Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith

HoodooHoodoo by Ronald L. Smith
Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell.       Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first.       Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an odd little book. It is somewhat reminiscent of Lemony, and yet an idea all on its own. I really liked the main character, Hoodoo and his family, but at times I didn’t feel like the story lived up to the full potential it had.

It takes a while for the story to find the right pace and fully develop, but when it does it is a joy to read. This story will keep kids and adults alike interested in what is going to happen next in the unusual life of this little boy.

I wasn’t thrilled with the choice of repeat phrases, as it on the verge of being insulting to the reader. Still it was a fun story and deserving of a look.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

The Gates of EvangelineThe Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

From a unique new talent comes a fast-paced debut, introducing a heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her . . .

When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, The Gates of Evangeline is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won’t be able to put down.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is fascinating, there is no question about that. From the first few pages I was hooked and I didn’t want to put it down.

Charlie is a strong character and although she has a lot of unexpected events occur in the beginning of the story, she doesn’t heavily overreact or do anything that would seem particularly out of character, save for the one act that ties the rest of the story together–a necessary plot device used by the author, and one that I could appreciate.

I loved the atmosphere of this story and the plantation home setting. The structures were beautifully described and I really felt I could see the same things the main character was viewing. I was particularly impressed with the descriptions of the swamp and surrounding territory, including New Orleans–though it was perhaps a more positive perception than some visitors get from the city.

I won’t say that I gave this four stars instead of five for the language and the comparisons the author made to the people of Louisiana and Texas compared to a New Yorker with a college education–others already have. Frankly, having not lived there and only been a visitor to the south and to Texas, I likely would have done the same thing–dialogue is a tough nut to crack.

What I will say, is that I couldn’t totally get around the idea of a sick, dying old woman seemingly being completely out of it and then acting as though she were able to clear the fog and have a perfectly rational conversation as she wished.

Otherwise, I thought this was a brilliantly crafted novel and recommend it to anyone looking for a good, deep mystery with a lot of unexpected revelations.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

the Three-Nine Line by David Freed

The Three-Nine Line (A Cordell Logan Mystery, #4)The Three-Nine Line by David Freed

More than forty years after their release from the notorious “Hanoi Hilton,” three American prisoners of war return to Vietnam to make peace with their most brutal former captor, a guard whom they’ve dubbed, “Mr. Wonderful.” The U.S. State Department hopes reconciliation will help cement a major trade agreement between Washington and the Vietnamese. But when Mr. Wonderful is found murdered, the three ex-POWs are accused of the crime and the multi-billion dollar deal threatens to unravel. Enter pilot, still-aspiring Buddhist, and former military assassin Cordell Logan.

Working with a newly formed covert intelligence unit that answers directly to the White House, Logan is dispatched to Hanoi to identify the real killer as the trade agreement threatens to implode. What he soon uncovers proves to be a vexing and increasingly dangerous mystery. Who really killed the guard and why? Unlocking the answers will test every ounce of Logan’s ingenuity and resolve, while risking his life as never before.

Like its three predecessors in the Cordell Logan mystery/thriller series Flat Spin, Fangs Out, and Voodoo Ridge, The Three-Nine Line is a classic, pulse-pounding page-turner. Legions of loyal readers and critics alike, from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal to Noir Journal and the Associated Press, have hailed the series for its taut writing, finely wrought characters, flashes of wry humor, and full throttle pacing. The Three-Nine Line may well be the best yet.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was thrilled to see another book in this series and it didn’t let me down. If you haven’t started reading these books yet, hurry up and do so, what are you waiting for?

David Freed has brought us another interesting Cordell Logan mystery. The main character has already been through the wringer in the previous books and lived to tell about it, and what the author has in store for him this time around will excite you and make you nervous for him all at the same time.

I loved that Kiddiot made a big appearance at the beginning and that even though the story changed, some of the familiar elements were kept. Reading these books make you feel like you are returning home.

This novel has the perfect measure of danger, intensity and intelligent and quirky writing. Recommended to those who love to live at the edge of their seat.

Looking forward to seeing what David Freed does next.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Perfect Betrayal by Season Vining Blog Tour

If you haven’t checked out this book yet, you will want to. Hot and steamy, fun and very well written. This is one that I really enjoyed! So excited to share it with you.

Description

To the outside world, Taylor Hudson has it all: money, beauty and social status. But Taylor’s privileged life is far lonelier than it appears. Now it’s about to be rocked to its core when a gorgeous new employee shows up at her family’s mansion…but nothing about him is what it appears.

Levi’s always had to fight to survive. Now, as the inside man on a heist to steal fifteen million dollars from one of the town’s wealthiest families, he has the chance of a lifetime. But it puts him on a crash course the one thing he can’t have: Taylor, a woman who makes him want the impossible-to be a better man.
What started out as a wicked game of seduction is about to become so much more. But are they both willing to give up everything for the deepest connection they’ve ever known?

This book is on sale now and you don’t want to miss it if you love steamy romance !
Find it now on Amazon or your favourite book retailer.
Here are my thoughts on the book:

  Imagine, if you will, a modern day Romeo and Juliet, but with a level of heat that would have roasted Shakespeare alive–and then you will pretty much have ‘Perfect Betrayal.’

This book is interesting from the very start. The dynamic and tension between the two main characters is apparent before they even meet. How is that possible? Well, it is one of those books where the author does such a good job building her characters individually that even before they meet, you know it is going to be sexy and explosive when they do.

As predicted, the sparks between them fly early on and continue to increase into a raging inferno as the pages progress. There is a lot going on in this book–as the title indicates–betrayal plays a big role here. I was impressed by the ability of the author to keep the romance angle of the book fresh whilst still building an entertaining story of other events in the background.

At times, the female lead comes across as spoiled, bratty, bitchy and overall not the kind of character you can immediately love, but she also has a softer side, she can be vulnerable and she is the kind of character that you will learn to love as you go.

The male lead is somewhat the same way. He can be cocky, not always eloquent and fierce, but also has a similar vulnerability about him that makes you want to love him.

Overall, I liked this book. It was daring, incredibly bold at times and one that I think will keep almost anyone interested. If you like new adult books with just the right amount of tension and steam, this one will do nicely.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own

Americosis by Haydn Wilks

A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.
He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.
His aides think he’s crazy.
The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.

Americosis.

An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.

VOLUME 1
This short novella introduces the series. It’ll leave you begging for more…

My Review :

4 Stars

This is certainly an interesting way to introduce readers to a new series. If you are squeamish and offended by swearing and blatant sexual acts, this book will immediately be off-putting, but if you aren’t, then this book has a little bit of something for everyone.

Chaos and destruction, insanity and excitement–this book doesn’t slow down from the first page to the last. If you are looking for something with a dystopian twist that also borders the line of horror, this will do nicely.

I liked the different stories that all combine together to make for a wider angle than you get with most stories. For a short book, this packed a punch. Recommended to those who like something a bit different and edgy. It was a lot of fun.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Hanover House (Hanover House Chronicles #0.5)Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Hanover House
The Hanover House Chronicles

Prequel novella to my new Hanover House Chronicles (digital only).

Welcome to Hanover House….

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries.

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong…

From Sweet Dreams Boxed Set

Whiteout
The Hanover House Chronicles

Coming September 2016

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a bit of a change for Brenda Novak, but she knows how to work it. I agree with her that the minds and inner workings of psychopathic personalities are a very interesting subject and certainly one that is fun to explore.

I liked the dynamic between the two main characters in this book. The tension between them was the perfect mix of sensuality and frustration. Evelyn is a strong character that I see being able to carry a series like this well, without the reader losing interest in her. The memories of her past and the violent things she has suffered through give her a strength that a lot of female characters lack.

Overall, I was really impressed with this and am looking forward to the release of the first novel “Whiteout,” coming in 2016.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Enchantress of Paris by Marci Jefferson

Enchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King’s CourtEnchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King’s Court by Marci Jefferson

Fraught with conspiracy and passion, the Sun King’s opulent court is brought to vivid life in this captivating tale about a woman whose love was more powerful than magic.

The alignment of the stars at Marie Mancini’s birth warned that although she would be gifted at divination, she was destined to disgrace her family. Ignoring the dark warnings of his sister and astrologers, Cardinal Mazarin brings his niece to the French court, where the forbidden occult arts thrive in secret. In France, Marie learns her uncle has become the power behind the throne by using her sister Olympia to hold the Sun King, Louis XIV, in thrall.

Desperate to avoid her mother’s dying wish that she spend her life in a convent, Marie burns her grimoire, trading Italian superstitions for polite sophistication. But as her star rises, King Louis becomes enchanted by Marie’s charm. Sensing a chance to grasp even greater glory, Cardinal Mazarin pits the sisters against each other, showering Marie with diamonds and silks in exchange for bending King Louis to his will.

Disgusted by Mazarin’s ruthlessness, Marie rebels. She sacrifices everything, but exposing Mazarin’s deepest secret threatens to tear France apart. When even King Louis’s love fails to protect Marie, she must summon her forbidden powers of divination to shield her family, protect France, and help the Sun King fulfill his destiny.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Historical fiction can go either way, and usually I tend to be disappointed with some part or the other of it. Either the dialogue is all wrong or the characters based on real people seem nothing like what we know of the actual person from historical documents.

This book not only managed to avoid those pitfalls, but also filled in the gaps in our knowledge of certain aspects and characters with a brilliantly crafted and quite plausible narrative. I was thrilled with this novel, and found it impossible to put down. The letters the author crafted between Marie and Louis are amazing, since those, in reality, did not survive. For her to create such eloquently worded and realistic correspondence nearly made me forget I wasn’t reading the real thing. Loved it.

I loved the portrayal of Marie and her relationship with King Louis. She was not a helpless waif in this story that was just another of the king’s mistresses, and he was very realistically drawn as a man struggling to learn the ropes of ruling a kingdom. He was intelligent, cocky, yet vulnerable to the powers of Marie. The love story was beautifully written and I was excited that the author did not change the true end result of their lives just to make her book work.

It takes a lot of research, time and effort to write an excellent historical novel, and this is one of the best that I have had the pleasure of reading. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the period as well as for those just looking for a well-crafted read to keep them entertained.

I am anxious to see more from this author and encourage you to check out this book.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Hard to Fight by Bella Jewel

Hard to Fight (Alpha's Heart, #1)Hard to Fight by Bella Jewel

Grace is a bounty hunter who wants to be taken seriously, but her boss refuses to believe that a woman can bring down a dangerous criminal. She finally gets a chance to prove herself when she’s given the case of a lifetime: capture Raide Knox and bring him to justice.

Raide is a dangerous fugitive on the run…and the sexiest man Grace has ever met. Catching Raide won’t be easy. He’s not the kind of man to go down without a fight. Raide is more intense and frustrating than any man she’s ever had to deal with, and the instantaneous attraction that sparks between them is undeniable. One thing is for sure…it’s going to be a case they will never forget.
**Hard To Fight is a full-length standalone romance with a HEA**

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5

There were things I loved. There were things I hated. Here we go with the it was the best of times…blah, blah, blah.

Seriously hot characters! Bella Jewel knows how to build herself a bad boy, that much is for certain. Unfortunately, I felt she waited too long to to reveal that the man also had a more sensitive side and by the time she did display that he could be something other than cock-walk and venom, I didn’t care anymore.

Somewhat the same feeling for the main character, but in reverse. She started out strong and tough and I liked her personality. The attraction between her and the male lead was definitely apparent and that worked for the story early on, but I felt she crumbled into a quivering mess of girl-goo way too soon.

What I did like about this book–the sex scenes were quick, and they were hot. No messing around on the part of the author and no apologies. These are relatively young characters and that was reflected in the sexuality displayed. I also liked the tension in this story. There was a decent amount of action and the back story for the characters was clear and didn’t drone on forever pointlessly.

Strong side characters that added a lot to the main plot in the story, some that could go on to have their own book easily.

Overall, I didn’t dislike it, but I did think that the characters were a bit out of order in some places.

If you enjoy books where the characters are majorly conflicted and the story takes unexpected turns, you might really enjoy this one. *Not for those who are disturbed by sex scenes.*

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Your chance to win a copy–Becoming Ellen by Shari Shattuck

I’ve got a beautiful hardcover copy of this book to giveaway to one lucky winner. All you gotta do to enter is share this post with your favourite social media outlet and drop me a comment below to let me know you did. (US residents only please.)

Winners will be chosen on Friday 8/14

Thank you to Putnam/Penguin Random House for the prize :)

Becoming EllenBecoming Ellen by Shari Shattuck

Returning in the bestselling tradition of Jennifer Weiner, Shattuck brilliantly illustrates the deep friendship between two absolutely unforgettable women in this touching yet funny novel.

Ellen Homes is done being invisible. Well, sort of.

Living with her closest friends, Temerity and Justice, has helped her step out of the shell of invisibility she once hid away in. She still seeks refuge in solitary time and observing from afar, but she has pushed herself to open up to others in ways that bring her unexpected happiness.

But when a terrible bus crash upends her normal routine, Ellen finds herself on a whirlwind crusade for the unseen and downtrodden. Only this time, helping others—including two young children with no one else to turn to—will mean facing a pain from her past that she’s long tucked away.

Picking up where Invisible Ellen left off, Becoming Ellen returns us to the touching, poignant, and compassionate world of Ellen Homes as she learns how to navigate the world she has decided to become a part of.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before I get going on a review, I’d like to say that I think anyone who is going to read this book, should read the first book in the series, “Invisible Ellen.” This book, “Becoming Ellen,” does offer enough info to keep a reader going without feeling completely lost, but they will learn a lot more about the somewhat neurotic and yet loveable main character if they read the first.

I enjoyed reading this book. The author takes a very straight-forward approach with her character. You don’t have to wonder what she is thinking, or even really what she is going to do next.She is an everyday Jane, the kind of character that anyone can slip into the shoes of because she is a regular person.

It was good to see that Ellen had transformed and grown a bit by this book. She still has some of her own quirks, but wasn’t as much of an introvert in this novel as she was in the first. This book still offers plenty of reasons to smile, even though some of the subject matter is a bit serious at times.

If you are the kind of person that enjoys being able to get to know a character slowly and build a relationship with them, this will be a series you want to check out. Whether you love Ellen or don’t, you will remember her.

This review is based on a review copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

Mrs. Sinclair's SuitcaseMrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child’s mother, it is wrong…

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother’s belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew – dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later…

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Not just wow, but WOW!

This is a beautiful book. This is the kind of novel that you can fully lose yourself in and not look back until the very last page. Louise Walters is amazing, and so is this book.

I could not put this story down and when I did, I missed the characters and wanted to come back. This novel worked its way into my heart and made me feel like the characters were people I knew and loved. The writing is incredible. The sentence structure has a flow that draws you into the story and each character has their own way of thinking and speaking during the dialogue sections.

Dorothy was so easy to love and my heart broke for her at different points in this book. She was a character that I literally could not help but love. I felt the same way about Roberta. These two women are so alive through the words of this author that I felt I had known them forever.

It’s hard to find a book where the secondary characters are fulfilling and make you wonder about their lives when the story is done, but Ms. Walters has done it.

Rarely do I dread seeing the last page of a book arrive–in fact, usually I’m excited to get to the end. These are some big shoes to fill, what in the world am I going to read after this?

Recommended 100% for those who love to fall in love with their book characters.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.