been through so she works to learn what she can. 

I really liked Reza and Emily together. They had such great chemistry even though they were not at all alike. They both seemed to be able to support each other in exactly the way that was most needed. I really appreciated the fact that the romance didn't overpower the other issues that the book was dealing with. If anything, I would say that the romance aspect of the book was secondary to turmoil with Reza and his soldiers. 

I really liked how this book was able to show such tough topics in a way that felt realistic. Reza's battle with alcohol was painful to watch. There were some pretty graphic scenes that really got to me. I understood how Reza and Emily were taking thing hard because I was right there with them. I also really appreciated the fact that the book ended on a very hopeful note because I really wanted to see both of these characters get their happy ending.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought it was a really well done story that was quite eye opening. This book is the forth book in the Coming Home series but I read it as a stand alone without any trouble. I would definitely read more from this talented author in the future.

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

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this book. The book had a very strong focus on suicide and PTSD for soliders that have been to war. I think that the romance was good but it wan't really the main focus of the story. I liked Reza a lot and thought he showed a lot of growth during the course of the story. Emily was a good match for him and I really liked how seriously she took her job. I am really sorry that I let this book sit on the review pile for over 4 years since I really ended up enjoying it.

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Bittersweet (True North Book 1) - Sarina Bowen
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had such a good time listening to Griff and Audrey's story! I recently discover Sarina Bowen's work when I listened to and fell in love with Bountiful. As soon as I finished that book, I knew that I was going to have to go back and listen to the rest of the series. As soon as I realized that this book was about Griff and Audrey, I almost jumped for joy since they were key characters in Bountiful. I went into this book with pretty high expectations and they were met. This really was a fantastic romance.

I loved Griff and Audrey. Griff was a bit of a grump which I found completely adorable. I guess he had a few things to be grumpy about since he gave up his chance at football to come back home and run the family farm after his father's death. Farming is hard work and a lot to manage. He has taken on the responsibility of making sure that all of his family's needs are met. Audrey is passionate about cooking. She is a chef and has excellent skills. Unfortunately, her employer doesn't let her use those skills. Her current assignment is to visit farms in Vermont to get produce for the restaurants. She is determined to do what it takes to prove herself so that she can get her chance at running a kitchen.

Griff and Audrey knew each other in college. It is obvious from their first meeting that they haven't forgotten each other even though their relationship was extremely brief. These two were perfect together from the very start of the book. I loved the way that Audrey just kind of fit into Griff's world even when he didn't think she would. Audrey didn't seem to mind Griff's grouch like behavior and seemed to really understand him from the start. They had fantastic chemistry and seemed so much better together than they were apart. 

This was the first time that I have listened to both Saskia Maarleveld and Tad Branson and I thought that they did a fantastic job with this audiobook. I do really enjoy romance novels that utilize dual narrators and thought their narration styles really worked well together. They were really both able to capture their character's personality and make them come alive. I think that they were able to bring a lot of emotion into the story as well. I would definitely listen to either of these narrators again in the future.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This was a really well done story filled with characters that I grew to love over the course of the story. I had a really great time listening to Griff and Audrey find their happily ever after. I can't wait to experience more of this wonderful series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book! Griffin and Audrey were both great characters and I loved seeing them together. Griffin was such an adorable grouch and everyone seemed to love Audrey. The narrators did a fantastic job with the story. I can't wait to listen to more of this fantastic series!

Book source: Library via Hoopla