Sunday, July 1, 2018

Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman

Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman
Published by Ballatine Books
Published on June 5, 2018
Genre(s):Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Page Count: 352
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardback

Book Description: If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?

Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

Hello Again!

I am a fan of book clubs. I always have been. I enjoy being able to read a book and automatically having people to discuss it with. I had not heard of this book prior to seeing it on a post about Reese Witherspoon's Book Club. It looked promising and I agreed to "buddy read" it with a friend. Bonding over books is always great. 

The premise of this book caught my attention and I thought it would be a fun read. It started in such a way that I was not quite sure how it was going to proceed. In the very beginning, the author painted herself into a corner. I was intrigued about how she was going to write herself out of it so I continued. In some ways, I am glad that I did. It was interesting to see where the events were going to lead. With that said, too many of plot twists were predictable. Most of the characters were not likeable and greatly frustrating at times. I found myself wanting to shake the main character on more than one occasion. Large holes in story. One is not one hundred percent sure who is actually orchestrating what. 

I am rating this book Three Orange Books because it was a good debut novel. The potential was great but the finished story fell short. Too many loose ends left untied. Reader left wondering when it all truly began. Overall, it was a decent read. I am intrigued as to what the author may do for her next offering. I may recommend to some. 


Friday, June 29, 2018

Author Spotlight: Becky Albertalli


"Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It's Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta."

Published Works:
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
The Upside of Unrequited
Leah on the Offbeat
What If It's Us (with Adam Silvera) Expected publication date: October 9, 2018

Becky Albertalli has completely taken my by surprise. I had heard the hype about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and was hesitant to read it. Too much hype tends to push me away. I finally read it and was blown away. The hype was there for a reason. Truly likeable characters. Situations that people can relate to. Simon won me over but I feared that there was no way she could captivate me that way again. I was wrong. She keeps writing stories that pull the reader in. I have read and reread everything that she has offered and am patiently (not really) awaiting her next book. 

**Bio above is from her Amazon Page and is not my personal words.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
Published by Minotaur Books
Published on August 21, 2018
Genre(s): Suspense, Mystery/Thriller
Page Count: 304
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC Paperback

Description: The most twisty, addictive and gripping debut thriller you'll read this year.

HE LOVES YOU: Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam’s perfect, the man she thought she’d never meet.

BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT: Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

AND SHE'LL STOP AT NOTHING: Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

THE OTHER WOMAN will have you questioning her on every page, in Sandie Jones' chilling psychological thriller about a man, his new girlfriend, and the mother who will not let him go.

Hello Readers.

I was sent a copy of this book and was intrigued. The premise looked promising and I was optimistic. I have a special place in my heart for books if this nature. Who doesn't love a good mystery? I certainly do but I am often disappointed because I tend to figure them out early on. This one surprised me. That is not an easy thing to do. The characters were fantastic. Complex and intriguing. I found myself wanting to know more about them. 

I am rating this book Four Red Books because it was a wonderful read. There were some moments where I saw what was coming but was surprised overall. I would definitely read more by this author and highly recommend.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale by Ashley Poston

Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale (Once Upon A Con)
By Ashley Poston
Published by: Quirk Books
Published on: April 4, 2017
Genre(s): Romantic Comedy, YA, Adaptations
Page Count: 337
Source: Purchased
Format: ebook

Description: Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale romance.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Hello Readers.

Fairy tales are a part of our history. They are passed down from generation to generation. Morals and lessons wrapped up in details and scenarios. They stand the test of time and are present in almost every culture. This particular fairy tale, Cinderella has been linked to civilations as early as around 7 BC. It is one of the most loved and has thousands of retellings. I was excited to read this take on it.

I read the blurb on this book and had to buy it immediately. I love a good fairy tale. Add in the nerd culture element and I was all over this. This was beautifully written and captivated my interest. I found myself annoyed when I had to put it down to return to real life. Some of the characters had many dimensions. They developed and grew. Others stayed exactly the same the entire book. There were times where I went off on characters because I was so wrapped up in the story that I felt they had wronged me personally. This book continued in my head anytime I had to step away from it. I love when a book does that!

I am rating this book Four Red Books because it was a wonderful read but there were times where it lagged and times where it felt rushed. I look forward to reading more books in this series. Would definitely recommend.


Saturday, May 12, 2018


Question and Answer session with L. Penelope.

1. What inspired you to write this series? What came first: The characters or the world? What was your inspiration for the magic of Earthsong? Were you inspired by other books? Movies? 

When I first wrote this book, up until the time I gave it to my first editor, I thought it was going to be a novella. It was always meant to be a fairytale-esque story of a girl’s journey from the margins of society straight to its upper echelons. The characters Jack and Jasminda were there before the world was ever clear in my mind. The first scene I wrote was the one where they meet in front of her cabin. I knew they were from different, warring countries and they came from very different sorts of lives, but that was all. Through the magic of revision (lots and lots of revision) I discovered the journey that the characters would go on and all the conflicts they would face.

I love fantasy and there were so many inspiring series that I soaked in prior to writing the book, from Graceling by Kristin Cashore to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. But I think this book owes its biggest inspiration to the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. Her fantasy world felt well realized and complex, filled with incredibly detailed characters, groups, nations, and settings. But I also wanted to write a kinder, gentler fantasy novel that wouldn’t double as a doorstopper. And mix in a really strong romance like some of my favorites Nalini Singh or Kresley Cole.

2. What were your favorite scenes to write for SONG OF BLOOD AND STONE? What was the hardest scene to write? Is there a scene or moment that really sticks with you? 

Though Usher, Jack’s valet, spends relatively little time on the page, I loved writing the scenes with him and Jack. When two characters have known each other for a long time, it can be really fun to play with how to show their relationship. Usher has known Jack his entire life and so the way they interact is unique. I also loved writing the visions that Jasminda gets from the stone. They were in a different voice, from a totally different perspective and the peeked in on a vibrant, fully formed world that’s different to the one of the main story. Hardest to write were the ones where Jasminda is confronted with the racism and bias of Elsirans. 

The scene that sticks with me is when Jack and Jasminda are in the army base and he sleeps on the ground beside her, holding her hand. I find it really sweet and romantic. 

3. What advice would you give aspiring authors, especially authors or color, striving to have their stories and truths shared?

I would tell aspiring authors to really investigate your goals and be frank with yourself about why you want to do this. It’s a difficult path emotionally, creatively, and professionally and what will get you through the low points is being very clear about your “why”. It can also be incredibly rewarding, but knowing what you’re getting yourself into is key.

Writing and publishing are two different disciplines. Your “why” will inform whether you pursue traditional publishing or seek to self-publish. It will keep you going through rejections, delays, bad reviews, disappointment, and the imposter syndrome that we all go through. 

The other very important thing is to have a community to fall back on. Whether that’s a chapter of a professional organization like RWA, SFWA, SCWBI, and others, or a Facebook group, critique group, or writer’s circle, having others to commiserate and celebrate with you makes the journey much easier.

4. Is there a character in SONG OF BLOOD & STONE that you most relate to? How do you select names of your characters?

I think Jasminda represents various aspects of myself both as I am and as I’d like to be. She’s definitely bolder than I am, but her struggle to feel a part of things is one that I understand. 

As for naming my characters, for each nation, I asked questions about how the names should generally work. Things like: which prefixes and suffixes are common? Which letters and sounds are prevalent? Which letters or sounds either don’t exist or are more rare? So the Elsirans have a lot of double vowels in their names. Qs, Vs, and Zs are prominent, but there are no hard Cs. 

Lagrimari names generally don’t use Js. I set up which suffixes were for men and women and the types of sounds the names would have. There are only 9 last names in Lagrimar, corresponding with the Houses. Jasminda as a name is an exception. Her parents didn’t follow the naming conventions of either country for her or her brothers. Because their interracial relationship was unique, they wanted their children’s names to be distinctive as well.

5. What do you most hope that readers take away from SONG OF BLOOD AND STONE?

I really just hope readers enjoy the story and the characters. Jasminda is a heroine that I had been longing to see, so I hope people get as much joy and heartache from her story as I did when I wrote it. 

6. Can you tell us more about the next books in the series? What are you working on now?

Book 2, WHISPERS OF SHADOW & FLAME, follows a parallel timeline to SONG. It’s about Darvyn, a character we hear about in SONG who was the Earthsinger responsible for disguising Jack. The disguise’s failure gets Jack captured and he wonders what happened to Darvyn. So in WHISPERS, we find out. But it also pushes the story forward, showing what’s going on in Lagrimar in the days before the Mantle comes down and setting up the next challenge that Jack, Jasminda, and Darvynwill face.

Book 3, CRY OF METAL & BONE picks up the story of how Elsira and Lagrimar deal with the fall of the Mantle and the new threat facing the nations.

I’m also working on a brand-new series with dragons J.

7. What are your favorite books you would recommend to readers?

Among my favorites of all time are Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor and Sheltered by Charlotte Stein. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it there.


Song of Blood & Stone
By: L. Penelope
Published by St. Martin's Press

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and its people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their vicious captors and together embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

Intrigued? Below is an excerpt. Enjoy!


About the Author:

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt
Published by MIRA
Published on January 23, 2018
Genres: Women's Fiction, Mystery and Thriller
Page Count: 336
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardback

Description: How well do you really know your best friend?

Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they’re very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they’re each other’s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat’s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice’s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.

Hello Readers.

Wow! Just wow! I love a good mystery and I was definitely not disappointed with this one. The premise was fantastic. The characters were strong and interacted well. They were relatable and likeable. The scenarios were well thought out and were presented smoothly. Just when I thought that I had it totally figured out, I was thrown for a loop. Not many books do that for me so this was a very pleasant surprise. 

I am rating this book Five Blue Books because it had me on the edge of my seat on more than one occasion. It was well written and I will be looking more into this author. Highly recommend!