by Monica Hesse Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Release Date: April 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal; her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else–her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja–they went left.
Zofia’s last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once.
But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her–or help her rebuild her world.
Monica Hesse is the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat, American Fire, and The War Outside, as well as a columnist at The Washington Post writing about gender and its impact on society. She lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and their dog.
Hello Book Friends! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Here are my March reading stats for the month! I am pretty happy with my month overall, considering I had a period where I was struggling to do anything! How was your month? Read any new favorites? Here is the the breakdown of my month.
Physical Book – 3
Ebook including ARCs – 4
Audio books -5
Library – 3
Re-Read – 3
2 – 3 Star
2 – 3.5 Star
4 – 4 Star
4 – 4 Star
Break Down By GenreContemporary Romance – 6
That Night in Paris by Sandy Baker – 4 Stars
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – ReRead – 5 Stars
This Is Not How It Ends by Rochelle B Weinstein – 3.5 Stars
Only When Its Us by Chloe Liese – 4 Stars
The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren – 3 Stars
Happily Whatever After by Stewart Lewis – 4 Stars
Contemporary Fiction – 2
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center – ReRead – 4 Stars
Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie Grazer – 3 Stars
Historical Fiction – 1
The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah – 5 Stars
Historical Romance – 1
Hunting for a Highlander by Lynsay Sands – 5 Stars
Paranormal Romance – 1
Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh – ReRead- 5 Stars
Young Adult – 1
The June Boys by Court Stevens – 3.5 Stars
My favorites for the month were The Great Alone and my reread of Wolf Rain!
Darkness L.C. Mawson (Freya Snow, #15) Publication date: March 27th 2020 Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Freya thought her fight was over.
She was wrong.
After finally defeating Lord Uther, Freya fell into a holding pattern. With her husband and daughter gone, there was nothing for her to do except wait for change.
But when her girlfriend lights a rescue beacon, it becomes apparent that all is not as quiet as Freya thought.
And saving those she cares about might mean facing the darkness that has always plagued her…
DARKNESS is the fifteenth and final book in the Freya Snow urban fantasy series, which starts out as YA and follows Freya’s magical adventures through to university and into adulthood. If you like kick-ass, sarcastic heroines, immersive magical worlds beneath our own, and love that crosses the lines of magical feuds, then you’ll be instantly hooked on L.C. Mawson’s fast-paced urban fantasy series.
The wolf huffed as a plate of food appeared by her bedside.
Not food for the wolf, food for the girl.
She buried herself deeper into the blankets around her, willing herself to fall back to sleep, but her empty stomach wouldn’t let her.
Saying that she would rather starve than turn back was always a compelling thought in the moment, but she always, eventually, relented.
Fur retracted back into her skin as her bones warped, returning her form to that of a woman.
And her mind, as well.
She cringed as the now-familiar blanket of grief and guilt enveloped her.
It was unbearable.
The palace cook had filled her plate with curry, the one thing Freya had been able to keep down for months.
She had no idea why, but at least it was something.
Freya was still sure that she would prefer raw meat that the wolf could stomach, but she knew that she couldn’t ask for that.
She hadn’t even asked for this.
It had presumably been the result of the palace staff realising that she didn’t eat anything else they sent her.
Guilt gnawed further at her at that thought.
She would prefer it if they just ignored her, but she supposed that there was no way they ever would.
She was the one who paid their wages, after all. If she starved…
Well, Damon would still be there. And Katherine.
Maybe if Freya starved, they would finally be able to return home.
Her door opened, and Freya grabbed her blanket to pull it around herself before glaring at the intruder.
“I’m not dressed,” she growled at Rodrick, the wolf still in her throat.
He, infuriatingly, didn’t seem to react at all. “You’re never dressed. But I needed to see you while you were in humanoid form. I do not know if the wolf can understand me, but she never turns back when I request it, she just goes to sleep.”
The wolf did understand him, she just didn’t care.
“No, but it has been too long. And as you were indisposed, I asked Prince Damon. He agreed that I should go ahead.”
Flames flared across Freya’s skin. “I thought I told you not to bother Prince Damon while he’s away from the Palace.”
“My Queen, you have been indisposed for weeks. While Lord Uther’s death, and the birth of Princess Katherine, means that things are now quiet, there are still some matters which cannot be ignored. If you will not deal with them, Prince Damon will have to.”
“What matters could possibly be so important? The nobles are just bitching like always.”
“And like always, they need their Queen to help them see sense. Otherwise squabbles will turn into something rather more dangerous. You did just avert a civil war, My Queen. It would be prudent not to let another fester while you’re distracted.”
“Fine,” Freya said as she steeled herself as she wrapped her blanket around her, forcing herself out of her bed and towards the bathroom.
She probably needed a shower. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had one.
Wolves didn’t need them.
“Prince Damon will arrive here in an hour,” Rodrick said before leaving the room.
Some say she’s an ancient creature of nightmare that was unleashed from beneath the ocean, come to devour the souls of men. Others say that she’s a cosmic being from the beyond the stars that has taken corporeal form to learn our ways for some unknown end…
In truth, L.C. Mawson lives in a tower in the middle of a haunted forest, far from civilisation and is definitely (probably?) not a witch who curses those who trespass upon her land. And she definitely cannot turn into a dragon that flies over cities in the dead of night and whose cries are often mistaken for an approaching storm. Where did you hear that? That’s absurd…
The only contact she has with humanity is publishing a book once a month, which is definitely just for fun and not part of an ancient contract with a trickster god.
Reverend of Silence Pamela Sparkman Publication date: January 14th 2020 Genres: Coming of Age, Historical, Young Adult
A coming of age story about faith, love, and overcoming society’s prejudices during the American Antebellum period.
In 1810, Lucy Hallison suffered from a severe illness at the age of three, and later recovered, a deaf-mute. Unable to relate to the world in which she lives, she’s often ignored and sometimes treated with cruelty. Until a boy, Samuel Burke, steps into her life at the tender age of seven, coloring her world and showing her what it means to be seen, to not be invisible, to be understood.
The two become inseparable childhood friends, and as they grow and mature, there is the promise and hope of something more that also grows between them. But the hope of something more is put on hold so she can attend The American Asylum at Hartford for the Deaf and Dumb, the first of its kind, requiring her to leave the only home she’s ever known and the only boy she’s ever loved.
But while she is away, tragedy strikes, and Samuel is now the one unable to relate to the world in which he lives, unable to find his own voice, and withdrawing from everyone and everything he’s ever known.
When Lucy returns home from school, she has one goal in mind—to put color back into his world the way he had once put color into hers.
Because Samuel Burke had been her voice when she had needed him most.
Now, she is determined to be his.
Note: Inspired by real people and true historical accounts.
Papa Burke removed his spectacles, then rubbed a hand down his face. He looked like he had aged ten years in the last ten days. He pulled out a chair at the kitchen table and gestured for me to sit across from him as he put his spectacles back on.
I sat and waited for him to answer my question, the one I hadn’t asked him. Why? Why had Sam ordered me from his room? My hand came to rest over my heart. It ached from his rejection.
Days. I had spent days at his bedside, waiting for him to wake up, hoping that he would, caring not only for him but for his parents every second of those days. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think he would toss me out the moment he did. If he had kicked me in the teeth, I don’t think it would have hurt this badly. It took everything in me not to cry right here at this table.
Papa Burke leaned forward, his eyes searching mine. “I’m sorry,” he signed. “You didn’t deserve that.”
My eyes burned. I knew that. I wanted him to tell me something I didn’t know. I leaned forward as well and asked, “Why was I tossed out?”
He tapped his fingers on the table, a silent beat I couldn’t hear. He looked like a man trying to gather thoughts to put into words. I waited, watching his fingers as they moved up, down, up, down. Until his fingers went still. Then they formed the words, “Sam doesn’t want you to see him like this. He feels weak.”
I frowned, signing my response. “I don’t fault him for being weak. He’s injured!” I stood, feeling agitated. “He’s had a fever! He almost died! I know he’s weak!”
Papa Burke also stood and came to stand before me. “Not that kind of weak.”
I blinked, trying to understand his meaning.
“He doesn’t feel like a man.” Papa Burke eyed me pointedly. “He has no pride. He doesn’t want you to see him like that,” he emphasized, pointing above our heads to the second floor.
I reclaimed my seat and shut my eyes. Stupid, stupid man. Yet, at the same time, my heart broke all over again. For Sam. I knew from watching my father how hard men could be on themselves. I’d just never thought Sam would.
Papa Burke put his hand on my shoulder. I glanced up.
“Go home, Lucy.”
My breath caught. That was the first time I’d been issued that command. Everyone was tossing me out? No one needed me anymore? Noah had left without saying goodbye, and now the Burkes were telling me to leave?
“I don’t want to go home,” I signed with a trembling hand.
Papa Burke’s face was sad. He lifted me up to stand. His hug was sympathetic. He released me and said, “Then go back to school. Sam needs some time.”
My nose tingled. My jaw ached. My eyes stung. My chest felt like it was being cut from the inside. Sam needed time. He just didn’t need me. Message received.
I glanced around the room, taking in all the details and all the memories. I packed them all away, but I didn’t know where to place them. My heart felt too fragile. My mind too burdened.
So I left them right where they were and walked out the door.
Pamela Sparkman grew up in Alabama. She became an avid reader at a young age. The written word has always fascinated her and she wrote her first short story while still in elementary school. Inspiration for her stories always begins with a song. She believes music is the pulse of life and books are the heart of it.
When she isn’t writing, however, she’s spending time with her family and taking one day at a time.
Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Sensational is the thrilling follow-up to Spectacle in which a killer haunts the Paris World’s Fair of 1889.
The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.
Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.
Book 1 Info
by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.
Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.
When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.
This is the second book in a duology that follows our main character Nathalie. Nathalie inherited her power from her father and it manifests itself when she touches a body or glass infant of one so she can determine if they were murdered or not. Her power works as a vision from the killers perspective right before the victim dies. This book follows Nathalie and her friends as she tries to find the killer who is beheading his victims in the fashion of the French Revolution including using a guillotine. The victims were all found around The World’s Fair that was taking place in Paris in 1889 and intooduced the Eiffel Tower.
I really enjoyed the story of Nathalie and her friends. I also thought the premise of how the blood magic worked. I found it unique and interesting. I also loved the setting, Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world and I loved following around these characters. I think it would have been so cool to experience the world exposition in Paris at that time. The Eiffel Tower was completed for this exposition and I enjoyed reading more about it. Every time the author mentioned something interesting I found myself going to down the rabbit hole of google to learn more about them. I never knew that the morgue was a tour destination at this time and that people would line up all day just to see the bodies they had on display. I also learned that vin de coca was wine laced with cocain and this led to the making of coke-a-cola. I love when a book can teach me things I didn’t already know.
What I didn’t like about the book was that the author would intermix French terms and phrases and at times I found this to be distracting. A lot of them were common phrases but a few I had never heard before and had to look them up. I was also disappointed by the ending of this book, I felt that it rushed the ending of the characters after figuring out the mystery. I wanted a little more for the characters that I had come to know while reading their story. Overall this was still a fun read and if you like your history with a little bit of magic then this is a great pick!
Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History and an MBA. She enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, traveling, doing races (to offset being a foodie), and posting cat photos to Instagram. She works in technology and lives in North Carolina by way of Massachusetts.
A psychic so powerful his abilities come at a cost. A woman so special she alone has the power to touch him.
Detective Isaac Taylor is a broken man. Isolated by his strange abilities and what others perceive as weird behavior, he keeps his head down and excels at his job. But he hears the whispers of his colleagues and family members, and he feels like a freak among them. Then one wrong number phone call changes everything.
Sidney Fairchild is no stranger to danger. She’s a woman on the run, in hiding and existing below the radar. Despite her efforts to stay invisible, she witnesses a crime she knows could get her killed. Then she answers a wrong number phone call that changes her life.
Bound by their undeniable connection, Isaac and Sidney forge a bond stronger than anything either has ever known. But will his psychic abilities save her or lead to their mutual destruction?
Voices & Visions is book 1 in Touched, a new romantic suspense series. If you like compelling characters, realistic dialogue, and heartwarming bromances, then you’ll love this new thought-provoking series from Lashell Collins.
“Can we talk about what happened back at the safe house?” she asked, finally breaking the awkward silence.
“I’m not sure rehashing that shootout is such a good idea, Sid. It’s only going to make you feel lower than you already do.”
“No, I don’t mean that.”
“Oh.” He glanced at her again and knew immediately what she wanted to talk about.
“You said that when you touch someone, you can see things about their life somehow? Things about their past or what’s going on with them.”
“When we met at the restaurant and you shook my hand… you saw something then, didn’t you? That’s why you looked at me the way you did.”
The intrigue in her light brown eyes held his attention captive for a moment, but the certainty in her voice told him there was no point in trying to sidestep her question. He pulled his gaze away from hers and swallowed.
“Yeah, I did.” His reply was quiet, resigned to the notion that their earlier conversation on this subject wasn’t quite finished.
“What did you see?”
The images came back to him in technicolor, every detail crisp and fresh in his mind. But he knew he couldn’t tell her about them. Not until he’d had a chance to sort them out. He couldn’t tell her that the flashes he’d seen involved him. Involved them. Together. Scenes from their future presumably.
But what was it they always said in those science fiction shows he and Adam loved to watch as kids? That the future wasn’t set in stone, and any glimpse of it was just one possible outcome.
Of course, that was science fiction. This?
He had no clue what the hell this was.
Lashell Collins is an American author of romantic suspense, paranormal romance and rockstar romance. She walks to the beat of her own drum, but that’s okay ’cause she’s got a pretty good sense of rhythm. Basically, she’s a geeky, quirky, laid-back, rocker-loving kinda girl who’s married to a retired cop, motorcycle-riding, bad-boy alpha all her own, and she likes to write about sexy police officers, werewolves and rockstars, or some inventive combination of the three!
When she’s not busy tapping away on her laptop and living vicariously through her characters, she can usually be found watching Grimm, rocking out to Slash, stuffing her face full of Chinese food, or riding on the back of her husband’s Harley-Davidson. Between her book characters and the ones she knows in real life, her plate stays pretty full. But she loves to hear from readers, so give her a shout sometime!
Legacy: The Awakening Liza Malloy (Legacy trilogy, #1) Publication date: March 30th 2020 Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
College student Jessica craves a stable, ordinary life. But when she meets the alluring and irresistible Aiden, her life takes a thrilling turn. Jessica knows there’s something different about Aiden, but she’s shocked when she learns his secret. The further Jessica delves into Aiden’s world, the more consumed she becomes with him.
Heir to the throne of a secret kingdom of supernatural beings, Aiden yearns to fulfill his destiny. But from their first encounter, Jessica captivates Aiden. Aiden is certain that Jessica is his only chance at true happiness. But Aiden can’t deny that his presence in Jessica’s life threatens to destroy the very things he loves about Jessica—her generosity, compassion and innocence.
As Jessica finds her life filling with peril she never imagined, she must decide how much she’s willing to risk for love. And Aiden must choose whether to embrace his legacy or follow his heart.
Intensely compelling and powerfully gripping, The Awakening is the seductive first installment to the Legacy trilogy, an unforgettable, epic love story.
“So, we’re friends?” I turned to him as I spoke and read the regret on his face.
“Jessica, I’m sorry about last night.”
I felt my eyes warming up and willed myself not to cry.
Aiden reached for my hand. “I like you Jessica. Of course we’re friends, but I’m also…” He sighed. “We’re different, you and I, and we’re in completely different places now. It was wrong of me to kiss you.”
We stopped near the dry creek-bed, still holding hands. I glanced over at Aiden and realized he was watching me again, that same look on his face. He wanted me and I knew it, but something was restraining him.
Neither of us spoke for a moment.
“Aiden, the last time we were here, and I made that joke…” I paused.
I nodded, my heart racing in anticipation of pushing him away after he’d finally opened up to me. “It was only a joke,” I reiterated. “But I feel like you are hiding something or holding back.” I swallowed audibly.
He inhaled sharply and stepped closer to the water.
I followed him, but kept a few feet between us. “Aiden, I like you, and I want to know you better. I won’t judge you. I just want to know.”
“What do you want to know?” he asked, his voice so quiet I could barely make out his words.
“Everything. I want to know you, Aiden.” I bit my lip to keep from shouting at him, from insisting that he knew exactly what it was that I wanted to know, that I was the one who had no idea what he was hiding.
I blew out a sigh. “Why do you move around so often? Why can’t I go in your house? Why do you and your brothers all have long hair? Why couldn’t your sister wear a ponytail?” I held my breath and stepped closer, feeling uncharacteristically brave. “How did you know to get me out of that fire?”
Aiden turned towards me slowly, his head down. “Jessica, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have started anything with you. I just can’t…” He sighed, then made eye contact. “I can’t answer your questions. And we can’t be together, so I shouldn’t have kissed you.”
Without thinking, I leaned into him, pressing my lips into his. He hesitated, but then I felt his mouth respond to mine, his warm lips opening for me, the tip of his tongue gently tickling my lips.
I broke off the kiss before he could reject me again. “I know you care about me,” I said firmly, empowered from my boldness.
“I do,” he agreed willingly. “But that’s why I can’t…”
“Bullshit!” I interrupted. “I’m already involved in whatever it is, so you might as well tell me the truth. What are you hiding? You can trust me.”
Aiden’s eyes quickly darted around, scanning the woods behind me. Apparently satisfied we were alone, he turned back to me, locked his eyes on mine, then tucked his hair behind his ears.
I was so captivated by his stare, with those unnaturally vibrant eyes, that it took a moment for me to register that he was showing me something. I blinked, and refocused on all of him, not just his eyes. And then, I saw it.
Liza Malloy writes contemporary romance, new adult romance, women’s fiction, and fantasy romance. She’s a sucker for alpha males, bad boys, dimples, and muscles, and she can’t resist a man in uniform. Liza loves creating worlds where the heroine discovers her own strength and finds her Happily Ever After. When Liza isn’t reading or writing torrid love stories, she’s a practicing attorney. Her other passions include gummy bears, jelly beans, and the occasional marathon. She lives in the Midwest with her four daughters and her own Prince Charming.
Kind of Famous Mary Ann Marlowe Publication date: April 7th 2020 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Layla Beckett has a secret. For the past ten years, she’s run the most trafficked fan site on the Internet for her favorite band—under an alias, naturally. When she lands a job at the prestigious New York City music magazine The Rock Paper, she’s suddenly thrust into the world she’s only observed from the cheap seats. Now that she’s brushing elbows with sexy guitarists and hot frontmen, she wants to play it cool and keep her superfan status on the down low. Although she’s dying to gush on her forum, posting her insider adventures online could expose her real-life identity and blow her cover.
And that’s all before one of those sexy musicians becomes a fan of her.
From the minute he meets Layla, Shane Morgan’s heart beats a heavy metal rhythm, but his head is full of doubt. Since only the most hardcore fans could pick the drummer out of a lineup, he’s resigned to groupies using him to get closer to the more famous guitarists. But he doesn’t want to be Layla’s passthrough.
As Layla gets to know the real people behind the music, she’s drawn to the less-than-flashy drummer’s sweet charms, fascinating mind, and banging hot body, but she worries about his insecurities. She needs to convince Shane she’s moved beyond fandom before he discovers her online history and loses all faith in her intentions.
But the Internet is forever, and secrets have a way of getting out.
The moon shone bright, but Shane’s eyes remained dark as the deepest ocean. He blinked twice and ran his thumb down my cheek to my chin. I confess that I’d had some illicit fantasies about the guys in the band, but I’d never felt the one-two punch to the gut that I got when his hand slid around the back of my neck and he pulled me forward to press his lips against mine.
He drew back, slowly enough that his lips continued to touch mine for a lingering moment, and I opened my eyes before he did. He looked like he’d tasted ice cream for the first time and wanted to savor it. My mind reeled with questions, and I had this crazy thought that I wished he were more famous so I’d have read something about him on the Internet before, so I’d know who he was and what I might be getting myself into.
If he were like Adam, I’d know to grab hold of him and never let go. If he were like Noah, I wouldn’t want to give him the time of day.
But those lips.
A tiny smile lit his face. “Should I apologize again?”
With that, I threw caution to the wind and twisted both hands into his T-shirt. He laughed when I pulled him back into a less hesitant kiss, but his laughter stopped when my tongue brushed his, and he spun us around so he could press me up against the metal door behind us.
It had been a long time since I’d been physical with a man. Way too long.
Shane’s lips teased mine, and I felt like I’d lived in a desert my whole life, never knowing that water existed. Suddenly I’d fallen into a deep pool. It might turn out to be an oasis, or I might drown, and I didn’t care. My fingers traced his cheek, then brushed his neck, and his body responded in shivers. He lifted the edge of my shirt and explored my lower back, creeping up my spine until he reached my bra.
I’d lost track of where we were. Everything was him. His mouth on mine. His hands on me. His skin. His . . . I gasped. He pressed harder into me, and I ground back, need flaring inside me.
He took the first step away. “Layla.” The fact that his voice came out ragged and breathless only made me want to tear his shirt off and spend the next ten hours licking every inch of him while he said my name.
Some Kind of Magic is Mary Ann Marlowe’s first novel. When not writing, she works by day as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms, plus she has a second-degree black belt. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel. She now lives in central Virginia where she is hard at work on her second novel. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.maryannmarlowe.com, on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/marlowemaryann/, and at twitter.com/maryannmarlowe.
Hello Book Friends! How was everyone’s March? I finished another 3 books so I am pretty happy with how it ended. I hope everyone is staying safe!
Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie Grazer – 3 Stars I listened to this one on audio and I am glad I did. I’m not sure I would have finished it otherwise. I found the main character to be somewhat obnoxious. It felt like most of the book was just an inner monologue. At times she was rude and sarcastically mean. I don’t really have a lot to say about this one.
The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren – 3 Stars I found this one to be just ok. I thought the premise was cute but wished that there was more back story and development between the two main characters. Everything that happened in this book takes place in about 3 months and I felt it was all rushed. I still think the authors did a good job of developing the characters, they made me really dislike one and to me that’s good writing. If you like Clo then I would recommend this one, I would just not choose this one to be your first by them.
Happily Whatever After by – 4 Stars Happily Whatever After was not what I was expecting. I thought this would be another cute rom-com but it turned out to be so much more. Page is hitting her mid thirties and has moved in with her brother after she was dumped and let go from her job in the same week. While trying to figure out what to do Page spends time at the local dog park where she makes some new friends and develops a crush on one of the dog owners. I really enjoyed Page’s journey to find out who she is and what she wants in life. I also loved all the friends she made at the dog park and her relationship with her family. I do wish there was a little more romance because thats what I thought I was getting. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun and laugh out loud lighthearted story. This book Comes out July 28th 2020. Thank you to Netgalley for my early copy. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Baptism of Fire Jessie Thomas (Playing With Hellfire, #1) Publication date: March 31st 2020 Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Welcome to Perdition Falls, New York: where arson is considered a recreational activity, the abnormally hot climate makes everything unbearable, and according to one origin story shrouded in myth and legend, our city is an actual Hellmouth.
I’ve learned those infernal tales aren’t just a cheap marketing ploy to lure in tourists and paranormal frauds.
It’s Hell. We’re literally sitting on top of Hell. Fire, brimstone, actual demons–the works.
When an incendiary–the name other pyromancers have given to the infestation of Hellfire-wielding demons–kills my closest friend and fellow firefighter, I’m left with a rare power I barely understand. It’s the only reason I survived. It also makes me a target, something to be coveted by those who know Perdition Falls’ most dangerous, well-kept secrets.
While a demonic arsonist puts the city’s resident pyromancers on edge, I’m reunited with my long-lost childhood friend Javier, who shares the same strange power that runs through my veins. With him, I find my footing in a place I thought I knew and buried memories from our past start to resurface. As our ragtag group comes together, we become the last defense against the incendiaries’ corrupt hold on the city…one completely disastrous mission at a time.
But taking down this homicidal demon with a flair for pyromania might mean trusting one of their own. BAPTISM OF FIRE is a thrilling, slow burn urban fantasy perfect for fans of McKenzie Hunter, Annette Marie, C.N. Crawford, and K.F. Breene.
There was no way to know for sure how long I’d been out. It could have been moments. Maybe two minutes or five. I blinked slowly, staring up at the gaping hole we’d dropped through that was now barely visible through the layer of blackening smoke, afraid to move as my body regained consciousness. Everything hurt. That was the first thing I felt—the pain of bruised, strained muscles, the agony that had traveled up my left side.
The next thing was the heat. The upstairs hallway looked unrecognizable now, a narrow passage engulfed in fast-moving smoke and an inferno that blazed up the walls with an overpowering intensity that shouldn’t have been possible. I’d sweated through my clothes, the fabric drenched, my skin and hair dripping with salty perspiration. My helmet had rolled away somewhere during the collision with the floor, and I knocked into Moretti’s with my elbow once I finally decided that lying there waiting for the house to come down on top of us wasn’t that great for self-preservation.
Over the steady whoosh of the flames demolishing the rooms around us, I heard the melodic chirp of his PASS alarm. A noise I dreaded hearing, a source of nightmares.
And it got me moving.
I sat up and almost regretted it, black spots dancing across my vision as a blinding, gnawing pain spiked through my side. Like it had torn its way in deep, shredding muscle and tissue and causing serious damage. With a shaking hand, I dragged my gloved fingers over my turnout coat to find some kind of debris—I had no damn idea what it was, and at this point I didn’t want to know—sticking out of my left side. I lifted my glove to my sightline to see it smeared with dark crimson.
The gasping whine that echoed in my mask didn’t sound like me at all.
Moretti’s alarm brought me back to my senses. No time.
My pain didn’t matter, not now. I had to work through it.
Groaning, I stayed low to the floor, crawling on all fours to where Moretti lay sprawled and motionless. Every movement pierced the jagged wound in my side, made the heat and the sweat and misery worse. I leaned over him, relieved when I saw the rise and fall of his chest. The orange glow from the fire highlighted the edges of his dark hair, traced the swell of his cheekbones with deep shadows. In the light, I noticed the bright red trickling down one side of his face from somewhere under his hairline.
I tapped his cheek with an open palm. “Moretti,” I called. “Hey, Moretti…come on, open your eyes. Anthony, I need you to wake up.”
“Phoenix!” That was Ramos, her distant shout crackling over our radios. “Moretti! This place is starting to come down!” Well, shit, I hadn’t noticed.
“You have to evacuate now,” Patterson ordered.
“I can’t,” I snapped. “Moretti’s down. He’s…he’s down, but breathing.”
“The stairs are blocked,” Ramos yelled back. “We’re working on it, hang in there.”
Blocked with what? Nothing about this fire made any sense, so why would it start now?
I didn’t know how badly Moretti was hurt, which made me hesitant to move him. But if we didn’t get out of this hallway—no matter how quickly the rest of our team might’ve been working—then we weren’t going to get out of here at all. On my knees, I grabbed the straps of his SCBA and started dragging him around the minefield of burning debris toward the stairs. I grit my teeth against the pain until my jaw ached, exhaling sharply through my nose as I pulled him along with me.
It wouldn’t have been this unbearable if I hadn’t been fucking impaled. Sweat dripped down my forehead into my eyes and I tried to blink it away. With blood loss and the temperature in the hallway, the edges of my vision had turned hazy.
“It’s all right, Anthony,” I said as if he could hear me. “Stay with me.”
The heat flared, a sudden, familiar torrent of hot air passing over us, stoking the same dread I’d felt earlier. A silhouette emerged from the thick smoke and sauntered through the flames, not at all concerned about the heat or the danger of blistering skin and third-degree burns. I peered at the shadow that definitely hadn’t been there seconds before, watching them take shape, the details becoming clearer. A man stood on the opposite end of the hallway dressed in all black, white-gold reflecting off his sleek leather jacket. An arrogant, knowing grin curved his lips into a sneer. He was young. Dangerous.
He’d been with us in the attic.
I didn’t know how, but he’d started this fire.
Jessie Thomas is a writer of young adult and new adult fiction from Buffalo, New York. An avid reader and history nerd at heart, she enjoys writing historical fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance with atmospheric settings and dark themes. When she isn’t chasing her muses around, Jessie can be found playing with her snaggle-toothed cat named Graham.