Blog Tour Review: The Last Affair by Margot Hunt

The Last AffairThe Last Affair by Margot Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

From the outside, suburbanite Mom, Gwen Landon, seems to have it all. With successful husband, Josh, two children and a Labrador, they are a living example of the picture perfect family. Until Gwen winds up dead, that is, bludgeoned to death in her own backyard with a driveway paving stone.

Nora Holliday also appears to be living in suburban bliss, although behind closed doors, things are a bit darker for Nora. Her husband, once an abusive alcoholic, now in recovery, is challenging to live with and the love and spark is definitely gone. Nora does what she can to try to keep it all together for their children but that type of life can be hard.

When Josh and Nora run into each other at an out of town hotel bar, they make a irrevocable and passionate decision that will alter all of their lives.

Full of the domestic drama we all love, glazed with a delightfully devious revenge plot, The Last Affair will keep you vigorously turning the pages until the very end. Once I started down this twisted road of secrets and lies, I could not put it down!

Jumping back and forth between multiple perspectives helped this one to never lose its pace. There were so many secrets, so little honest communication, it was frustrating and amazing all at the same time.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, cleverly plotted domestic drama to help get you through this holiday season, you should definitely consider picking this one up!

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to read this early. Thank you so much to the publisher, Harlequin — MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I had a lot of fun with this story and am definitely looking forward to Margot Hunt’s next novel. I think her writing has grown a lot for this book compared to For Better and Worse so I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

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Review: When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

When the Sky Fell on SplendorWhen the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

This is a tough one.

A sort of genre-mash of things I love but together seemed a little disjointed but still good…yeah…

A few years back the town of Splendor was wracked by an industrial accident. Pretty much everyone in the town was effected in some way.

The plant were the accident occurred literally employed about half the town. There was an explosion and a lot of people were killed.

As you can for imagine, for a small town, this had horrible ramifications. People had brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and spouses stolen away from them in an instant.

In part, that is what this book is about. Even though it is around 5-years later, the aftermath continues to be challenging for those remaining residents of Splendor.

We follow a group of teens who have really come together since the accident. The adults in their lives are dealing with their own grief and sort of left the kids on their own to deal with theirs. This group of kids has come to rely on each other in both meaningful and beautiful ways.

As an exploration of grief, this is a touching, heart-wrenching story but there is also a science-fiction element that I found truly interesting.

You can tell that the author really enjoys science, as do I. There are detailed sections on black holes, time/space, fibonacci spirals and the idea of a cosmic consciousness.

I loved the friend group and how supportive they were of one another and I loved the science. However, there was something a little wonky about the way it was all strung together. It didn’t feel cohesive to me.

As always, this is 100% subjective and you may read this and think, ‘what the hell was Meg talking about?’ And that’s fine!

Just for me, it felt like the narrative was fighting over what kind of story it was trying to be. It didn’t feel like a seamless composition, if that makes sense.

Overall, I am really glad that I read this book. It is definitely a thoughtful exploration of a lot of interesting and important topics. I also think Emily Henry is a very talented woman and clearly a lot more intelligent than I am!

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Buzzword-A-Thon Wrap-Up

Hey book friends!

Some of you may be wondering how I did with my Buzzword-A-Thon reading. Well, wonder no more. I am here to tell you that I failed miserably! 

As in, zero…that’s right…ZERO books completed.¬†

I did make it to the 32% mark in The Ancient Nine which I am still reading but I did DNF (did not finish and will never pick up again) Seven Black Diamonds.

I am trying to just pick up the pieces and move on with my life. I will be participating in Fantasy-A-Thon in December hosted by Julie over at Pages and Pens channel on YouTube. For her announcement video, click here:

Fantasy-A-Thon Round 2 Announcement

I think I may see some more success, or any success at all really, during this next readathon as it is two weeks opposed to one. With a full-time work schedule, that is extremely helpful.

Stay tuned for my TBR post which should be going up sometime next week!

Cheers and to my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Review: A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon #1) by Kelsey Quick

A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, #1)A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Wavorly Sterling was a child, a vampire attack decimated the population of the town in which she lived. In fact, she is known as the only survivor, rescued, or captured, depending on your perspective, and brought to live within the Vampire Stratocracy of Cain.

Set in a dystopian world, where the blood supply is low, the Stratocracy has developed a vast and interesting system for raising ‘human supply units’. These supply units are eventually chosen and bound to a master who they vow to serve, and feed, for the duration of their lives.

Wavorly is brought to a sort of private school where the girls are raised together and taught how to please their future masters.

The majority of these girls were born within the Stratocracy so have never tasted the freedom of the world outside as Wavorly has. This sets her apart from them and she struggles trying to understand their seemingly docile personalities in the face of what lies ahead of them.

In fact, when we first meet her, she is in the midst of executing an escape attempt. Although it may not go as planned, you have to give the girl props for her strength and determination.

No matter how hard she fights back against the powers that be however, Wavorly is ultimately selected to go live in the castle of Lord Anton Zein and act as one of his supply units. They have a complicated history and you just know something’s going to go down at that castle!

I really enjoyed this, you guys! I do not read a lot of vampire-related content, really my only experiences being Salem’s Lot, NOS4A2 and Doctor Sleep, so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this or not. Apparently, it’s my new thing!

I loved the dystopian feel of this story. The world-building was excellent in my opinion and I cannot wait to learn more in Book 2.

I also really enjoyed quite a few of the side characters, they added depth, humor and challenging personalities to the story. There were people you really wanted to get behind and people that were a joy to hate. Yes, that is a thing.

Although the plot got a little jumbled for me towards the end, I was still on board for all that was happening. There were revelations and betrayals, a lot of excitement.

I think this left off in a great spot for the continuation of series and I definitely will be continuing. This was one of those books that when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it and wishing I was!

Overall, this was an impressive debut. I feel confident this author has a bright future ahead of her. If you are looking for an inventive and captivating, fast-paced read, you should definitely pick this one up!

Thank you so much to the author, Kelsey Quick, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I have since preordered the paperback because I love the cover and also, have no self-control.

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Review: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger, #1)Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Demons and gargoyles and chosen ones…

18-year-old Trinity Marrow has a special gift. She can see and commune with ghosts and spirits. This isn’t her only gift though, there is a lot about Trinity that is special.

Because of her unique nature she has been hidden away at an isolated compound for years with the Wardens protecting her. What are Wardens, you may ask? They are gargoyle shape-shifters protecting mankind from demons, of course.

Trinity spends her days wandering around the compound and training with her Warden protector, Misha. She also spends a lot of time with her chatty, ghost sidekick, Peanut.

I must confess, Peanut was probably my favorite character. He is so funny, stuck in the 80s, his pop culture references brought me back. Love you, Peanut!

When a group of Wardens from another clan arrives with news of vicious attacks going on outside the compound, attacks killing demons and Wardens alike, Trinity finally has something interesting to focus on. Spying on the superiors chatting, Trin gets caught by a member of the outside clan, Zayne, the most beautiful gargoyle to ever live…

Events occur that force Trinity and Zayne to leave the compound together and we all know where that’s going, it’s Jennifer L. Armentrout, y’all!

I really enjoyed this one and am totally kicking myself for putting it off for so long. It started a little slow for me but as soon as Trinity met Zayne, I was hooked. There is a ton of action in here, some great fight scenes, humor, shocking revelations and a little bit of steam!

This story still has so much room to grow, as well, and left off in a superb spot for a sequel. I don’t know how many books are planned to be part of The Harbinger series but you better believe, I want a front row seat for all of them!!!

Highly recommend for people looking to start a new YA Fantasy series with a touch of romance.

Thank you so much, Harlequin TEEN, for providing me with a copy of this beauty to read and review! I appreciate it.

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Buzzwordathon Round #5

Hello my beautifully bookish friends!

Round 5 of Buzzwordathon starts today! I had big plans but realistically, it’s just not going to happen. With this in mind, today I am going to tell you the books I have on my radar for the week but I am not going to declare a definitive TBR (to be read list).

First, let’s talk about what Buzzwordathon is, as some of you may not be aware. Buzzwordathon is a readathon created and hosted by the wonderfully creative Kayla @ BooksandLala channel on YouTube.

Basically she came up with this idea after noticing certain title trends in publishing. Each round she chooses a word, type of word or phrase, that seems to be used a lot in recent releases. The only challenge is to read books that contain the buzzword in the title. For Kayla’s Round 5 announcement, click below:

Buzzwordathon Round 5

Our buzzword this round is numbers. Any title that has a number in it counts. It can be 1, 1st, one, First, Two, Second, etc. Anything denoting a numerical value. After her announcement I went through my unread shelves and found quite a few books that would meet this criteria. Unfortunately, as well all know, there is always too many book and too little time.

This morning I started my first book for the readathon. It may be the only one I get to this week. You see, here is my problem generally with readathons. I read so many books at once that I am never in a good place to put everything on hold to start all new books for the readathon.

I am currently reading five really good books. I don’t want to put them on hold for an entire week while I read other stuff. It’s a dilemma, I’m so torn because I also want to participate.

So, I have decided to take it easy on myself and if I get to some number books, great. If not, so mote it be. The book I began this morning is the one I most wanted to get to. The Ancient Nine, by Ian K. Smith, was one of the first books I ever received from NetGalley, way back in early-2018. I still haven’t gotten to it yet and it’s haunting me. Following a young man gaining entrance into one of the secret societies as Harvard University, it sounds like something right up my alley. So far, so good.

Other books that I am hoping to get to this week but ya know…

include:

  • ¬†Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr, a YA Fantasy that I purchased as a cover buy from Book Outlet close to 2-years ago. It’s read it now or unhaul it.
  • 11/22/63¬†by Stephen King, Adult SFF that I actually drove to a local book shop to purchase on its release day, November 8, 2011, and it has been sitting unread on my bookshelf ever since.
  • Odd One Out¬†by Nic Stone, YA Contemporary.
  • Ready Player One¬†by Ernest Cline, YA/Adult Science Fiction. This was on of my first Book of the Month selections and I would love to finally get around to it.
  • The Tenth Girl¬†by Sara Faring, new release YA Horror.
  • Five Midnights¬†by Ann Davila Cardinal, new release YA Horror.

As I mentioned above, I am not going to have a lot of time this week to dedicate to this unfortunately. So, I am keeping my goal simple, two books. If I read three, I would be super happy! And with that out of the way, I am off to read!

Are you participating in the Buzzwordathon? If so, what are you reading? Have you read any of the books I have on my radar for the week? I want to know. Leave a comment here or contact me through any of my social media links!

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Huston and Jonathan Snipes

The DeepThe Deep by Rivers Solomon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

What the heck did I just read?
This novella is so unique. The feeling.
Gah! I can’t even describe it.

When I first finished this book, I was blown away but also didn’t really understand what I had read. Overtime, the initial feeling of overwhelming joy has petered out.

In fact, I remember very little about this. Considering the fact that I completed it just 4-days ago, seems a bit of an issue to me.

While I respect the beautiful nature of this story, the question remains, what was this? Whilst reading, I was overwhelmed with feelings that I was being told some wise and ancient lore, unfortunately I think the true meaning of it sailed well over my head.

I do appreciate the creation of this story and I would even read it again someday, it’s just a hard one to grasp. Absolutely moving though, even if you don’t fully understand why it is slowly ripping your heart out of your chest.

In short, I would need to read this again before I can provide more thoughts. Something I would most definitely be willing to do. Thank you so much to the publisher, Saga Press, for sending me a copy to read and review. I truly appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars

In the walled-city of Alu, traditionally three maidens get chosen when the ruler dies to accompany him into the underworld. Essentially a death sentence, being chosen is nonetheless viewed as a great honor. When our story begins, the ruler is currently on the brink of death.

Kammani’s father is a great healer, although disgraced after a former royal patient’s death, he gets summoned to the kingdom to attend to the ruler. Unfortunately, he mysteriously disappears, never getting to tend the sick man.

Kammani has been training under her father’s tutelage for many years. She dreams of one day being the best healer in all the land.

When her sister gets chosen to be one of the ruler’s maidens, and her father cannot be found, Kammani takes it upon herself to get into the kingdom and prevent the ruler’s death. If she doesn’t, she could lose her sister as well; the only family she has left.

Once in the kingdom, Kammani feels like something sinister is going on. After a botched attempt on her life, she knows she must be close to the truth.

I truly enjoyed this world. I felt it was rich and well built. If I had to sum in up, I would say, in my head I was picturing Astapor, ‘the red city’, from Game of Thrones. A world sharply divided between haves and have-nots. It was brutal and dangerous with a healthy dose of palace intrigue.

I really loved these characters and how the story unfolded. There is a lot of beautiful writing in here on grief and sacrifice. The love of family is a strong theme throughout and some of the dialogue between Kammani and her slightly pouty younger sister, Nanaea, had me in tears.

I did get frustrated with Kammani now and again over some of her choices but overall, I understood her motivations and felt attached to her character. I think we left it at a perfect spot for the continuation and I look forward to the battle that I know will be taking place. It’s bound to be epic!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. This is such an impressive debut with a lush, dangerous world, one I cannot wait to return to!

Well done, Kelly Coon. Well done!

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Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family UpstairsThe Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Libby Jones turns 25 years old, she finally gets to open a letter she has been waiting for her whole life, for it contains the identification of her birth parents. Found at just 10-months old, at the scene of an apparent suicide pact, Libby was adopted out, never knowing her true identity.

Upon opening the letter she learns some startling news. Not just who her parents were but that she is inheriting their long-abandoned mansion in the swanky-Chelsea neighborhood in London; a house worth millions of pounds.

To Libby, working a mundane job designing kitchens, this is a blessed windfall. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances in which she was found at that very property, her windfall is also steeped in trepidation and fear.

Unknown to Libby, she really may have reason to be fearful, for others out there have been waiting for her 25th birthday as well, and they are planning a reunion. Lurking around the property, they await the baby’s return.

During the course of the book, we follow three different perspectives and both present and past timelines. I was definitely more intrigued by some sections of this book as opposed to others. This gave it a pacing issue for me personally and I felt the formatting was a bit wonky.

To be completely frank, I didn’t really find it interesting until about the 70% point and then I couldn’t put it down. Again, pacing issue. Unfortunately, that’s too much of a slow burn, even for me, the lover of slow burns, to give it a higher star rating.

There were entire portions at the beginning that I would have preferred to skip right over. Let’s say, anything set in France, I was bored to tears.

However, as mentioned above, the ending really did pick up and I think over all the story premise had a lot of promise, and for these reasons I bumped my rating up from around a 2.5 to a 3. This is a good book. I know a lot of readers will absolutely love it and I support that. It just wasn’t necessarily the perfect book for me.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: The Long Call (Two Rivers #1) by Ann Cleeves

The Long Call (Two Rivers, #1)The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Darkly evocative and smartly written!

My first Ann Cleeves did not disappoint. I consider myself already anxiously anticipating the next installment to this all new, Two Rivers, series.

I was so pleasantly impressed with this. By far the best traditional mystery I have read this year. It is obvious from the first pages that Cleeves is a skilled, veteran mystery writer.

Following Detective Matthew Venn and two of his junior colleagues, Jen and Ross, was an absolute delight. I felt like I was there with them, learning the evidence as they were. Matthew was just a lovely protagonist. Thoughtful and introverted, extremely smart and dedicated to the idea of truth and justice for all.

At the beginning of our tale, Matthew is attending his estranged Father’s funeral. Standing in the back he observes neighbors, and other locals, he might once have considered friends.

But he has left that part of his life far behind after the strict evangelical community his parents were a part of could not accept that he is gay. Basically excommunicated from the community, he hasn’t spoken with either of his parents in many years.

Upon quietly making his exit from the church, he receives a phone call from one of his colleagues. The body of a murdered man has just been found on a beach not far from his current location. He of course rushes to the scene and thus begins an investigation into the community of which he was once a part.

I loved the tone of this novel. From start to finish the writing was so intelligent and gripping. It gave me strong Broadchurch vibes whilst also reminding me of the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith. I would say if you enjoy the Cormoran books, you should DEFINITELY pick this one up.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I am in love with it and cannot wait to continue on with the series!!! Well done, Ms. Cleeves!!

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