Review: Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Killman Creek
Series: Stillhouse Lake, #2
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.


Killman Creek was one of my most anticipated releases of the winter. The end of Stillhouse Lake promised the mystery and suspense would go on. I couldn’t wait to find out what was next for Gwen, her children, Sam and Melvin.

Tension ran high in Killman Creek. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, and slightly uncomfortable the entire time waiting for something horrible to happen. I feared for all of the characters. My fears didn’t stop me from reading this gem of a thriller, though. I couldn’t put Killman Creek down. It was just as fast paced as Stillhouse Lake, but the stakes were higher. Rachel Caine kept the twists and turns coming right up until the very end.

One of my favorite things about Killman Creek was how the relationships between the characters were constantly changing. No one was ever one hundred percent sure about anyone. The relationships really helped drive the story, especially the slightly awkward relationship between Sam and Gwen.

Killman Creek was the perfect follow-up, and a stand out thriller all on its own. I absolutely loved it. If you loved Stillhouse Lake, this book will exceed your expectations. Be ready for some surprises!

Review: Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Spider
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Publication Date: November 13, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He’s a British rock star.
And my stepbrother.
What can go wrong?

He called himself Spider. I just knew him as the sinfully gorgeous guy with eyes of fire that fate sat next to me on the airplane. I didn’t know who he really was…rock star…my stepbrother.

He kissed me because he thought we’d never see each other again. We would.

Everyone warned me about him.
They said he was ruthless and cold and screwed up.
They said he’d leave me with a hole in my heart.

Maybe I should have listened.
Maybe I should have built up a fortress to keep him out.
But I crumbled instead.

Some have said there’s an unbreakable thread that connects those who are destined to meet. If that’s true, then the moment he sat next to me, we were bound together forever.

He just had to figure it out before it’s too late…


I almost didn’t read Spider. I saw “step-brother” in the blurb, and was like no thank you. Then, I reconsidered. I love Ilsa Madden-Mills’ writing. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to miss out on one of her books. When I realized Spider was part of the KU program, I went ahead and downloaded it.

I have some mixed feelings about Spider. I liked it for the most part. The whole step-brother thing wasn’t an issue for me. Rose and Spider are newly acquainted step-siblings. They didn’t grow up together. Their attraction preceded their knowledge of their new familial status. I liked their connection and most of the scenarios they ended up in.

My biggest problem was Rose’s age at the beginning. She was only seventeen, not quite an adult. Spider didn’t know this at first, but once he did I felt a little uncomfortable with his attraction to Rose. He wasn’t that much older, but it still kind of bugged me. Luckily, not all of the story was in this age gap.

Another thing I had issues with was Trenton. I’m not going to say what went down, but I was a little disappointed in Rose. It was all resolved well, but still. She was too good of a person for it.

Despite this all sounding negative, I did enjoy reading Spider. The story kept my attention, and I loved the ending. I just wish those couple of things didn’t bug me so much.

Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King
Series: The Raven Cycle, #4
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


I bought The Raven King when it was originally released. Several factors kept me from immediately picking it up and reading it like I wanted to. One of those factors was that I wasn’t quite ready to be done with The Raven Cycle. Blue, Gansey, Adam, Noah, and Ronan are some of my most cherished characters. I didn’t want to say goodbye yet. It took me over a year to pick it up. I’m happy I finally devoted the time to say farewell to the gang.

I really enjoyed The Raven King. The story from the previous books was continued, but everything still felt fresh. There were new discoveries to be made, and so many “ah ha” moments to enjoy. The complexity of it all was a little overwhelming at times. I had to take my time reading to really examine what each revelation meant to the story.

While I loved the journey The Raven King took me on, there were some things that struck me as strange and left me wanting more explanation. Blue’s father is the first one. The whole tree thing was just plain weird and I didn’t get what it meant for Blue. The second one was Piper, Henry’s mom, and Mr. Gray. Their last scene together left everything feeling really up in the air. The big ones, though, were Glendower and the Gansey-Blue kiss. Those two things left me wanting more.

Despite feeling a bit confused and possibly let down by the end of the story, I did appreciate the epilogue. I liked knowing what possibilities were ahead for my favorite characters. I did wish that we had been privy to what the ladies at Fox Lane had in store for them.

Overall, The Raven King was a strong ending to a great series.

Mini Reviews: The Law of Moses and The Song of David by Amy Harmon

The Law of Moses
Series: The Law of Moses, #1
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: November 27, 2014
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Paranormal

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.


The only way to describe Amy Harmon’s writing is the word beautiful. Everything about it is beautiful. The way she puts words together is so dang gorgeous. The stories she crafts with those words are just as beautiful. I’m always amazed at how brilliant and touching her words and stories are.

That’s exactly how I felt when reading The Law of Moses. I was constantly amazed. The book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I could see some of the plot coming, but there were also moments when I was shocked.

Moses was definitely “a law unto himself”. I wasn’t always happy with him, but he amazed me. Same with Georgia. She was a fire that couldn’t be put out. She had spunk and grit. Their love for each other was raw and unconditional. Their story wasn’t easy, but it was magical.

I loved every moment of reading this book. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it.



The Song of David
Series: The Law of Moses, #2
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: June 13, 2015
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating:★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.

I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?

If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.


Once again, Amy Harmon has surprised me. The Song of David wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It’s narrated partly by Moses with David telling some of his own story from afar. At first, I wasn’t so sure about this set up. Once I got into the story, I found I really loved it. In fact, I loved the entire story. The way David tells about falling in love with Millie and everything they went through was so special.

I loved the way Moses added to the story. He brought a completely different aspect to it. His was a connection to David by friendship. Their relationship was tight and special. His emotions made the story even more special.

Everything about this book was just so good…until the end. At the end, I felt like I had missed something big. I needed one more piece of information that I didn’t get. That’s okay, though. I still loved The Song of David. Anyone who has read The Law of Moses will love getting to know David better.

Review: Worth the Wait by Lori Foster

Worth the Wait
Series: Guthrie Brothers, #2
Author: Lori Foster
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ready or not…love will find a way

Single dad Hogan Guthrie is getting his life back on track, and working as the “barbecue master” at a local diner is just a temporary detour. He and restaurant owner Violet Shaw constantly butt heads…until one night they end up mingling other parts instead. Hogan thought he had the recipe for happiness all figured out. But loyal, carefree Violet is daring him to trust his impulses…and see just how sweet small-town living—and loving—can be.

Nathan Hawley traded his SWAT team credentials for a sheriff’s badge, but a gorgeous new neighbor is shaking up his orderly life. Nathan has a hunch there’s more to Brooklin Sweet than meets the eye—but given her caution about getting involved, he has his work cut out for him. Still, there’s something about the elusive beauty Nathan can’t walk away from—and helping her come to terms with her past might pave the way to the future they both secretly long for.


Earlier this year I read the first book in the Guthrie Brothers series, Don’t Tempt Me. It was my first time reading a book by Lori Foster, and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that I needed to read the next book in the series, which leads to this review. I finally got my copy of Worth the Wait from the library.

Hogan and Violet were fiercely attracted to each other, but neither was willing to make a move. They liked what they had going on. Violet was Hogan’s part-time boss. Plus, Hogan was a bit of a womanizer and had no plans of settling down. Violet might have been considering happily ever after. When Hogan starts working full-time for Violet, all bets are off. Their attraction to each other is too much to contain.

I loved both Violet and Hogan. Violet was a gutsy chick. She was strong-willed and determined to make her business successful. She knew what kind of man she wanted, and wasn’t willing to be a one-night stand. Hogan wasn’t truly the womanizer he was playing. He was sewing the oats he thought he needed to. What Hogan really needed was the right woman. Violet was the gal to make him believe in love again. I also really loved the way Colt was involved in Violet and Hogan’s story.

Nathan and Brooklin are thrown together when she moves in nextdoor. Nathan knows there’s something going on in Brooklin’s life, and he’s determined to find out what it is. Practically stalking her, Nathan starts to get to know Brooklin and likes what he learns. Brooklin isn’t so sure about getting into a relationship with him when she’s running from her past. The two start a love affair that becomes complicated when it’s apparent someone is looking to cause problems for Brooklin.

It kills me to say this, but I was not a fan of Nathan and Brooklin’s story line. I’m sorry. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them or want them together. The whole suspense aspect of it bored me a bit. When it started to intertwine with Hogan and Violet’s story, it really lost me. Violet took just way too much abuse for my liking. I’m blaming my dislike for all of this on my disinterest in romantic suspense.

Anyways. I did like Worth the Wait overall. It was a fun read filled with interesting characters and a cute romance (Hogan and Violet). It wasn’t quite what I was expecting in some parts, but it was still a really good read.

Release Day Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

 
Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon
AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS
Love Unexpectedly
Lauren Layne
Releasing Nov 7, 2017
Loveswept

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met
her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before
Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old
boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart
rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble
is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend,
Mark.
Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not
looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there
for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be
something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension
between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the
corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants
has been right in front of her all along.

 
NOW AVAILABLE!

REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

An Ex for Christmas is the story of Kelly, a woman who believes in fate, horoscopes, and asking her Magic 8 Ball to help her make decisions. When a psychic tells Kelly she’s going to be reunited with her true love this Christmas, Kelly takes upon herself to track down all of her ex-boyfriends to figure out which one might the guy for her.

As Kelly reconnects with her exes, none of them create the spark she expects. The only sparks Kelly’s feeling are with her best friend, Mark. But Mark’s never been interested in Kelly in that way…or has he?

If you want a book that is going to put you in the holiday spirit, look no further. Lauren Layne has got you covered with An Ex for Christmas. This holiday gem was filled with entertaining characters, wonderfully romantic moments, and so much Christmas cheer I almost couldn’t stand it.

Kelly was a hoot. This woman took her psychic revelations seriously. She counted on that Magic 8 Ball more than anyone ever should. That’s what made her so perfect, though. Kelly was so influenced by possibilities that she couldn’t see the realities in front of her. I felt bad for poor Mark. He was a great guy, and he loved that girl so much. I knew if Mark could just get Kelly’s head out of the clouds for a moment, she would realize the person she was looking for was right in front of her.

One of my favorite thing about An Ex for Christmas was how seriously Kelly took celebrating the holidays. She put so much energy into creating a merry Christmas. It didn’t matter if it was decorating or dressing up, she was always distributing joy around town.

This book was just so much fun. I really, truly believe that the Hallmark Channel needs to make An Ex for Christmas into a holiday movie. It has everything a viewer could want out of a Christmas love story.

 Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies.
She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

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Review: Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

Hooking Up
Series: Shacking Up, #2
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.

They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is the next standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Helena Hunting, the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series and Shacking Up.


Hooking Up was everything I had hoped it would be. It was a story of heartbreak, but also one of healing. Helena Hunting’s writing was fabulous! Despite Amie going through such an emotional ordeal, the book was super funny. And the setting! The Bora Bora backdrop couldn’t have been anymore beautiful.

Amie was such a great character. She literally kicked ass. I loved that she was strong mentally and physically. Her reaction to Armstrong’s cheating was perfect. The ups and downs she went through couldn’t have been more perfect — especially with Lex to help her heal.

Lex was pretty amazing himself. He may have been a little mischievous in the past, but he was a stand up guy in the present. The way he supported Amie during the downfall of her short marriage was so nice.

As for Armstrong — I loved to hate that guy. He was the perfect jerk. I hated him from the moment I met him up until the very end. I’m happy he got what he deserved.

I absolutely loved this book! Romance lovers definitely should read it! Hooking Up is a standalone novel, but I really recommend reading Shacking Up first. Shacking Up is Bane and Ruby’s story, and you’ll see a lot of them in Hooking Up because Bane is Lex’s brother and Ruby is Amie’s best friend. Plus, Amie, Lex, and Armstrong are all introduced in Shacking Up. Reading both of these books in order will make the experience all that more fun. Both Shacking Up and Hooking Up are amazingly entertaining and hilarious romantic reads. I can’t recommend them enough!