Review: Sugar & Gold by Emma Scott

Sugar & Gold
Series: Dreamcatcher, #2
Author: Emma Scott
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Fantasy
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Nikolai Alexei Young was born with a special gift…one he’d do anything to lose. The heart and soul of every person he comes into contact with is an open book to his heightened senses. Colorful emotions, whispers of thoughts, the sour tastes of old memories…He feels them all. The sci-fi books would call him an empath. For Nikolai, his ability has made him an exile. He roams the U.S. alone, avoiding the glut of life in big cities, and using his innate talents to win money in underground poker games. Just enough to keep going, one town to the next. He has no hope that his life can be anything else, until he meets her…

At nineteen, Fiona Starling was trapped in an ugly, desperate situation until she freed herself the only way she knew how. Now three years later, living outside Savannah, Georgia, she is rebuilding her life on her own terms; seizing every moment and saving every penny so that she might fulfill her dream of moving to the raw wilderness of Costa Rica. But behind her carefree smile beats the heart of a lonely young woman haunted by her past, until a chance encounter with a tattooed stranger changes everything…

Fiona takes Nikolai under her roof for three sultry nights, waiting out the rain of a summer storm. She grows more and more fascinated by this brooding stranger with whom she shares an intense physical connection—a connection so strong, she wonders if there is something between them beyond lust and passion. Nikolai is shocked to discover that Fiona calms the raging turmoil in his heart. She alone silences the din of other people’s lives, and envelops him in the sweet beauty of her inner self. Every moment he’s with her—every touch of her skin—brings him closer to the peace that’s been eluding him his entire life.

But Fiona harbors secrets that she is too terrified to reveal. After Nikolai confesses his unique ability, she is caught between wanting to believe him and fearing he’ll eventually unearth her own dark past. When the unthinkable happens, Fiona’s plans come crashing down, and Nikolai discovers his hated ability might be the only thing that can save the woman he loves.


Sugar & Gold was a brilliant story of two broken people finding love and comfort where they least expect it. Fiona, ready to flee to the wild of Costa Rica, had no plans for love. Love was what broke her in the first place. Nikolai has a gift for seeing and feeling emotions from the people he comes in contact with. It’s made him unwelcome by those he loves the most. He never thought a one night distraction could bring him the peace he craves.

I really loved this book. I’m a little surprised by that. You see, I’m not really one for paranormal stuff in books. I like my fiction to be realistic. But I really, really loved it in Sugar & Gold. Nik’s gift was so well woven into the story. It gave him a connection with Fiona that went above and beyond what would have been in my realistic fiction. I adored their relationship and couldn’t imagine it without Nik’s colors.

Not only did Sugar & Gold have the whole paranormal thing going for it, but it also had some great twists. I couldn’t have foreseen where this story was headed. I loved the turn it took and how everything worked out. I especially loved the epilogue.

If you want to feel all the feels, reach for an Emma Scott book. She won’t let you down. She always crafts a sweet story filled with raw emotions. I was completely captivated by Sugar & Gold. It was just so beautiful. I highly recommend it.

Review: The Guests on South Battery by Karen White

30068929The Guests of South Battery
Series: Tradd Street, #5
Author: Karen White
Publication Date: January 10, 2016
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Mystery, Historical, Romance, Fiction
Note: I received an ARC from Berkley via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away…

With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more.

But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried….


I was excited when I heard Karen White was going to be continuing her Tradd Street series. I was sure the fourth book, Return to Tradd Street, was going to be the end. That made me so sad because I loved every minute of this quirky series. Luckily, I was wrong!

The minute I began The Guests on South Battery, I was immediately sucked back into Melanie Middleton Trenholm’s world. It was fun to be back in her uptight mind, traversing around downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Despite getting married and having twins, Melanie hadn’t changed much. She still had her insecurities and anal-retentive compulsions. I enjoyed seeing how Jack, her husband, dealt with them. Their relationship was changing and progressing throughout the entire story and I loved that a lot.

I also loved how Karen White brought back all of my favorite characters from the entire series. She gave them each the perfect part in this story. There were also some great new characters introduced. They added some cool twists to the mystery of the story and brought a new depth to the recurring characters and their histories. I especially liked Jayne and her role in The Guests on South Battery.

My favorite thing about The Guests on South Battery, though; was the mystery of the story. I was fascinated by Jayne randomly inheriting the house on South Battery. I was dying to know why the previous owner chose her the entire time I was reading. I knew the ghosts inhabiting the house were somehow involved in the answer, but I never would have guessed why.

My only little issue with The Guests of South Battery was Melanie’s insecurity surrounding her post-baby life. She’s always been insecure, but there was denial she was going through that was a little odd. I didn’t like the way those around her acted about it. They were all controlling a part of her life and I didn’t really understand why. It was almost like I was missing a piece of their interactions or something. It didn’t make me dislike the book, but I just found it a bit…odd.

Once again, Karen White has written a beautifully crafted mystery. I truly loved reading The Ghosts on South Battery and being back in Charleston with the Middletons and the Trenholms. It was such a fun ghost story/romance/mystery. I especially loved the ending and how I felt that it left things open for the possibilities of more books in the series. I highly recommend the entire Tradd Street series to readers who like mysteries with a historical touch.

Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

22299763-1Crooked Kingdom
Series: Six of Crows, #2
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Orien Children’s Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.


I’m not really sure how to review Crooked Kingdom without giving away too much of the story, so I’ll keep my thoughts brief.

  1. All of my favorite Six of Crows characters were back. I loved getting to know them better. All of the relationships really blossomed.
  2. The twists and turns in this story were just as phenomenal as the first book.
  3. It took me “forever” to read Crooked Kingdom because the middle of the story lagged a little bit for me. (Forever was about 5 days.) I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I don’t read fantasy novels often and get a little bogged down by the fictional worlds? I was enthralled by both the beginning and the ending, though.
  4. I didn’t get every outcome I wanted, but I was completely satisfied with the ending. It was amazing!

Overall, Crooked Kingdom was a terrific conclusion to an epic duology. Fans of the series are sure to love it. I did.

Review: All of It by Kim Holden

Title: All of It

Author: Kim Holden

Publication Date: November 24, 2013

Publisher: Do Epic, LLC

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old VERONICA SMITH has it all: a loving family, a funky car named Jezebel, and a plan to go to college after graduation. On the first day of senior year, she meets DIMITRI GLENN–a mysterious transfer student with gray eyes and a mischievous smile who seems determined to win her heart. But there’s something odd about Dimitri, leading Veronica to wonder if there’s more to him than meets the eye. Before long, she finds herself in a whirlwind romance that seems too good to be true–until a series of devastating events leaves her questioning everything. It’s not until she chooses to think with her heart instead of her mind that she can rise from the ashes to learn the truth of their connection.


 ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


I’m really struggling with my feelings about All of It. It was written by one of my favorite authors, Beth Flynn. Her novel Bright Side is one of my all-time favorite books. I loved the follow up to it, Gus. I wanted to enjoy All of It just as much. I didn’t.

All of It was a struggle for me to read from the beginning. I had a hard time getting into the story. (I even set it aside for a couple of months.) I just didn’t connect with the main characters, Ronnie and Dimitri. Ronnie was annoying. The way she spoke and acted didn’t remind me of a high school senior at all. Dimitri was kind of creepy at first. He was way too forward, and Ronnie was way too accepting of it for having basically no experience with guys. If a guy talked to me the way Dimitri talked to Ronnie after only knowing me for a week, I would be avoiding him. I didn’t get their insta-love. I also didn’t get the way they talked to each other. They sounded way too mature and formal for teenagers.

Somewhere around the sixth or seventh chapter, I began to get into the story. As Ronnie and Dimitri’s relationship progressed, I began to like them more. It lasted like a minute because the story moves forward in time and Ronnie’s making really dumb decisions. Decisions we have take her word on because we didn’t see any of it happen. She just tells us. When she finally comes to her senses and I start liking the story again, not one, not two, not three but FOUR deaths take place. That was pretty crazy. Of course, Ronnie can’t handle it (Who could?) and Dimitri has to save her.

Through all the depressing craziness, the bright light in the story is Dimitri. He has her back. He stands by her when he probably shouldn’t. It was sweet and I loved how he got Ronnie back on track.

But then the story jumps time again. Now, it’s 20 years in the future. Ronnie catches us up on what’s happened and where she is now in her life. This is when the biggest mystery of the book is revealed. It’s also my favorite part of the book. Ronnie and Dimitri’s connection was so cool. I wish the rest of the story would have been as cool. I want to say the journey was worth it to get to the ending, but I’m not sure it was.

Obviously, I didn’t love All of It. I wanted to because, hello, it’s Kim Holden’s. It had a couple of amazing parts, but the rest was just so-so. I had to remind myself that it was her first book. If I put it in that perspective, it’s a pretty good debut novel. It just wasn’t phenomenal like Bright Side. So, it falls somewhere around 3 stars for me.

 

Review: Sex Lies & Fruit Flies by Paullina Nichols

28432783Title: Sex Lies & Fruit Flies

Series: Sex Lies & Fruit Flies

Author: Paullina Nichols

Publication Date: January 1, 2016

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, Erotic Romance, New Adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Nurse Morgan Jacobs is ordered to tend to the wounds of an injured detective, Francis Wyatt (Wyatt), she is taken aback by his arrogance, yet undeniably attracted to the beautiful man conceitedly pursuing her. Morgan tries fighting her overwhelming feelings for Wyatt in an effort to keep her secret past hidden. With Wyatt refusing to take no for an answer, he chases her until she finally breaks and lets him into her world. He’s astounded by Morgan’s secret, but agrees to keep it and protect her at all cost.

Morgan has never been in love before and she can’t explain her feelings for this man that she knows she is forbidden to be with. Unable to stay away from him any longer she gives into her new found freedom and risks it all as she knows her past and present colliding could mean the end of everything.

Morgan turns Wyatt’s life upside down and shines light on secrets he didn’t know he had. Their affair was dangerous, but that didn’t stop them. They agreed that the ecstasy they shared when they were together was worth dying for.


3 / 5 Stars


Paranormal romance isn’t the romance genre I normally reach for. I’m a realistic fiction reader, so getting into Sex Lies & Fruit Flies took me a while. I had to get used to the mermaid aspect of the story, which was more interesting than I expected it to be (to me). It was a really creative and well thought out storyline.

Morgan and Wyatt had a very strong connection. Morgan instantly trusted Wyatt to protect her and her secrets. They also had a very sensual relationship – both in human and mermaid form. I have to be honest. The mermaid-human sex creeped me out a little. Their other sexual encounters were hot.

Another little thing that bugged me at the beginning of Sex Lies & Fruit Flies was Morgan’s first person point of view. I think it might have been the way she was explaining her life up until that point to the reader rather than just delving into what was happening now. I was also a little surprised when I got a couple of chapter’s with Wyatt’s point of view toward the end.

My favorite part of Sex Lies & Fruit Flies was the last fourth of the book when there’s a big twist and a lot of suspense. How the story ended really intrigued me and had me wondering what was going to happen next.

Oh, and I can’t leave out the fact that the cover and title are a perfect match for the story!

If you’re a paranormal romance reader who loves mermaid tales filled with erotic and suspenseful scenes, you should pick up Sex Lies & Fruit Flies.

**I received an electronic copy of Sex Lies & Fruit Flies from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Review: Six of Crows

23437156Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


My rating: 5 / 5 Stars


Six of Crows in one word: EPIC.

I read somewhere that Six of Crows is Oceans 11 meets A Game of Thrones. I couldn’t agree more. The plot was amazing. It had a criminal mission like Oceans 11 and a cool world and multiple view points like A Game of Thrones. There were also so many surprises I didn’t see coming. And I love being surprised!

What really made this book outstanding, though; was its characters. They were all so different and interesting. I loved reading their backstories. I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. It didn’t matter that they were criminals. I wanted them to succeed and find the happiness they were all searching for.

Six of Crows is surrounded by a lot of hype. In my opinion, it’s worthy of said hype. I more than loved this book. I don’t have the words to even describe how I felt about it. I’m going to be telling everyone (inlcuding you!) to READ.THIS.BOOK.

Side note: I borrowed an electronic copy of Six of Crows from my local library. I really wish I would have borrowed a physical copy for two reasons:

1) I would have liked to have been able to flip back to the maps at the front of the book while reading the story.

2) I didn’t realize the story was going to end at 85% completion. There are acknowledgements and a sneak peak of Bardugo’s The Grisha Trilogy at the end. I thought I had more story but got a cliffhanger instead!

 

 

Before the Blog: My True Love Gave to Me

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Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

20309175My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Publication Date: October 1, 2014

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book? 

We’re getting closer to the holiday season and this YA anthology is a really fun way to get into the spirit. Also, when I read this book I hadn’t read any of the authors except for Rainbow Rowell. It was a great way to find some great new authors.

 When did you read this book? 

December 2014

Who would you recommend this book to?

YA readers