Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ARC Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the NightingaleTitle: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher/Publication Date: Del Rey; January 10, 2017 
Genre: Fantasy
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales...


My Thoughts:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is one of my most anticipated 2017 releases. I was very excited to finally start this one and wasn’t disappointed with what I read. The Bear and the Nightingale was a fantastic book. It is my new favorite thing. The writing was descriptive and atmospheric. The story, while slow to begin, was ultimately engaging and compelling, and the setting gave the book a fairytale like ambiance. I’ve come to the conclusion that The Bear and the Nightingale was just my kind of book.

The characters, well, there were some that I just didn’t enjoy reading about as much as others, but for the most part, they were great. Vasilisa was the main character of The Bear and the Nightingale. This was her story and it showed. I liked her personality. Most of all, I liked how she was just herself despite all that happened to her. Also, the horses—I won’t get into their role too much since it would be a spoiler, but they were fantastic and I loved them.

I think what I liked most about this book was the pace of the story. Typically, if a story moves too slowly it runs the risk of losing my interest. The Bear and the Nightingale was far from boring. This story had layers of detail found in the folklore and traditions. It had a lot going on, both in the character’s everyday lives, and the story that slowly unfolded around them. Religion and faith was one of the more prominent elements of the story, and I did like how it was incorporated into the lives of the characters.

The Bear and the Nightingale isn’t that short of a book, but I felt like it flew by so quickly. It was easy to get lost in the story, and those are the best kinds of books in my opinion. By the time the book ended, I was already wishing for more. I’m really impressed with this book, and I’m definitely going to continue on with this series.



Rating 4.5/5

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review, thank you!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!








Have A Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year! 
Reading on the Rocks




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review: Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

Key of Knowledge (The Key Trilogy, #2)Title: Key of Knowledge
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley; January 1, 2003
Genre: Romance; Fantasy
Source/Format: Purchased; Paperback

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Fate brings three women together for a chance to unlock their deepest desires. This is Dana’s quest…

Dana Steele has always found her greatest passion in books. But now her boss is making her job as a librarian a living hell. Luckily, she now has a Plan B. High on a hill overlooking the town of Pleasant Valley, Pennsylvania, sits the Warrior’s Peak estate. It’s where Dana was invited to meet Malory Price and Zoe McCourt—and where they learned that they were destined to find three keys to unlock a box holding the souls of three mythical demigoddesses: one an artist, one a bard, and one a warrior. With the promise of a million dollars each dangled before them, the women couldn’t refuse. And as Malory found the first key, they formed a fast friendship and decided to go into business together. For Dana, that meant her dream of owning a bookstore was about to come true. And now, as Dana finds herself on the threshold of some major life changes, it’s her turn to find a key. She has four weeks to unravel a riddle involving her past, present, and future, and to find the truth hidden among deception and lies—or succumb to her worst nightmare...



My Thoughts:

Every time I buy a Nora Roberts book, I always end up with the second book of a trilogy. This has happened twice now. I’ve heard of Nora Roberts before because my mom has a lot of her books, so I'm not totally unfamiliar with her work. I just haven’t kept up with which series was which.

Key of Knowledge is the first book I’ve actually read by Roberts, and I wasn’t disappointed. The story had a contemporary romance feel to it, but was combined with magical elements and mythology that I really enjoyed. There were gods and goddesses, prophecies, and even a little bit of a quest; romance, and a little action. Roberts knows how to set up a convincing atmosphere. There was always a sense of danger, even when the characters were going about their daily routine.

Going into the book there was a lot that I obviously missed, but it wasn’t hard to get into the story. Roberts writing was excellent, and the pace was good from start to finish. The characters were interesting. I especially liked the friendship between Dana, Malory, and Zoe. The romantic elements had a prominent role in Key of Knowledge, but honestly I didn’t mind it. I think Roberts handled that part of the story in such a good way. I liked the relationship between the characters a lot.

All-in-all, Key of Knowledge was just a great book. There was an emotional element to it that I really liked, and the story itself was great. So, I eventually want to read the rest of the trilogy, and will definitely check out other books by Nora Roberts.


Rating 5/5

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway & Review! Deadly Attraction by Misty Evans


About the Book

Title: Deadly Attraction
Series: SCVC Taskforce #6
Author: Misty Evans
Release Date: November 5, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Buy Links: Amazon /  iBooks / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

Book Summary:

***Part of the proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to Rescue Dogs Rock NYC. Fans who know me know I’m a huge dog lover and I love to support shelters. Please check out RDRNYC’s Facebook page and consider adopting a dog or sending in your own donation! https://www.facebook.com/RescueDogsRockNyc 

A wildfire out of control…

His twin brother is dead and the only way National Intelligence officer, Mitch Holden, is going to make it through the holidays is by staying focused on his latest SCVC Taskforce investigation—catching a homegrown terrorist with a penchant for arson. The terrorist has started a wildfire eating up thousands of acres of forest and putting dozens of people in danger. When Mitch is pulled off that assignment to play bodyguard to a sexy forensic psychologist who sees past all his defenses, he ends up in the middle of a personal wildfire that’s as out of control as the one burning around the two of them.

A killer on the loose…

The trial that should have made her career cost Dr. Emma Collins everything—her home, her future, the baby that was growing inside her after she testified against famous actor Chris Goodsman, debunking his insanity defense and sending him to prison for murder. Rebuilding her life in the aftermath, Emma now rescues horses, dogs, and juvenile delinquents, and there’s no way she’s heading to a safe house because Chris Goodsman has escaped. She refuses to let anyone terrorize her or destroy her life again. But when a smart-talking, irresistible federal agent shows up insisting he has to protect her, she realizes her new bodyguard needs a bit of therapy. Good thing taking in lost causes happens to be her specialty.

Two people filled with grief may get burned…

Trapped at the ranch by the wildfire, Mitch and Emma explore a searing attraction, but soon discover they’re not alone. A killer has joined them—one who will do anything to get revenge and isn’t afraid to take out anyone who gets in his way.

* * *

My Thoughts

Deadly Attraction by Misty Evans is another thrilling read with an ending that will not disappoint!

The beginning was well done.It introduced the core conflict of the novel as well as the characters. Mitch was mourning his brother and was tasked with a new assignment to protect the independent and feisty Dr. Emma Collins from a sociopath. As Mitch raced against time to save her, the imminent danger seemed all too real. And then the story took an interesting turn as the early chapters of the book dealt with characters who struggled with demons from their pasts. As such, there were times when the plot was character driven. Yet, I was kept in suspense regarding when and where Emma and Mitch would have to confront the sociopath. There were steamy moments. Then there were dark elements that are best described as cringe worthy. Although, the storyline didn’t unfold exactly as I imagined it, there were still sufficient plot twists and nail-biting moments that kept me turning the pages. 

Rating 4/5

I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

****CHECK OUT THE EXCERPT BELOW****

* * *

Excerpt from DEADLY ATTRACTION

The woman who answered the door wasn’t at all what Mitch expected.
Her brown hair was forced into a clip on top of her head, a couple pieces of hay sticking out of it and random strands stuck to her neck. Her face was devoid of makeup and sporting a healthy smear of dirt on her cheek. She clutched the edges of a worn plaid robe close to her neck, her short fingernails showing traces of caked mud. Beneath the hem of the robe stretched sexy bare legs, slender ankles, and Barbie-pink toenails.
Mitch fought to take his eyes off her shapely calves and bring them back up to her face. “Is Dr. Collins home?”
The porch light gave her face a subtle yellow glow. He couldn’t be sure about the color of her eyes. They looked brown one moment, then flashed a hint of green the next as she glanced behind him as if she expected the boogeyman to be in the shadows.
Maybe she did.
“I’m Dr. Collins. What is this about?”
“You’re Emma Collins?”
Those eyes of hers flashed again, but she replied evenly. “Dr. Emma Collins, yes. And you are?”
Damn. Definitely not what he expected a forensic psychologist to look like. Shouldn’t she be…older? More buttoned-up with a bun and glasses?
Maybe that was just his librarian fantasy getting in the way.
Mitch flashed his ID and she glanced at it. “Agent Mitch Holden. National Intelligence. Currently on loan to the Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce. May I come in?”
She was a good six inches shorter than him, her focus swinging up to return to his face. “I’m not in the habit of letting strange men into my house, Agent Holden, so no, you may not. Not until you tell me what this is about.”
Brown. Her eyes were definitely brown with specks of green in them. The specks caught the light like a cat’s eyes.
Get it together, Holden. Quit analyzing the woman’s eyes and get down to business. “Chris Goodsman escaped a transport out of the Hills today.”
Her face blanched. “What?”
She obviously hadn’t heard the news yet. “Victor Dupé asked me to get you to a safe house. He’s been trying to reach you, but with the wildfires and all, landlines have been overloaded and some of the local cell towers aren’t working.”
The mention of Dupé seemed to wipe away her hesitation about letting a strange man into her house. She stepped back and motioned him in, her pretty eyes once more scanning the shadows over his shoulder.
Two Labs, one black and one white, rushed Mitch, sniffing and wagging their tails.
“Hope you’re not allergic,” Collins said, closing the door behind her.
“Nah.” Cold noses met his fingers. They, too, had a dirt on their faces and hay in their short coats. “My brother and I always had dogs growing up.”
Collins snapped her fingers and the Labs retreated, heads down, tails still wagging. They flanked her, one on each side like bodyguards. She absently petted their heads, the V of her robe falling open enough for him to see tan skin and freckles dancing across her collarbone. “How did Chris escape?”
Chris. Sounded funny for the doctor to refer to the actor—a man she’d labeled a sociopath—by his first name. “The transport van was run off the road. Goodsman escaped, the driver was killed, another guard’s in serious condition. I don’t know all the details, but I’m sure Dupé can fill you in when he meets us at the safe house.”
Her nose wrinkled. “Have you been drinking?”
Shit. “Not enough to affect my reasoning or judgment skills, Dr. Collins. I assure you, I can keep you safe.”
Pushing off the door, she headed for the kitchen, a brightly lit room off to his left. “I’ll make you some coffee.”
Coffee sounded good. The tone in her voice—like she was reprimanding a kid about skipping school or not washing behind his ears—didn’t. “I had two sips of whiskey, that’s all, before I got the call to come protect you.”
He found himself following her into the kitchen, his gaze drawn to her ass as she reached up to grab a bag of coffee from a rough pine cabinet. “The holidays are hard on all of us,” she said.
So now she was presuming to know he hated Christmas and the emotional shitstorm it brought on? Yeah, maybe he did feel that way, but it was still annoying that within two minutes, she seemed to see right through him.
One of the Labs nuzzled his fingertips. Gritting his teeth, Mitch did his usual trick when someone probed into his personal life—turned the tables on them. “How is it hard on you? Your boyfriend dump you right before Christmas or something?”
She paused in pouring water into the coffee maker, but her face was serene when she glanced over at him. “Touchy subject, I take it?”
Guilt over lashing out at her clawed its way into his chest. Jesus, what was wrong with him? He was here to get her to a safe house, nothing more. Then it was back to a few last hours of vacation filled with moping and a twelve pack. Mac could keep his scotch. “Yes, actually, it is.”
She nodded and finished pouring the water, hit the switch. “Sorry. I’m sure this isn’t what you had planned for your Saturday night.”
It wasn’t what she’d planned either. Once more, he chastised himself for being so defensive over nothing. For being rude. “Look, I appreciate the coffee and the chitchat, but you need to pack a bag so we can get out of here.”
“I’m going to shower and get dressed.” She walked by him toward the living room and the stairs. “Help yourself to the cookies in the Snoopy jar on the counter.”
She was halfway up the stairs when she turned back and caught him ogling her ass. That same serene look crossed her features before she motioned at the door. “There’s a shotgun above the door, locked and loaded. Just in case.”
Huh. Interesting. A handsome Remington rested on hooks over the front door exactly like she claimed. He also noticed for the first time that there wasn’t a Christmas decoration of any kind inside the house.
No menorah or kinara either.
Was she atheist or some other religion? Did she simply hate the holidays as much as he did?
He tipped his head at her. “Good to know.”
“FYI, I also have a couple of weapons upstairs.”
Was she warning him or letting him know she didn’t need his protection? Either way, he found it cute. “Do you know how to use them?”
One of her dainty eyebrows arched. “Better help yourself to that coffee, Agent Holden. I’ll be back shortly.”
“We really need to get on the road.”
“If Chris is coming after me, I’d rather not smell like a barn when I have to confront him.”
She did smell. “You have livestock?”
“Horses. My practice involves therapy animals. You ride?”
“Just motorcycles, ma’am.”
She glanced at his black boots. “A similar type of therapy I’m told. No motorcycle tonight, though, huh?”
He hadn’t trusted himself on his bike. Too tempting to flee town, just him and his demons, and ride like hell. “Not tonight.”
“Too bad.”
She disappeared up the stairs, the Labs on her heels, before he could ask why.

* * *

About the Author

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Connect with Misty:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter / Pinterest

Giveaway Information

Tour-wide giveaway includes a $25.00 Gift Card to Amazon. Just fill out the Rafflecopter Form below to enter!


* * *

Blog Tour Schedule

Joyfully Reviewed
11/7/2016
Men Behaving Badly Book Blog
11/7/2016
So Many Reads
11/8/2016
Long and Short Reviews
11/9/2016
Lushbookreviews
11/10/2016
Cricket's Chirps
11/10/2016
The Book Beacon
11/11/2016
The Book Beacon
11/11/2016
Nicole's Book Musings
11/12/2016
Renee Entress's Blog
11/13/2016
Nerdy Dirty & Flirty
11/13/2016
C K Crouch
11/13/2016
Ariesgrl Book Reviews
11/14/2016
Becky on Books
11/15/2016
Reading on the Rocks
11/15/2016
Happiness is a book
11/16/2016
Blogging by Liza
11/16/2016
Straight Shootin' Book Reviews
11/17/2016
Em & M Books
11/17/2016
Booktalk with Eileen
11/18/2016
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog
11/18/2016







Thursday, November 3, 2016

ARC Review: Better Late Than Never by Jenn McKinlay

Better Late Than Never (Library Lover's Mystery, #7)Title: Better Late Than Never
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley; November 1, 2016
Genre: Mystery
Source/Format: First To Read; eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

In the latest Library Lover’s Mystery from the New York Timesbestselling author of A Likely Story, a decades overdue book puts library director Lindsey Norris hot on the trail of a cold case...

When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day—no fines for late returns—the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. In a bind, Lindsey drafts the crafternoon ladies to help check in and sort the stacks of books.

But one tardy tome catches her attention—a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she’s shocked to discover it was a murdered school teacher named Candice Whitley, whose killer was never found.

Candice checked out the novel on the day she was murdered. Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice’s killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue...



My Thoughts:

When I finally sat down to give Better Late Than Never (BLTN) a read, I wasn’t aware of the fact that this was part of a series—book seven to be exact. Regardless of what I didn’t know about the series, I still enjoyed the book.

Two of my favorite things are books and the library. I haven’t used my local library as much lately, but that’s beside the point. What I’m getting at is that Better Late Than Never by Jenn McKinlay seemed like my kind of book. And I was right. The main character was a librarian, the Briar Creek Public Library played an important role in the plot, and the mystery was established early on in the book.

One of my favorite aspects turned out to be the mystery surrounding the overdue library book. McKinlay did a good job with her use of the typical cozy mystery elements—amateur sleuth, small town setting, a mystery that finds its way into the hands of the main character, etc.. I found it hard to put the book down.

The characters were wonderful. I really liked Lindsey, the sleuthing librarian. Her perspective was interesting, and I liked how she approached the case, even if she was asked to stay out of it. I also like how McKinlay established the relationships between the characters—from friends, to family, and even romantic interests.

At the end of the day, BLTN is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2016. Now I kind 
of want to see where Lindsey’s adventures all began. 

Rating 5/5

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (publisher) for this review, thank you!

About the author...

Jenn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series and will be debuting a new women's fiction series in June 2017, starting with the title About a Dog. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband's guitars...


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