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The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

The Friend Zone: the most hilarious and heartbreaking romantic comedy of 2019 - Abby Jimenez

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

I am so glad that I decided to read this book because I ended up loving it! I ended up reading the entire book in a single day and found that it was the perfect kind of story to curl up with for a few hours. I started reading hoping to lose myself in a romance for a few hours and I did but I feel like I also got a whole lot more than that. I really enjoyed every moment that I spend with this amazing story.

The characters in this story are simply fantastic. Kristen was awesome. I loved that she tended to say what she wanted and didn't really worry too much about what others thought of her. She was funny, smart, and incredibly competent. Josh was equally awesome. He wasn't intimidated by Kristen at all and seemed to take everything in stride. He really seemed to see Kristen even when she was trying to make herself less appealing. 

I love the romance. Kristen and Josh belonged together. I mean this pair just had to happen. They were so comfortable together and their personalities meshed really well. There was also a whole lot of chemistry to go around. There were a few obstacles that they needed to work through but I knew that they would both be up to the challenge.

I didn't expect this book to deal with so many difficult issues outside of the romance. This was a really emotional read and there were parts of this book that just made my heart hurt. The author did a fantastic job of capturing the emotions of this group of characters as they went through a tragedy. I also really loved the fact that this deal with painful periods and infertility. I have read a few books where periods are mentioned but this book didn't shy away from the reality that Kristen had to deal with. I felt her pain over her current situation and the effect it could have on her future.

I would highly recommend this book to others. This book really had it all. It was a fun romance filled with wonderful characters that also dealt with some complicated issues. I am really quite amazed that this is a debut novel and I definitely plan to read more of Abby Jimenez's work in the future. 

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

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book! I read the entire book cover to cover in a single day because I didn't want to put it down. Kristen and Josh were great. I loved that the story hit on topics you don't usually see in romance like periods. This one will stick with me for a while.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion - Blake Crouch

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

Wow! This was such a unique concept that was executed in a completely entertaining manner. I knew that I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw that it was being published. I was very impressed with Blake Crouch's Dark Matter and I wanted to see if this new book would be as entertaining. Once I really started reading this book, I didn't want to stop. I really had a great time with this one.

Helena is a scientist. She has made a chair that she hopes will preserve memories for individuals with Alzheimer's or other ailments that produce problems with memory. Her chair ends up doing something a bit more. This chair has the ability to propel individuals back into their memories. Unfortunately, everyone connected to the events that are changed is left with memories of both timelines. Barry is a New York City police officer. He has been dealing with a lot of cases of False Memory Syndrome while on the job and he decides to look into the phenomena a bit further. He has no idea what is really going on but what he learns shocks him. 

I found the entire premise of this book to be very well done. It was somewhat complicated and I found myself really trying to figure out how things would work out. I think that the characters' desperation to change events and correct mistakes was perfectly illustrated and I couldn't help but cheer them on. I think that this story really proved how big of an impact even a small change in our lives can make and how important our memories are. 

I would highly recommend this book to others. This was a very thought-provoking journey filled with fantastic characters and a lot of emotion. I cannot wait to read more from this wonderful author!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Crown Publishing via NetGalley. 

Initial Thoughts
Wow! This was such a unique concept and executed in a completely entertaining manner. The idea of time and memory and having the power to change the past. This was exciting and made me think. I am not totally in love with how it ended but I understood why that was how it was written.

The Beyond by Chloe Neill

The Beyond - Chloe Neill

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

had such a great time with this book! I was really excited to get my hands on an early copy of this newest book in the Devil's Isle series. This is a series that really should be read in order since each book builds on previous installments. It has been just under two years since I read the previous book in this series and I have to admit it took me a bit to catch up with everything going on in Claire's world but once my memories started coming back, I was completely hooked. 

Claire, Liam, and the rest of the gang are just trying to hold what they can together in their home of New Orleans. It was really nice to get the chance to catch up with characters that I have really grown to love over the course of the series. They have really grown individually and as a group and I love the way that they know that they can depend on each other. They are also just a lot of fun with some great banter and completely touching moments.

In this installment, the group is battling not only battling supernatural forces but there is also the small matter of a hurricane that threatens the city. Claire, along with a group of her friends, must go on a rather dangerous mission in order to get the tools needed to save the city and the people she cares about. It was really interesting to see the pieces come together as I worked my way through this story. I thought that there was a really nice balance of exciting action, romantic moments, and working on solutions. 

I would recommend this book to others. This was a book that I didn't want to put down once I got started. I feel like I have been through a lot with this wonderful group of characters and wanted nothing more than to see them successfully deal with the situation they were in. I did think that this book felt a little more final than previous books but I am hoping we will get more of this exciting series in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group.

Initial Thoughts
This was great! It took me just a bit to remember where things left off with the last book but once I did, I was completely hooked. Claire, Liam, and the rest of the group were great in this story and there was plenty of excitement to go around. This book really seemed to wrap everything up well and I do wonder if there are any future books planned in the series. This really was a highly entertaining read.

Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Five Midnights -  Ann Dávila Cardinal

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

I was pretty impressed with this novel! I thought that this book sounded interesting when I saw it on a blog a few months ago so I was really excited when I got my hands on an early copy. Once I started reading, I knew that I was in for a treat because I was hooked right away. I thought that this book was a really entertained read.

I am ashamed to say that I haven't read too many books set in Puerto Rico so I really liked the fact that this book not only was set there but was based on folklore from the island. I really felt like the setting played a big part in the story and was really well done. Puerto Rico really came alive in this book. Everything from the relationships between the characters, the crime, and general attitudes were vividly described.

This story is told from multiple points of view. Some points of view are used very rarely while others carry the bulk of the story. I thought that each point of view was distinctive and I really grew to like the main characters. Lupe was a really interesting character. I liked the fact that she had Puerto Rican roots but was really more of an outsider. It was nice seeing things from her perspective. Javier's character was equally important. He was really in the center of the story and I liked that he had worked so hard to make his life better. They worked really well together as a team.

I thought that the mystery in this story was really well done. I loved the fact that there was a bit of horror and some supernatural elements worked into the story. I wasn't exactly sure what was causing everything and enjoyed watching Lupe and Javier work to figure it out. There were some pretty exciting moments in the story and quite a few surprises. I found this to be quite the page-turner.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this book was really well written with a fantastic premise and wonderful characters. I will definitely be looking out for future books written by this talented author.

I received a review copy of this book from Tor Teen.

Initial Thoughts
I really liked this one! I was hooked by this story from the very start. I loved the horror and supernatural aspects of the story. The fact that this book includes cultural folklore and really does a great job with the Puerto Rican setting. I liked the characters and thought that the mystery was really well done. So glad I read this one!

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China - Matthew Reilly

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

I thought that this book was a lot of fun! This was actually my first experience with Matthew Reilly's work despite the fact that his books have been on my radar for quite some time. I have had a copy of this book for years but it somehow slipped through the cracks of my review schedule. I am glad that I finally got around to reading this one because it was incredibly entertaining.

I haven't read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton but I have seen the movie several times. I don't usually like to make a lot of comparisons but this book had a lot of similarities to that story. It was different enough that I didn't feel like it was the same story but they had the same feel. 

China has built a new zoo. It is a different kind of zoo that will end up changing the world. CJ, her brother, and a group of others are brought to the zoo to see just how different it really is. This zoo doesn't have your average zoo animals. This zoo is filled with all kinds of different dragons. Yes, dragons. During their visit to the zoo, things go very, very wrong. 

This was a pretty exciting book that was filled with action which made it really entertaining. There were some real surprises along the way and I enjoyed piecing together exactly what was going on. I liked CJ and liked how her skills as a veterinarian helped her to navigate the situation she found herself in. I also found that I had a lot of respect and couldn't blame them for their actions.

Rich Orlow did a great job with this story. This was a really exciting and often intense book which I think he was able to take up another notch. I thought he handled all of the characters voices very well. I thought he had a very nice reading voice which I found easy to listen to for hours at a time. I think that I enjoyed the story just a bit more largely because of his narration.

I would recommend this book to others. I found this to be a highly entertaining tale that read like an action movie. I think those action readers that don't mind some similarities to well-known stories will enjoy this one. I definitely plan to read more of Matthew Reilly's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
This was entertaining. I haven't read Jurassic Park but I have seen the movie a few times and this book reminded me of that quite a bit. There was a lot of action in this book, sometimes maybe a bit much. I thought that the narrator did a fantastic job with the story. I am glad that I finally gave this one a try.

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm by Kathryn Knight

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm - Kathryn Knight

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

I enjoyed this audiobook! I usually go into books as blindly as possible so I didn't know a whole lot about this one when I got started. I actually had missed the faces at the top of the book's cover so I didn't even guess that there would be some romance. It all worked out since I really enjoy romance and I loved the way that it was combined with the other elements in the books. I am really glad that I decided to give this one a try!

So this book did have a romantic element but it really was so much more than that. Mrs. Turner has been experiencing some strange things at her farm since her husband's sudden death a few months prior. She calls Callie to help figure out what is going on. Callie can talk to ghosts and really just wants to help if she can but she is not surprised when Luke, Mrs. Turner's grandson, doesn't trust her motives.

I really liked the characters in this story. Callie had a really interesting past and I really enjoyed learning how she acquired her gift. It was obvious right away that she really had good motives and just wanted to help. Luke was pretty open-minded once the story really got going. He cared about his family and their farm and wanted to make sure that everyone was safe. I liked watching Luke and Callie come together and thought that they had great chemistry.

I believe that this was the first time that I have had the chance to listen to the narration work of Kristen James. I thought that she did a great job with this story and really brought the story to life. There were some pretty intense scenes and I think that her delivery added to the impact of the story. I liked the voice that she used for the characters. She had a very pleasant voice that was easy to listen to for hours at a time.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was the perfect combination of romance and creepy ghost story. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up more from this talented author!

I received a review copy of this audiobook from Kathryn Knight as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. 

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this audiobook! This was more of a romance than anything but I liked the creepy ghost elements that were present. The narrator did a fantastic job with this as well.

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Little Darlings - Melanie Golding

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

I really enjoyed this book! I knew that I wanted to read this book after seeing a couple of really favorable early reviews. Since I didn't get to it prior to the book's release, I decided to take a look at the audiobook and I was sold on it after listening to the sample. I was somewhat mesmerized by this story and found myself frequently wanting to read just a little bit more. I am really glad that I made the decision to read this book. 

I didn't really know what to expect from this book when I started reading it since I try to go into books as blindly as I can. I was drawn into the story right away. I think that one of the main strengths of this story is its descriptions. I felt like I was right there with Lauren when she had the twins and felt her frustration and exhaustion as she worked to care for them largely on her own. Her fear, her panic, and her desperation were all beautifully illustrated through the details of this tale.

This was really more of a mystery than anything but there is a bit of otherness to the story. There is definitely a fairy tale aspect to the story with changlings at its core. I really liked the fact that in addition to Lauren's point of view we also get to see things from Detective Harper's perspective. I couldn't help but wonder what was really going on and I wanted both of these women to succeed in their quest to figure things out and protect the babies.

I thought that Stephanie Racine did an amazing job with this book. This was an emotional story at times and I think that the narration was able to add a certain element to a number of passages. She had a very pleasant voice with a nice accent that was easy to listen to for hours at a time. There were quotes at the beginning of some chapters that were done by a different narrator, the author I believe. I would have preferred to see a single narrator for this story. I don't think that there was really a point to having someone else read the quotes at the beginning of the chapters and I wasn't a fan of the delivery. Even the audio quality seemed off during those sections. Thankfully, the quotes are very infrequent and had no real impact on the story or my enjoyment of it.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought this was a really well-done story with just enough of a creepy factor to keep me hooked from beginning to end. I cannot wait to read more of Melanie Golding's work!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this one. It was mystery more than anything but I liked the fact that there was a bit of otherness to the story as well. I liked Lauren a lot and really felt for her over the course of the story. I listened to this book and thought that the narrator did a fabulous job with the story which added to my enjoyment.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Bride Test - Helen Hoang

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

I really liked this romance. It is really hard to avoid comparing this book to the author's debut novel, The Kiss Quotient. We do see some familiar characters in this book and I am actually glad that there is a connection. Don't let that fool you though. This is a very different story and I thought it was pretty original. I have a great time with this one.

I liked the set up for this story. I thought that it was fun that the whole story begins with Khai's matchmaking mother. It wasn't quite an arranged marriage story since both characters were able to choose but I thought it was a fun premise for a contemporary story. Both Khai and Esme had personalities that made the entire set up of the story believable and I have to say that I can understand why Khai's mom decided to take matters into her own hands.

I really liked both of the characters a lot but I would have to say that Khai was my favorite. Khai is autistic and doesn't always see everything the same way that others do. He knows this and has decided that he is broken and unable to feel. He is very high functioning and is very successful in his career. His personal life isn't doing as well before he meets Esme. I think that Khai learned a lot about himself over the course of this story and it was great to see him learn how to be a part of a relationship.

Esme really wants to change her life for herself and her daughter. She decides to take Khai's mother up on her offer to spend the summer with Khai in California in a quest to do just that. She is not afraid of hard work and really does try to make Khai happy. Unfortunately, she didn't always understand what Khai needed. I actually liked Esme more as the story progressed and she started focusing more on herself. It was at that point that I felt like I really got to know her and her passions.

I think that the romance between these two worked well on a lot of different levels. Neither one of them felt like they belonged so they had something in common. Khai explained what he needed and Esme worked really hard to deliver. They had a lot of chemistry and I really felt that they both seemed to be better when they were together.

I thought that Emily Woo Zeller did an amazing job with this story. I thought that she did a great job with both points of view in the story. Character voices were also really well done and I thought that she brought a lot of emotion into the story. I am really glad that I made the decision to listen to this book.

I would recommend this book to others. This was a wonderful romance with incredibly strong and unique characters. It really was a joy to watch this happily ever after come together. I can't wait to read more from Helen Hoang!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via Edelweiss and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne

Oberon's Meaty Mysteries: The Squirrel on the Train - Kevin Hearne, Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

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

I am in love with Oberon! It is no secret that I am a dog person. I have three dogs and would probably have more if the county I live in didn't set limits. So I am always drawn to stories involving dogs but Oberon is a special kind of dog and I just love these short pieces that are told completely from his point of view. I think I started smiling as soon as I hit play on this audiobook and didn't quit smiling until it was over because it was just that much fun.

This story starts with Oberon, Orlaith, Starbuck, and Atticus taking a ride on a train. There is a squirrel on the train and the dogs are not happy about it. Once they reach their destination, they run into some bigger problems. There is a dead man that looks just like Atticus. This had me wondering who the real target was and I completely understood why Atticus and Oberon needed to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I thought that the mystery was really well done. It was fairly complex considering this is a pretty short piece. I found myself guessing until the very end and was surprised by a few things that developed along the way. Atticus and the dogs make a wonderful team and I love how much help the dogs were in finding the clues.

Luke Daniels does a fantastic job with this series. I couldn't imagine experiencing this story in any format other than audio. I really love the way he is able to bring Oberon to life and I feel that he is able to capture his canine way of looking at life. He delivers all of the more humorous parts of the story wonderfully as well as the more serious scenes. 

I would recommend this series to others. I do think that readers of the Iron Druid Chronicles will appreciate this tale from Oberons point of view. I think it could also probably work as a stand-alone. I kind of jumped ahead a bit by reading this one now but had no issues keeping up with the story. I can't wait to read more of this wonderful series!

Initial Thoughts
This was fun! I love Oberon so getting an entire story from his point of view is just a delight. I was really intrigued by the mystery in this one and thought it was really well done. Plus now I know that some squirrels really are evil. Luke Daniels does a fantastic job with the narration of this series as always. I couldn't imagine experiencing this story in any other way than audio.

Book Source: Audible Purchase

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Him - Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen

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

Yeah, this was good. I am so glad that I finally got around to reading it. I have seen so many glowing reviews for this series for the past couple of years but for one reason or another, I never made it a priority. Once I got started with this one, I didn't want to stop listening and fell in love with both Jamie and Wes before I even knew what was happening. I really enjoyed my time with this audiobook.

What is it that just seems to make romance and hockey go together? Jamie and Wes are college level hockey players at the start of this story but they have known each other for a long time from their years at hockey camp. I really liked the fact that they had a history together and it was fun to piece together what exactly happened during their teen years. These two were best friends until they weren't but it was obvious how much they missed each other.

Jamie and Wes were such great characters. I really liked both of them immensely from the start of the story and my love with them grew as the story progressed. They were both really good people and I loved watching them deal with everyone in their lives. They were very careful with each other especially at the start because neither one wanted to mess up their relationship again. These two were just so much better together and watching them figure things out was a joy.

Teddy Hamilton and Jacob Morgan did a fabulous job with this story. The story is told from alternating points of view and each of the narrators read their character's chapters. I just thought that they were able to bring these two to life. I felt so many emotions in their reading and wanted to listen for hours at a time. I think that these narrators were able to take a great story to the next level and I think my decision to listen to this story was the right one.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I don't read a lot of MM romance but I found a lot of magic in Jamie and Wes's love story. It was just wonderful to watch this pair fall for each other and I cannot wait to listen to the rest of their story!

Initial Thoughts
This was great! I am not sure if I will end up going with 4 or 5 stars right now. I don't read a lot of M/M but I am glad that I decided to give this one a try. Wes and Jamie were great and it was a lot of fun to see how things developed. The narration was fantastic and I thought that both narrators really brought the story to life. This was really equal parts hot and romantic.

Book Source: Audible purchase

Chosen by Benedict Jacka

Chosen - Benedict Jacka

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

This was another great installment in the Alex Verus Series. This is a series that really does need to be read in order since each book builds on the previous installments. I think that I am liking each book in the series a little more as I work my way through the series and I get to know Alex and the gang better. I worked my way through this book rather quickly because I was eager to see how everything would work out. It really was a very enjoyable listen.

At the start of this story, Alex is learning to adjust to life with his two new roommates. He is spending a lot of time with the apprentices and running his shop. Alex's past comes into play and has a big impact on his present in this installment. Alex was an apprentice under a dark mage when he was younger. This is a group of adepts that wish to get revenge for Alex's actions while working with the dark mage.

I really liked getting the chance to learn some of Alex's history. I had an idea that life with Richard was less than pleasant but it was very eye-opening to learn how things really were. We actually learn some rather interesting things about several characters that currently play a role in Alex's life. I thought that seeing Alex's past and how he dealt with those seeking revenge really showed what kind of man he has become. Alex wants to do what is right and does not seek to harm anyone but he will do what needs to be done when pushed into it. I really like that Alex is flawed and will cross lines when necessary but tries to be a good guy as much as he can.

Gildart Jackson does a fabulous job with this book. He has become the voice of Alex for me and I am so glad that I decided to work my way through this series in audio. This narrator does a great job with all of the character voices and brings a lot of emotion into the story. He has a very pleasant voice that is easy to listen to for hours at a time.

I would recommend this series to others. This book tells a very exciting story and is filled with an entire cast of fantastic characters. I can't wait to start working on the next book in this wonderful series!

Initial Thoughts
This was another great installment in the series. This book gets into Alex's past quite a bit and I enjoyed getting the chance to see what his life was like when he was younger. Someone is out to take their revenge against Alex for something that happened years ago. Gildart Jackson did a fantastic job with the narration once again.

Book Source: Audible purchase

Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Top Secret - Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen

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

This was simply a wonderful romance! I pretty new to Sarina Bowen's writing and very new to Elle Kennedy's but they have both totally won me over. I was really excited to start reading this book and actually had to read just a bit as soon as it became available. I rarely start reading books right away so that really says a lot about my eagerness to read this book. This book was everything that I had hoped it would be and I had a fantastic time reading it.

I don't read a lot of MM romance and I am starting to wonder why that is the case because this book worked so well for me. I thought that the set up for this story was very well done. Keaton was trying to give his girlfriend exactly what she wanted for her birthday and he ended up with so much more. I had a pretty good idea where things would end up going but I had no idea how anything would happen.

I liked Keaton and Luke from the start of this book. I think that the fact that they have no idea who it is that they are talking to worked very well. The fact that they lived across the hall from each other was perfect. It was great being in Keaton's head while he tried to figure out what it is that he really wanted. Luke was pretty confident in some areas of his life but he did not want to depend on anyone for anything.

Luke and Keaton really made a wonderful couple. The chemistry that the shared was off the charts whether they were texting or face to face. I loved the way they both seemed to come alive when they were together. I felt like their true selves really came out during the scenes where they were together and let the rest of the world just go away. These two were seriously hot together.

I would recommend this book to others. This was a book that hooked me at the very beginning and held me until the very end. I loved going on this journey with Keaton and Luke and can't wait to read more from this talented writing pair.

I received a digital review copy of this book from the author/publicist.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. I really liked the set up for this story and thought that Keaton and Luke were both great characters. I had a great time with this one.

Alter by Jeremy Robinson

Alter - Jeremy Robinson

This was a really nice change of pace.  I decided to listen to this book largely because it sounded really exciting.  I am not going to lie though, the fact that Luke Daniels did the narration was a huge part of the decision.  It was a good choice.  This book was a little different than the books that I normally read and I had a lot of fun with it.  I am really glad that I took a chance on this one.

Dr. Gregory Zekser is the only survivor when the plan he is on crashes in the rainforest.   He quickly learns that he is not prepared to survive on his own in that environment.  His supplies are very limited and he is not ready to deal with some of the dangers in the rainforest.  There were a few points in the story where things looked really bad for Dr. Zekser and I wasn't sure if he would make it out of this ordeal.

I liked Greg's character.  He is put in a really desperate situation and somehow finds his strength.  He is put in terrible situations many times over the course of the story and each time we get to see his internal struggle as he makes difficult choices.  It was interesting to see how much his character changed over the course of the story.

This was a rather exciting story with a lot of action.  It was probably a bit far fetched at times but it was entertaining so I had no problem with that.  I am still not sure that I liked the direction the story took towards the end but I understood why the author made that choice.  I liked the fact that this was really a story where anything could happen.

Luke Daniels did an amazing job with the narration.  He is easily one of my favorite narrators and this book is a perfect example of the quality of his work.  He handled a variety of voices very well and added a lot of excitement to the story.  I believe that I enjoyed this one more because I made the decision to go with the audiobook.

I would recommend this book to others.  This was an exciting story about a man who is put in a difficult situation and is forced to learn exactly what he is capable of.  I wouldn't hesitate to read more of Jeremy Robinson's work.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Storm Cursed - Patricia Briggs

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

I loved this book! I have to admit that I am a huge fan of all the books set in Mercy Thompson's world. Every time I get my hands on a new Mercy Thompson book, I feel like I have been given the most wonderful gift. These stories really are gifts and I cherish each one. As you may have guessed, I went into this book with really high expectations. This book was even better than I could have hoped. This book allowed me to escape my life for just a little while and I had a fantastic time with it.

Mercy seems to somehow attract trouble. Actually, her declaration a couple of books back that the wolves would protect their territory is causing most of the trouble. Early in this book, Mercy is called on to deal with some zombie goats and I wondered what the heck was going on. Seriously, zombie goats? I thought I had seen it all but I was obviously wrong. It was so much fun to watch Mercy try to figure out what was really going on.

I loved the direction this installment took. Witches are incredibly interesting to me anyway but witches in Mercy's world were even better. We learned a lot of things about several of the characters that have played pivotal roles in the series for a long time. All of the things that were revealed were eye-opening and some left me questioning everything that I thought I knew about the characters.

I love the role that Mercy and Adam's relationship plays in this series. It is really nice to see an established couple that is in it for the long haul. I think that Mercy and Adam's relationship only gets stronger with each book. I love the way that they trust each other completely and always have each other's backs. There were plenty of great moments between the pair in this story which I found touching.

I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the eleventh book in the Mercy Thompson series which is a series that really should be read in order since there are a lot of things carried over from previous installments. This was a highly entertaining story filled with mystery, action, excitement, great characters, and even a few zombie goats. I enjoyed this one so much I pre-ordered the audiobook so I can experience the story all over again in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Gentleman Nine by Penelope Ward

Gentleman Nine - Penelope Ward

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

I liked this book but maybe not quite as much as I had hoped that I would. I am not going to lie - the cover of this book is what got my attention. I would bet that cover model has grabbed the attention of more than a few individuals over the years so I feel no shame. I had not tried Penelope Ward's writing before but I do love the narrating pair of Andi Arndt and Sebastian York so when I saw this book on sale, I grabbed it. I found myself in the mood for something light so I decided to give this one a try and I did end up enjoying the story.

This book has a little bit of everything worked into the story. It is a friends to lovers story with the let's be roommates twist. There is a love triangle thrown into the book before everything was over. Plus there is a cute kitten because kittens make romances even better. Throw in a little friends with benefits action and you have pretty much summed up this book. Don't get me wrong. I liked this book but I think it was just way too predictable. I just didn't feel like there was a much that was new or original.

Amber has been friends with Channing for years. Growing up it was always Amber, Channing, and Rory. Amber and Rory dated for 9 years but have recently broken up and when Channing needs a place to stay in town, he calls Amber. Channing has secretly wanted Amber for years but Rory got the girl and he didn't interfere. But now that they are no longer together, all bets are off.

I liked Amber and Channing. They were both great people and I felt like they deserved each other. They did have a lot of chemistry and it was pretty obvious early on that they had some pretty strong feelings for each other. There were a few bumps in the road but it was fun to watch them find their happily ever after.

I thought that Andi Arndt and Sebastian York did a fantastic job with the narration. I really think that their voices work really well together in this kind of book. They both do a great job with a variety of voices and are very pleasant to listen to. I probably liked this book just a bit more because I decided to listen to it.

I would recommend this book to others. I would have liked for a less predictable story but the one that I got was perfectly pleasant. I wouldn't hesitate to read more from Penelope Ward.

Initial Thoughts
I thought that this was okay but fairly predictable. Nothing in the story really surprised me but it was a pleasant enough story. Channing and Amber were nice enough characters and I did think that they had good chemistry. I could have lived without the love triangle that was worked in before the story came to an end. I thought that the narrators did a great job with the story.

Book source: Audible purchase

Taken by Benedict Jacka

Taken - Benedict Jacka, Gildart Jackson

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

This was really good! I had never heard of this series until my friend Anne decided to host a read along on her blog, Books of My Heart, this year. Since the pace was set at only one book per month, I decided that I could make enough room in my reading schedule to fit this series in without too much work. That has turned out to be a fantastic decision because I have had a great time with each installment.

I really like both Alex and Luna and I was really happy that this book focused so heavily on Luna and the other apprentices. It was great meeting a few new characters and seeing a little more about how their world works. Luna has now completely committed to her role as an apprentice and is working incredibly hard to meet the demands put on her. I really liked getting to see the relationships between the apprentices.

I never tire of watching Alex in action. His ability to see into the future is so unique in useful as it is used in this story. I love the way he is able to make smart decisions quickly and takes responsibility for his actions. Alex is really just a great guy who is always looking to save the day and take care of those who need his help and he does it quite competently.

I thought that the mystery in this book was very well done. I had no idea what was going on with the disappearing apprentices but I had a blast going along for the ride to find out. There was plenty of action and some completely unexpected antics to keep things really interesting. I love that this story kept me guessing until the very end.

Gildart Jackson does a fantastic job with this series. He is the voice of Alex in my mind and I do think that he really does bring the character to life. I think that he does a great job with all of the character voices and dialogue always flowed nicely. I think he has a very pleasant reading voice and I enjoyed listening to his narration for hours at a time.

I would recommend this series to others. This is the third book in the Alex Verus series which I do think would be best read in order if at all possible. I can't wait to get started on the next book in the series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. I liked getting to see some of the other apprentices. It feels like Alex is taking more of a leadership role and I really like that he doesn't care what others think of him. There was a lot of excitement and a bit of a mystery. The narrator did a fantastic job with this book.

Book source: Audible purchase