Review – Discretion by Karina Halle

discretionTitle: Deception (Dumont #1)

Author: Karina Halle

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Publishing Date: August 6, 2019

Links: Goodreads, Amazon

Rating: 5 ⭐️

 

Sadie Reynolds is a college student that was previously traveling around Europe with her boyfriend. She found out he had been cheating on her. They part ways and she is on her own. On her way to catch a train to Barcelona she is mugged and a passing car stops to help her. Help comes in the form of a sexy, rich Frenchman, Olivier Dumonte. This pair has an instant connection.

 

These characters are layered and there are personal struggles that each character must work through. Sadie is not ready to take a chance on what they have. She is comfortable with where she is in life. Olivier has a lot of family dramas going on in his life. Some of it creates trouble for Sadie and Olivier.

 

There are some fantastic, steamy scenes. The story kept me entertained. I loved all of the secrets, drama, and intrigue. I kept trying to anticipate where the story was going and I couldn’t do it. It was a great read.

 

I can’t wait for more of the Dumont family. Karina Halle never disappoints.

 

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR and Netgalley for my advanced readers copy. All opinions are my own.

 

Top Ten Tuesday | Books That Made Me Swoon

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

I love reading romance novels and I’ve been doing a good bit of it recently. I’ve felt a little embarrassed by that fact and have had a sort of revelation…who cares? I feel like I fell a  little into thinking that people may judge me based on that and maybe not see me as a real reader, but I enjoy them and I want to talk about them with people. So here goes my list of Romance novels I’ve enjoyed lately.

  1. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
  2. Whiskey Chaser by Lucy Score and Claire Kingsley
  3. Sidecar Crash by Claire Kingsley and Lucy Score
  4. Marriage for One by Ella Maise
  5. Book Boyfriend by Claire Kingsley
  6. The Baby Bargain by Crystal Kaswell
  7. That Second Chance by Meghan Quinn
  8. Roomies by Christina Lauren
  9. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
  10. My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

 

I’ve really taken to Christina Lauren’s books. They are all fantastic. Where are all my romance readers? What are some of your favorites? How do you feel about reading romance? Does reading romance make you less of a “real” reader?

Review – The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Unhonemooners

 

Title: The Unhoneymooners

Author: Christina Lauren

Rating: 4 / 5

 

This is another spectacular story from my favorite writing duo, Christina Lauren. I love that each story is fresh and doesn’t leave you feeling like the writing is formulaic. The characters seem like real people. They are flawed and have depth.  I adore the characters witty banter. 

 

Olive always seems to be down on her luck. She’s a twin, and while her twin sister Ami seems to win every contest she enters, Olive can’t seem to keep the great things going in her life. Ami is getting married and has won just about every element for the wedding for free – from her dress to her honeymoon. Everyone’s luck is about to be reversed, when at the wedding reception everyone except for Olive and the groom’s brother Ethan gets sick after eating  the seafood. Olive is allergic and Ethan avoids buffets like the plague. Now their siblings are trying to convince them to steal away on their honeymoon. Ethan and Olive have had a pretty hate-filled relationship from the beginning, so it could get interesting. Everything is about to change. 

 

I loved this enemies turned lovers story. These books are always a cute, fun read. I love quirky characters and that their story was not perfect. It’s fast paced and makes you want to finish it one sitting.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for my free review copy. All opinions are my own and I truly enjoyed this newest Christina Lauren book.

Review – A Pack of Blood and Lies

 

APOBAL

Title: A Pack of Blood and Lies

Author: Olivia Wildenstein

Rating: 5/5

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

 

   A Pack of Blood and Lies is one of the most engrossing books I’ve ever read. The story was immediately captivating and I loved the characters. The are a lot of Alpha males, but not in an off-putting way. In contrast to the Alpha males, Ness is an Alpha female and it mutes any negative feelings one might have to that aspect of the book.

 

   The story opens with Ness Clark. She is seventeen and she just recently lost her mother. Out of nowhere, an Uncle, Aunt, and Cousin show up to drag her back to Colorado. She had been away from there for six years living in California with her mother. She was cast out because she  is the only female in an all male werewolf pack.

 

   The pack is in the midst of selecting a new Alpha. Heath, the previous Alpha, is dead and his son, Liam Kolane, is favored for the position. There is a great deal of tension between Ness and Liam. She believes he is just as horrible as his father and at the same time she is drawn to him. He was running unopposed until Ness showed up and now they must fight for the position. There is a contest and at the end only one will be left standing.

 

   There is the they hate each other so much that there really are deeper feelings trope there, but it isn’t the whole focus of this story. It’s only a small part. Ness is trying to find her place among these people who cast her out and she also wants to prove that she can be a part of the pack just like the boys. Ness is strong, determined, and resilient. There are so many questions that she has to find the answers to. There is sexism, lies, secrets, and romance.

 

   There is always more to the story and I really need for there to be a sequel now. I’m heavily invested in Wildenstein’s characters and need to know what they will doing next.

 

   Wildenstein’s writing is fantastic. It was strong and eloquent. The plot was fast-paced and equally riveting.

 

   Thank you NetGalley and Twig Publishing for providing me with a free copy to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review – Beartown by Fredrik Backman

 

beartown

 

Title: Beartown

Author: Fredrik Backman

Publisher:Simon & Schuster

Rating: 5/5

 

This was my first introduction to Backman’s writing. He expertly handled this story dealing with such delicate subject matter. His use of multiple perspectives only enhanced the impact of this poignant story. He truly had his finger on the pulse of what it is like to live in a small town. It felt like a real place and so did his characters. This story is absolutely fantastic. It’s a page-turner, but it’s also extremely thought provoking and a great conversation starter. There is so much about this book that makes you cognizant of the topics that we need to cover with our children or just have open dialogue about as a society. There are so many topics in this that are relevant issues right now and that we see frequenting our newspapers. I think everyone should read this in order for us to be able to have greater empathy and to foster the deeper discussions we need to be having regarding these divisive issues.

 

This story was heartbreaking, but we see it happening far too often. I can’t wait to dive into the sequel and see what is happening in their community.

 

I don’t want to give too much of this one away, so here is the Goodreads synopsis:

 

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

 

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

 

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

 

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

 

Have you read this one? What did you think? Have you read the sequel?

Review – Enchantée by Gita Trelease

 

 

enchantee

Title: Enchantée

Author: Gita Trelease

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Rating: 4/5

     Gita Trelease’s debut novel Enchantée was exactly like the title, enchanting and delightful. This is a very unique story. It is young adult, fantasy, and historical fiction. I enjoyed Trelease’s story telling immensely.

     This story takes place in Paris in 1789. Camille Darbonne must take care of her brother and sister after her parents death. They contracted smallpox along with her younger sister who has been left weakened by the disease. Times are hard for the Durbonne children. Camille must use magic that allows her to turn metal scraps into coins in order to feed and house her family. Her brother has taken to drinking, gambling, and putting his sisters at risk. It all falls to Camille to make sure they survive.

 

    She discovers a form of darker magic  that allows her to transform herself into  ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ in order to gain entry to Versailles among the aristocrats to use her powers at the gambling table. The aristocrats are analogous to the magicians who benefit at the expense of the lower class. For magic, one must pay a high price. Who will pay the highest price? Lazare and Camille are a symbol of hope, change, and the blurring of class lines. The country is teetering on the edge of  Revolution as Camille is being tempted by the allure of the aristocracy and la magie. 

 

    The writing is beautiful. I loved the setting and could really feel the time and place. The slow build of the romance was perfect. Our female character is strong, resilient, and independent. This book will be published February 5, 2019.  Do yourself a favor and add this to your TBR list for early next year!

 

   Thank you Netgalley and Flatiron Books for my free eARC copy of this book. This is an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review – The Shadow of the Wind

 

theshadowofthewind

Title: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Publisher: Penguin Books

Source: I purchased for a read along

Links: Goodreads , Amazon

Rating: 4/5

   The Shadow of the Wind was equally dark and beautiful. The prose was eloquent and witty. I feel like it takes immense talent to write a story that is both disturbing and comical. This story is set in Barcelona in the year 1945. Daniel’s father owns a bookstore and he has a deep love of stories and words. He happens upon a book, The Shadow of The Wind by Julian Carax. This is a very rare book and not much is known about its author. It becomes Daniel’s ambition to learn more about the author and his writing. While he is trying to learn more, he ends up in the midst of a darker, dangerous plot. Someone has been destroying all of Carax’s work.

   This story has several elements. It’s a story about the love of reading and writing. There’s a mystery with several twists and turns. Also, there is a love story and a city that is in a severe state of turmoil post-war. There are characters that are deeply troubled and circumstances that absolutely break your heart.

   Zafón perfectly portrays a post-war world. There is tremendous chaos and people have seen or done some deplorable things. It may have permanently altered others; while  some characters demonstrate considerable resiliency. I feel like a great example of this would be Fermin’s character. He is definitely a shining light in this dark tale. He tries to find humor where he can despite his circumstances. War leaves no one untouched though. There will always be shadows left behind.