BOOK REVIEW: The Redwood Asylum by L.A. Detwiler #paranormal #horror @ladetwiler1

From the USA Today Bestseller L.A. Detwiler comes a new eerie horror filled with secrets, ghosts, and murder.

The dead do talk … if you’re brave enough to hear their sinister secrets.

In a thick forest sits a forgotten stone building, The Redwood Asylum. Once inside, the criminally insane, the darkly disturbed, and the eternally confused residents learn one thing very quickly: they are at the mercy of ruthless evil in many forms.

At twenty-six, Jessica Rosen starts a new job at Redwood in the hopes of forgetting an insidious past. She quickly realizes, however, that Redwood harbors malevolent secrets and beings in every chilly corner. On her second day adjusting to her job, the unstable man in 5B quickly latches onto Jessica in an unsettling way. When his rantings and warnings start to make sense, though, Jessica will be taken on a ride of secrets, murder, and dangerous beings. As she begins to uncover the horrifying truths behind the man’s past , the terrors of Redwood Asylum will follow her home and make her question her own sanity.

Can Jessica solve the secrets of the man in 5B in time to save herself, or will the terrors trap her in Redwood’s evil clutches forever?

A spine-tingling page-turner by USA Today Bestseller L.A. Detwiler perfect for paranormal horror fans.

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Release Date: March 12, 2021

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MY REVIEW:

5 stars!

Who doesn’t love a good horror story involving ghosts?

The way the story is narrated reminds me of Stephen King’s Rose Red, which happens to be a favorite of mine. Yes, there have been countless books about haunted asylums, and there will certainly be more. The ramblings of a mad man, locked away at Redwood, make nurse Jessica sympathetic. She wants to help him find peace, not realizing she’s placing herself in danger.

Jessica’s role in the story wasn’t just that of a nurse who wanted to help others. She had a dark secret in her past, one that would play a prominent role in her future. She also seemed to fancy herself a detective, and with determination, dug into the patient’s past trying to find the truth. Sadly, some things are better left buried.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I’d definitely be interested in more stories featuring Redwood, and I want to know more about the other staff.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: A Debt of Dishonor by Lillian Marek #historicalromance #bookreview

Kate Russell is furious.

It was bad enough that her father had let her grow up in virtual poverty, but now her dissolute brother wants to use her as payment for his debts. She runs away, determined to make her way so that she will never again be at the mercy of powerful men.

Then she encounters the Duke of Ashleigh.

He has overcome the shame of his parents’ scandalous lives and has a well-deserved reputation for honorable behavior. Then he encounters Kate, the niece of an old friend. There is some mystery about her background.

She is not the sort of well-bred lady of impeccable reputation that he plans to marry someday, but he can’t get her out of his mind.

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MY REVIEW

3 1/2 stars

The first romance I read was a Regency, back when I was only twelve or thirteen and I had to sneak it from my mother’s room. I’ve loved them ever since. The description for A Debt of Dishonor immediately intrigued me, and I knew I needed to read it.

The story flowed well, and I enjoyed the characters. Especially Kate’s fire! The banter between her and the Duke made me smile and at times outright laugh. It was clear from the beginning something was brewing between them, even when they wouldn’t admit it to themselves. As far as villains go, Farnsworth was dastardly and completely insane. A truly vile man I wanted to bash over the head every time he entered a scene.

There were so many characters! And not just small parts either. Mrs. Darling, the Duke’s family, his friends, and Kate’s friends from back home all had their parts to play. At times, I found it a bit tedious to suddenly be in the point of view of a minor character. Instead of driving the story forward, it made it feel as if it had stalled while I had to wait and find out what was going on with Kate and the Duke. I can appreciate the minor characters’ perspectives of what was happening, but it seemed completely unnecessary. As did the side romance with the Duke’s sister. It would have been better served in a book of their own. For me, it detracted from Kate and Peter’s romance.

Overall, A Debt of Dishonor kept me entertained and I enjoyed the book. I’m not quite certain if I liked it enough to necessarily read more in this series. It would depend on how much focus was given to the main characters. I give A Debt of Dishonor 3 1/2 stars.

*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: The Princess of Nothing (The Fate of Crowns) by Rebecca L. Garcia #YoungAdult #Fantasy @rlgarciabooks

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Run. Hide. Pray for escape.

Racing down the winding streets of Imperia, my only hope of reclaiming my throne is to escape. Unfortunately, that means returning to the one place I truly fear—Berovia.

My fears—it seems—were justified. In the dark underbelly of Berovia, I am captured by King Xenos’s men and thrown into the pits with traitors and criminals to pray for salvation I knew wouldn’t come. My only hope to make it out alive is by agreeing to marry the king’s arrogant son. But this union comes at a terrible price. If I agree to be his bride, my people may be stripped of their magic and forced into submission under Kiros’s reign. If I die, I leave my corruptible cousin, Edgar, to ruin my family’s rule.

Can I find a way to save my people and myself? Or, will I die as the princess of nothing?

Release Date: February 2, 2021

MY REVIEW:

5 stars

The saga continues as Winter fights for throne, her people, and struggles with the desires of her heart.

Book one hooked me, and the second installment in this fantastic series is no different. Intrigue, battles, love, and more fill the pages of The Princess of Nothing. If you’re ready to begin an epic journey fraught with danger, death, and love, you can’t go wrong with The Fate of Crowns series.

Winter fights for what she believes in, and will stop at nothing to reclaim her crown. Change is in the air, but it’s not the type the people need. With her cousin on the throne, the ways of the lunas have been threatened and will soon be a thing of the past. Unless Winter can find the courage and strength to take back what’s rightfully hers.

I enjoyed getting to see Winter grow. With each story, she matures a little more, and becomes more worthy of the crown she’s destined to wear. In book one, we saw her start as a spoiled child who believed everything she’d been told, refusing to question the beliefs she held dear were tainted. Until she met Cedric and the light fae opened her eyes to the world around her. In book two, she continues her journey of self-discovery, and learns more about herself and the world around her. By the end, Winter has grown from a spoiled girl to someone who wants to fight for the injustice of not only her people, but others who are treated unfairly.

Winter is full of passion and determination. But with anyone faced with such a heavy burden, she also has her doubts. She gains strength from her best friend, as well as the dark fae king and Cedric, her light fae prince. The secondary characters in this story add a richness to the book and help suck you into the world of magic.

As with the first installment, this one ends in a cliffhanger. While I typically dislike them, I find with The Fate of Crowns series, they only make me eagerly anticipate the next book. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Winter, Cedric, and even Blaise in book three. Very well done, Ms. Garcia! You’ve crafted another masterpiece.

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Fate of Crowns by Rebecca Garcia #YoungAdult #Fantasy @rlgarciabooks

With my brother’s death came the crown and all the trappings that accompany it. Now, my father—the most dangerous man in Magaelor—seeks to control my future.

But fate has other plans.

Thrown into mer-filled waters, I’m dragged into the rival kingdom of Berovia. Surrounded by those who murdered my brother and wished my entire family dead, I must find my way back to my kingdom. There, a marriage between myself and the dark fae prince could bring peace to a century’s old division between the fae and sorcerers.

But dark revelations and deadly lies threaten to destroy my destiny. I must make the choice between my duty, family, and heart before it’s too late.

Will I allow myself to become the exalted Queen of everything? Or be reduced to a cautionary tale as the shattered princess of nothing?

The Fate of Crowns is a young adult fantasy, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Laura Sebastian, Holly Black and Kendare Blake.

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MY REVIEW

5 stars!

Magic, intrigue, betrayal, and a princess determined to protect her people,

In a time of fae and magic-wielding humans, when prejudices run deep, there’s one girl who could save them all. The princess first has to learn to see the world with her own eyes and stop believing the lies she’s been told her entire life. Her family isn’t as perfect as she believes, and those closest to her will cause her the most pain. Even when she finds herself in enemy lands, Winter can’t accept that things aren’t what they seem. So eager to please and protect her family, she’s blinded to the truths she faces every day. Will she ever be able to accept her entire life has been a lie?

The book was beautifully written, full of mystery and fantasy, friendship, and so much more. With strong characters, the tried and true plot of corrupt kingdoms, and enough action and drama to keep you turning the pages, The Fate of Crowns has proven to be a memorable tale. But be warned, it does end with a cliffhanger. I’ll be eagerly anticipating the next installment in this series.

The Fate of Crowns is a must-read!

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK REVIEW: Her Marine Next Door by Aliyah Burke #ContemporaryRomance #NetGalley @entangledpub

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My next door neighbor Parker Jax is not my type. He’s covered in tats, rides a motorcycle, and his parties keep me up all night. The fact he’s sexy as sin doesn’t change the fact we are oil and water.

I’m a quiet artist. He’s a rowdy marine. I’ve got a broken heart. I’m convinced he doesn’t have a heart at all.

Thankfully, my bad-boy neighbor is on leave from the Marines for only thirty days. But then the jerk has to go and show me that he has a soft side beneath all those hard muscles. He actually leaves his own party to help me, and he didn’t even have to.

Fantastic. Now I owe him.

I’m not worried, though. What are the chances he’ll need me to do anything before the month is up?

But when a woman shows up with a kid at her side, knocking on Parker’s door, it turns out those chances are pretty good…

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My Review

5 stars!

He’s wanted her from the beginning, but Parker Jax can’t seem to go after the only woman who matters in this page-turning romance.

Love an alpha bad boy? Fake fiancé? Secret baby? This book has all that and more. Toss in a spurned woman bent on ruining Skylar, a hero who tends to fuck up, and a monster-in-law and that still doesn’t sum up this book. I was skeptical mixing so many tropes could work, but Ms. Burke pulled it off.

There were times I wanted to smack Parker for being an idiot, yell at Skylar for not sharing her past with him, and don’t get me started on Parker’s mom. I nearly disliked her character more than the one-night stand turned baby momma.

Want a drama filled ride full of heat, sweet moments, and even a little heartbreak? You can’t go wrong with Her Marine Next Door. You’ll be turning the pages, unable to stop reading until the very end.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. The review above is only my opinion.

Book Review: To Be Your Only by Rae Kennedy #NewAdult #NetGalley #bookreview

I’ve been in love with Wes since I was in braces. Him—not so much. But this is the summer I’m finally going to get him to notice me. And fall madly in love with me so we can live happily ever after, obviously.

Unfortunately, my best friend and partner-in-crime decided to run off for the summer, so I’m stuck with her annoying older brother, Eric, as my wingman.

Did I mention he’s annoying? This would be much easier if I weren’t constantly rolling my eyes at his sarcastic remarks or wishing I could wipe that little smirk off his face.

Want to know the most aggravating part? Now that things are finally starting to go my way with Wes, I can’t stop thinking about Eric and his dumb mouth.

This is can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel.

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MY REVIEW:

New Adult romances generally have a lot of steam, and this one was no exception. Kyla and Eric were heating up the pages!

I wouldn’t necessarily call this book a friends-to-lovers story. It’s clear in the beginning Kyla is annoyed by Eric, and it’s not until her best friend, Eric’s sister, leaves that decides to make Eric her “wingman” while she tries to win her long-time crush, Wes. The banter between Kyla and Eric is reason enough to like this book. They were cute together, and funny. I honestly couldn’t understand what she saw in Wes other than looks. He came across as not having much of a personality.

If you like goofy guys who are sweet, then Eric is your perfect hero. I generally prefer more of an alpha type of hero, but there’s a lot to be said for a sweet guy with a sense of humor. He’s different from your typical romance book boyfriend because he doesn’t pursue Kyla. He comes across as shy and a bit insecure at times. Instead of fighting for her, or tossing her over his shoulder caveman style, he decides to help her win Wes — even though it’s clear it pains him to think of the two of them together. You’ll find yourself rooting for him to get the girl.

Kyla was a force of nature. She has a loud, vibrant personality with a heavy dose of immaturity. There were plenty of times I wanted to yell at her, but about 1/3 of the way through the book, she came across a little less juvenile. In the end, I think it was her fear of not being good enough, not being wanted, that drove her to act the way she did. I particularly enjoyed the scenes of her with her grandfather. It gave her character more depth and made her less superficial.

This would have been a four to five-star read for me, but the first four or so chapters didn’t read as smoothly as the rest. It took me a bit to really get into the story and have that “I need to know what happens” feeling. There were a few scenes that were just too unbelievable. While there are lots of super hot scenes, once she admits she had feelings for Eric, their romance is such a mix of emotions it’s a bit of a rollercoaster right. Just when it seems everything is working out, the book comes to what felt like a rather abrupt ending. I kept trying to turn the page on my e-reader, thinking there would be at least a little more. The end scene seems more focused on Eric’s sister and on Wes’s budding romance with a waitress.

Overall, it was an enjoyable book and I was so glad Eric and Kyla got their happily-ever-after. — 3.5 stars!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley. The review above is my honest opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Cowboy’s Christmas Rodeo by Mary Sue Jackson and Leslie North #holidayromance #CowboysChristmasRodeo #NetGalley

Axel King has always been hot headed, something that’s created a heap of trouble on the rodeo circuit. The rodeo is a tough life and this cowboy is ready to settle back home, buy the old family ranch, and live quietly without the wildness of his past. All he has to do is win the Pride River Christmas Rodeo, but to do that he’s got to stay out of trouble. Trouble he very nearly finds by getting into yet another bar fight, stopped just in time by Belle Manning, his childhood friend. She always kept him out of hot water when he was a kid, with her calm support and friendly smile, and though it’s been years since he’s seen her, Axel’s never forgotten the first girl he kissed. And never forgotten how her daddy warned him to stay away from her. Troublemakers like him just aren’t good enough for someone like her.

Belle never forgot the sexy cowboy who stole her heart when they were kids. So when he approaches her with a proposition, she’s ready to listen. Axel wants her by his side so she can keep him out of trouble until the Christmas rodeo. In exchange, he’ll give her a plot of land so she can build her occupational therapy clinic. It’s a stunning proposal and one Belle can’t refuse. Her dream of using horses to help people heal is finally coming true. And, bonus, running around town with Axel will keep her matchmaking mother off her back. She’ll think about a relationship after her practice is up and running. Once Axel wins the rodeo, they can go on their merry ways. But it doesn’t take long before their fake relationship takes an unexpected turn toward real, throwing Belle off kilter. Is it possible Axel could turn into the Christmas present she didn’t know she wanted all along?

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MY REVIEW:

4-stars

Who doesn’t love a hot cowboy? Add in a friends-to-lovers holiday romance and you get an unforgettable happily-ever-after.

Axel might have left town long ago, but that doesn’t mean Pride River isn’t still home. And he’s certainly never forgotten the girl he left behind. His best friend, Belle. There were so many tropes in this book it kept things interesting. Cowboys, hometown celebrity, unrequited love, friends-to-lovers, and more. I admit it didn’t hook me immediately. The first chapter or two was a little slow but it didn’t take long before I was eager to find out what happened next.

Petty rivalry between Axel and another cowboy adds just enough drama, along with Belle’s matchmaking mother, who dislikes rodeo cowboys. It would seem things were set to keep Axel and Belle apart, but it only brought them closer together. It wasn’t long before they realized their pretend relationship wasn’t all that fake after all.

Belle is strong, sassy, and determined to achieve her dreams. I loved her character. She didn’t back down from a chalkboard refused to let anyone get in her way. But she had one weakness… Axel.

I think Axel was a bit harder for me to like. For a rodeo cowboy, he didn’t have much swagger. If anything, he seemed full of self-doubt and kept disparaging himself. When I think of cowboy romances, especially rodeo cowboys, I expect a certain amount of cockiness. While he claimed to be cocky, he didn’t come across that way at all. I don’t mind a more tender, sweet hero, but he wasn’t the least bit alpha to me which was kind of a turnoff. Yet he and Belle were perfectly matched.

Cowboys Christmas Rodeo was an enjoyable story with a happily-ever-after guaranteed to make you smile. If you want a lower heat, feel good Christmas book, look no further—you just found it.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Damned If I Didn’t by Cherie Colyer #paranormalromance #YoungAdult @WildRosePress

Release Date: November 18, 2020
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Death isn’t the end for eighteen-year-old Avery Williams, and her final resting place isn’t beyond the Golden Gates. No, the Queen of the Damned has plans for her and, unbeknownst to Avery, fought hard to gain possession of her soul.  

As Hell’s newest succubus, Avery is expected to siphon life from the living. It only takes a long, meaningful kiss, but for a virgin like Avery, kissing guys she barely knows isn’t something she’s comfortable doing. Avery focuses on the upside of her fate—she’ll be returning home, or so she thinks. When the Queen of the Damned cuts her off from her old life, Avery is determined to find a way back to her family and friends, even if it means facing Hell’s fury if she’s caught.

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MY REVIEW:

5-stars!

Demons, Nephilim, and so much more… If you’re looking for your next paranormal read, you can’t go wrong with Damned When I Didn’t!

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but I rather like the cover for Damned When I Didn’t. In fact, it’s a large part of what made me want to read this particular title. I saw it and needed to know more. But when it comes to people, what you see isn’t always what you get. It’s a lesson Avery has to learn, especially when it comes to her mentor, Cole. It never occurred to Avery that just as she didn’t earn her way to hell, and her new position as a succubus, that perhaps the super hot Cole didn’t earn his place there either.

I loved seeing the push and pull between Avery and Cole. Both drawn to one another, yet not willing to accept their attraction. Not only does their budding romance draw the reader in, but the banter between them, and the mix of other awesome characters, makes Damnmed When I Didn’t a page-turning read you won’t want to put down. A half-demon, a Nephilim, and another incubus are just some of the charming characters you’ll find in this intriguing, must-read book. I truly hope we’ll get to see more of them in the future.

Damned If I Didn’t is the perfect mix of romance, drama, and friendship. You won’t be disappointed!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: More Than We Bargained For by Fiona West #bookreview #NetGalley #RomCom

Release Date: November 9, 2020

Wanted: renter for rural Oregon mountain lodge. Single mom divorcees named Starla preferred.

Starla Moore despises a mystery, and there’s no bigger mystery than Sawyer Devereaux. He comes into the library on Thursdays like clockwork, but rarely talks to anyone else. Not that she despises him; after all, he’s easy on the eyes, quick-witted, and that southern accent makes her swoon. But in the midst of a divorce, her only romance is the bookish kind. Worst of all, crashing with her bestie won’t be an option soon, especially since her final fling with her husband had one very specific unintended consequence…

Regaining consciousness with his head in the cute librarian’s lap was a rude awakening; Sawyer thought his health problems were under control. Sans driver’s license, there’s no way he can live in his little cabin alone…or keep up with the anonymous book donations he’s been leaving to make Starla smile. When he finds out she’s struggling financially, he proposes a trade: his housing for her driving. Surely he can keep his feelings a secret for a few more months…

He’s given up on his dreams; she’s just figuring hers out. When the rumors start, will it push these two misfits together…or drive one of them out of Timber Falls for good?

More Than We Bargained For is the fourth book in the Timber Falls romantic comedy series, but can be read as a stand-alone. If you like town meeting rants, neighborly concerns that become something more, and water fights that heat things up instead of cooling them down, buy this book now. This book contains no open-door sex scenes, no cheating, and a happily ever after. Claim it now to read the series Publishers Weekly called “small-town romance done right.”

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My Review:

5 stars!

Want a cute, sweet romance that will give you warm fuzzies? Read More Than We Bargained for… you won’t be sorry.

I love that our perfect hero has a vulnerable side, and our feisty heroine has her own insecurities. Their imperfect yet perfect for each other. All Sawyer wants is to help the beautiful librarian he’s been crushing on. Diagnosed with a life changing illness, he’s decided happily-ever-after isn’t in the cards for him, but he’ll do anything to make Starla happy and keep her safe. Sawyer just didn’t realize that by helping her, he’d fall deeper in love. 

Starla dealt with her cheating husband for far too long. Even after filing for divorce, she just can’t shake Charlie, who seems to feel his infidelity isn’t a big deal. Charlie’s arrogance made me want to reach into the pages and throttle him, and yet he was a really good dad so I couldn’t hate him. But I loved Starla’s determination, even when her life takes an unexpected turn. Her banter with Sawyer was cute and oftentimes funny. They were adorable together. 

This page-turning romance will make you smile, make you laugh, and leave you yearning for more. 

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC through NetGalley. The review above is my honest opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Thorne Bay by Jeanine Croft #paranormalromance #ThorneBay #NetGalley @yournewbooks

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

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

Available at Amazon

My review:

4-stars!

What happens when an awkward human falls for a hunky werewolf? Laughter, drama, and steam!

Evan knows exactly what to say — inside her head — but when it comes to actually speaking with hot guys, she gets tongue-tied and trips over her own feet. Good thing Tristan finds her adorable. He happens to like weird and quirky — things Evan has in spades.

The first half of Thorne Bay was a little slower with hardly any action but filled with humorous moments. I loved the way Evan tried so hard to be flirty and cool around Tristan and instead ended up blurting out whatever crossed her mind. It made for quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. But when the action starts, be prepared to hold on for a bumpy ride! Heartache. Pain. A scorned woman. It has it all! The secondary characters add color to the story, and I’m honestly hoping we find out more about a few of them, like Tristan’s brother Dean.

A jealous she-wolf, an alpha who only wants the human he shouldn’t have, and a human woman who knows something more is going on but she just can’t quite figure it out. It has all the makings for a page-turning story you won’t be able to put down. And steam! Loves of steam once Evan and Tristan finally come together. The author’s imagery when describing the actual shift from human to wolf was wonderful. I felt as if I were going through it right alongside them. Overall, a great addition to any werewolf lover’s TBR pile!

*Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and the author/publisher for the opportunity to review Thorne Bay. The review above is my honest opinion of the story.