New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday you got to highlight a book that you were really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

This week I’ve chosen:

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
(The Last Hours #2)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
Expected Publication: March 2, 2021

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Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

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New Releases · Reviews

Review: Unchosen by Katharyn Blair

Book Review

Unchosen by Katharyn Blair
Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Fantasy
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Synopsis
For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning.

What I thought
Thank you Katherine Tegen Books, MB Communications, and Netgalley for giving me an ARC copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

I don’t know where to start. Some people will be surprised that I picked up this book to read since I do not like post-apocalyptic, dystopian, or zombie books. But this book…I loved it so much. What made me take such a huge chance on this book was solely based on one line when it was pitched:

UNCHOSEN is a fiercely feminist story about finding freedom and being the hero in the way you’re meant to be.

Something about that line stuck with me for a few days and I just couldn’t shake the take a chance feeling that I had. I am so happy that this time I listened to that feeling.

The women in this book are some of the best female characters I have seen in forever. I loved how this book points out how each one is different and yet they are all strong in their own way.

Charlotte threw herself into danger to save her younger sister because she thought she was expendable only to learn throughout the story how strong she is.

This book is like a war cry for any girl that thought she wasn’t enough.

If anything about this book appeals to you I say pick it up! Take a chance.

My Rating: /5

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Memes · TBR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? January 25, 2021

It's Monday What are you reading.png

Good Morning!

It’s the start of another week. It’s Monday! What are you Reading is hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, this is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind.

Recent Books

Unchosen by Katharyn Blair | Young Adult, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning. 


Unquiet Spirits: Whisky, Ghosts, Murder by Bonnie MacBird | (Sherlock Holmes Adventures #2) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads

The new novel from the author of Art in the Blood. December 1889. Fresh from debunking a “ghostly” hound in Dartmoor, Sherlock Holmes has returned to London, only to find himself the target of a deadly vendetta. A beautiful client arrives with a tale of ghosts, kidnapping and dynamite on a whisky estate in Scotland, but brother Mycroft trumps all with an urgent assignment in the South of France. On the fabled Riviera, Holmes and Watson encounter treachery, explosions, rival French Detective Jean Vidocq…and a terrible discovery. This propels the duo northward to the snowy highlands. There, in a “haunted” castle and among the copper dinosaurs of a great whisky distillery, they and their young client face mortal danger, and Holmes realizes all three cases have blended into a single, deadly conundrum. In order to solve the mystery, the ultimate rational thinker must confront a ghost from his own past. But Sherlock Holmes does not believe in ghosts…or does he?


Currently Reading

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick | (Rook & Rose #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.


A Conventicle of Magpies by LMR Clarke | (The Bloodskill Duology Book 1) | Gaslamp Fantasy, Adventure, Steampunk | Add to Goodreads

What would you do to save your loved ones from slavery and a blood-draining serial killer?

Rook is an unapologetic thief, determined to do anything to ensure her mother and siblings survive the squalid and dangerous streets of Stamchester.

Rook slips, like a shadow, in and out of the homes of the ruling elite, the Avanish, and steals what she needs. She feels no regret, afterall, the Avanish have enslaved her people, the Saosuíasei, and worse, have now determined the Saosuíasei to be disposable and worthy of nothing other than death.

However, Rook is not the only shadowy figure in Stamchester. And far more deadly one haunts the filthy streets, striking fear into Avanish and Saosuíasei alike. A serial killer who drains every ounce of blood from his victims, and satisfies the elite’s demand for blood to burn in the magical art of Bloodskill and enhance their own natural, and sometimes unnatural, abilities.

How can Rook outfox the serial killer and raise her people from the ashes left by the Avanish oppression?

A dark Victorian thriller. Perfect for fans of Charlie N. Holmberg’s cozy mystery Spellbreaker and Susanna Clarke’s enchanting and magical world of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.


What are you hoping to read this week?

Let’s chat in the comments below!

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Wrap Up

My Most Disappointing Books of 2020

We have finished another year so it is time to look back and see what my most Disappointing books for the year was.

Note: Just because these books were disappointing for me does not mean that they were bad. I just did not get what I was hoping to out of them. Everyone has different tastes and I really learned how mine is changing over this last year.

If any of these books appeal to you I say go try them out. Just because they did not work for me does not mean they wont for you. If you want specific thoughts on each book please let me know. These books are listed in the order that I read them. Now to the books!

The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles | (A Charm of Magpies #1) | Historical, Fantasy, Romance | Add to Goodreads

A lord in danger. A magician in turmoil. A snowball in hell. Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn’t expect it to turn up angry. Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude… and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual. Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it-they’re both going to die.


The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this breathtaking first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes.

But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.

It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo–aide to Mawat, the true Lease–arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself…and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.


Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke | Historical Fiction |Add to Goodreads

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke’s magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that eight hundred pages leave readers longing for more.

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange’s heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.


To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters | Historical, Regency Romance | Add to Goodreads

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?


The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher | (The Faery Rehistory #1) | Fantasy, Romance | Add to Goodreads

Miss Ada Quicksilver, a student of London’s Lovelace Academy for Promising Young Women, is spending her holiday in Ireland to pursue her anthropological study of fairies. She visits Dublin’s absinthe bars to investigate a supposed association between the bittersweet spirit and fairy sightings.

One night a handsome Irishman approaches her, introducing himself as Edward Donoghue. Edward takes absinthe to relieve his sleepwalking, and she is eager to hear whether he has experience with fairies. Instead, she discovers that he’s the earl of Meath, and that he will soon visit a mysterious ruin at Newgrange on the orders of his cousin, the beautiful, half-mad Queen Isolde. On learning about Ada’s area of study, he invites her to accompany him.

Ada is torn between a sensible fear of becoming entangled with the clearly troubled gentleman and her compelling desire to ease his suffering. Finally she accepts his invitation, and they arrive in time for the winter solstice. That night, the secret of Edward’s affliction is revealed: he is, in fact, a lord in two worlds and can no longer suppress his shadow self.

Little does either of them realize that their blossoming friendship and slowly kindling passion will lead to discoveries that wrench open a door sealed for centuries, throwing them into a war that will change Ireland forever.


Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas | Gothic, Mystery | Add to Goodreads

A seductive, gothic-infused tale of literary suspense — the debut of a spectacular new voice — about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.


Home Before Dark by Riley Sager | Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Horror, Gothic, Mystery | Add to Goodreads

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.


Alpha’s Revenge by Catherine Stine | (Royal Alpha Wolves Club #3) | Paranormal Romance, Shape-Shifters, Supernatural | Add to Goodreads

A heartbroken furious alpha, a forbidden childhood crush revisited.
Will karmic justice destroy them both?

From the languid, sexy heat of New Orleans, all the way to the icy Canadian Wilderness, supernatural creatures live shadow lives amongst mortals. But what if one of the most powerful and regal of beings—wolf shifters—found their packs disappearing through longstanding battles and vicious payback?

The Royal Alpha Wolves Club, a worldwide, ancient organization formed to keep order and secrets safe among werewolf packs is faced with this very dilemma. So, when the club leader gives the dire order for all royals to find a mate and produce an heir within a year it’s in the wolf shifters’ best interest. Wayland, though, is not on board.

Meet Wayland Leblanc—legendary royal alpha, hell-bent on revenge for his murdered mate. When the edict comes down from the leader in his new territory that all royals mate and produce an heir within the year or lose royal status, Wayland hits the road. He’s not ready. Instead, he charges up to Canada in his mini-camper, to wreak revenge on Thorn, the Tundra shifter who killed his mate Sabine and their unborn babe. He conscripts an army of coyote shifters in his revenge plot, and stuffs down his lingering heartache by partying with neighboring witches.

What he doesn’t plan for is falling hard for Stormy, Thorn’s mysterious sister. But pursuing a star-crossed Juliet to his Romeo just might cost Wayland and Stormy their lives.


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab | Historical Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.


Alice by Christina Henry | (The Chronicles of Alice #1) | Fantasy, Retelling | Add to Goodreads

A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll…

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.


What books in 2020 did you read that did not live up to your expectations?

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Wrap Up

December 2020 Wrap-up

Monthly Wrapup

Hello you wonderful people.

Welcome to my December wrap-up. I can not believe that this is the last wrap-up for 2020.

5 Star Reads

The Peace of Christmas Yet to Come by L.G. Rollins | (A Dickens of a Christmas # 3) | Regency Romance, Proper Romance, Christmas Story | Add to Goodreads

Oath of Destruction by Jennifer Anne Davis | (Reign of Secrets #5) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Witches and Poppets: Steampunk Vasilisa the Fair: A Steampunk Fairy Tale Short Story by Melanie Karsak | Steampunk, Retelling | Add to Goodreads

Marine Biology by G.L. Carriger | (San Andreas Shifters #0.5) | Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal | Add to Goodreads

A Midnight Clear: A Christmas Novella by K.C. Bateman | Regency Romance, Christmas, Novella | Add to Goodreads

Hauntings and Humbug: A Steampunk Christmas Carol by Melanie Karsak | Christmas Story, Retelling | Add to Goodreads

The Princess and the Rogue by Kate Bateman | (Bow Street Bachelors #3) | Regency Romance | Add to Goodreads

Sherlock Holmes & the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove | Historical, Mystery, Christmas, SherlockianAdd to Goodreads

Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa | (Shadow of the Fox #3) | Young Adult, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Monstress: Talk-Stories #1 by Marjorie M. Liu | (Monstress (Issues)) | Comic, Fantasy, Steampunk | Add to Goodreads

Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird | (Sherlock Holmes Adventures #1) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads


4 Star Reads

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren | Holiday Romance | Add to Goodreads

The Last Moriarty by Charles Veley | (Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery #1) | Historical Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads

Limelight by Emily Organ | (Penny Green #1) | Historical Mystery | Add to Goodreads

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan | (Powder Mage #1) | Epic Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins | (A Lady’s Guide #1) | Historical, Romance, Mystery | Add to Goodreads

Mycroft and Sherlock: The Empty Birdcage by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse | (Mycroft Holmes and Sherlock #3) | Historical Fiction, Mystery, SherlockianAdd to Goodreads

Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang | Historical, Mystery, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson | (Rithmatist #1) | Young Adult, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Dragon Whisperer #1 by Alex Deluca | (Dragon Whisperer #1) | Comic, Fantasy, Steampunk | Add to Goodreads

Dragon Whisperer #2 by Alex Deluca | (Dragon Whisperer #2) | Comic, Fantasy, Steampunk | Add to Goodreads


3 Star Reads

Carols and Chaos by Cindy Anstey | (Suitors and Sabotage) | Regency Romance | Add to Goodreads

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells | Classic, Science Fiction |  Add to Goodreads


DNF

Alice by Christina Henry | (The Chronicles of Alice #1) | Fantasy, Retelling | Add to Goodreads

Love Machine: The guardians wanted something else… by N.H Aurelight | Science Fiction | Add to Goodreads


How was your reading month?

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Hauls

Book Haul: December 2020

Book Haul

Good Morning.

The last book haul of 2020. This was quite a year. In the month of December received 1 book from publishers, 11 books for Christmas, 1 book from giveaways, I grabbed 1 for free, I was approved for 1 on a Galley site, 1 from subscription boxes, 1 was preorders, and I purchased 3. I just have to add that I have already read the three books that I purchased. I count that as a win for me!

Received from Authors/Publishers

Crush by Tracy Wolff | (Crave #2) | Young Adult, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Everything feels off—especially me. I’ve returned to Katmere Academy, but I’m haunted by fragments of days I have no recollection of living and struggling to understand who, or what, I really am.

Just when I start to feel safe again, Hudson is back with a vengeance. He insists there are secrets I don’t know about, threatening to drive a wedge between Jaxon and me forever. But far worse enemies are at our doorstep.

The Circle is caught in a power play and the Vampire Court is trying to drag me out of my world and into theirs. The only thing Hudson and Jaxon agree on is that leaving Katmere would mean my certain death.

And not only am I fighting for my life, but now everyone else’s is at stake—unless we can defeat an unspeakable evil. All I know is that saving the people I love is going to require sacrifice.

Maybe more than I’m able to give.


Christmas

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman | (Practical Magic #0.1) | Historical Fiction, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.


The Emperor’s Wolves by Michelle Sagara | (Wolves of Elantra #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

As an orphan scrounging in the lawless slums, young Severn Handred didn’t have the luxury of believing in anything beyond his own survival. Now he’s crossed the river and entered the heart of the empire: the city of Elantra. When Severn is spotted tailing some lawmen of the Hawks–a not insignificant feat to go otherwise undetected–the recruiter for the Imperial Wolves thinks he should join their ranks. The Wolves are a small, select group that work within the Halls of Law, reporting directly to the Eternal Emperor. Severn hopes to avoid the law–he certainly had no intention of joining it.

In order to become a wolf–even on probation–Severn must face the investigators most dreaded throughout the Empire: The Tha’alani, readers of minds. No secret is safe from their prying, no knowledge can remain buried. But Severn’s secret, never shared before, is not enough to prevent the Wolves from adopting him as one of their own. All men have secrets, after all. Severn’s first job will be joining a hunt, but between the treacherous politics of the High Court, the almost unnatural interest of one of the Lords, and those who wish long-held secrets to remain buried forever, the trick will be surviving it.


The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke | (The World of Lore #1) | Folklore, Paranormal, Mythology | Add to Goodreads

They live in shadows – deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our mind. They’re spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives’ tales, passed down through generations. And yet, no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them. Werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits.

In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, and explores not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. Mahnke delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism-some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where séances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, and Key West, Florida, home of a haunted doll named Robert.

The monsters of folklore have become not only a part of our language but a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained, and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls.


The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals by Aaron Mahnke | (The World of Lore #2) | Folklore, Paranormal, Mythology | Add to Goodreads

Here are the incredible true stories of some of the mortals who achieved notoriety in history and folklore through horrible means. Monsters of this sort – serial killers, desperate criminals, and socially mobile people with a much darker double-life – are, in fact, quite real . . . including H. H. Holmes, the infamous Chicago serial killer; William Brodie, the Edinburgh criminal mastermind who inspired The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; and Bela Kiss, a Hungarian tinsmith with a most disturbing hobby: collecting women in gasoline drums.


The Light of All That Falls by James Islington | (The Licanius Trilogy #3) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

The Light of All That Falls concludes the epic adventure that began in The Shadow of What Was Lost, the acclaimed fantasy blockbuster from James Islington.

The Boundary is whole once again, but it may be too late.

Banes now stalk Andarra, while in Ilin Illan, the political machinations of a generation come to a head as Wirr’s newfound ability forces his family’s old enemies into action.

Imprisoned and alone in a strange land, Davian is pitted against the remaining Venerate as they work tirelessly to undo Asha’s sacrifice – even as he struggles with what he has learned about the friend he chose to set free.

And Caeden, now facing the consequences of his centuries-old plan, must finally confront its reality – heartbroken at how it began, and devastated by how it must end. 


The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan | (Powder Mage #2) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Tamas’s invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy’s best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god. In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers might come too quickly. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself alongside the god-chef Mihali as the last line of defence against Kresimir’s advancing army. Tamas’s generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye. 


Sherlock Holmes and The Beast of the Stapletons by James Lovegrove | Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads

1894. The monstrous Hound of the Baskervilles has been dead for five years, along with its no less monstrous owner, the naturalist Jack Stapleton. Sir Henry Baskerville is living contentedly at Baskerville Hall with his new wife Audrey and their three-year-old son Harry.

Until, that is, Audrey’s lifeless body is found on the moors, drained of blood. It would appear some fiendish creature is once more at large on Dartmoor and has, like its predecessor, targeted the unfortunate Baskerville family.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are summoned to Sir Henry’s aid, and our heroes must face a marauding beast that is the very stuff of nightmares. It seems that Stapleton may not have perished in the Great Grimpen Mire after all, as Holmes believed, and is hell-bent on revenge…


Unquiet Spirits: Whisky, Ghosts, Murder by Bonnie MacBird | (Sherlock Holmes Adventures #2) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads

The new novel from the author of Art in the Blood. December 1889. Fresh from debunking a “ghostly” hound in Dartmoor, Sherlock Holmes has returned to London, only to find himself the target of a deadly vendetta. A beautiful client arrives with a tale of ghosts, kidnapping and dynamite on a whisky estate in Scotland, but brother Mycroft trumps all with an urgent assignment in the South of France. On the fabled Riviera, Holmes and Watson encounter treachery, explosions, rival French Detective Jean Vidocq…and a terrible discovery. This propels the duo northward to the snowy highlands. There, in a “haunted” castle and among the copper dinosaurs of a great whisky distillery, they and their young client face mortal danger, and Holmes realizes all three cases have blended into a single, deadly conundrum. In order to solve the mystery, the ultimate rational thinker must confront a ghost from his own past. But Sherlock Holmes does not believe in ghosts…or does he? 


The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird | (Sherlock Holmes Adventures #3) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads

It’s 1890 and the newly famous Sherlock Holmes faces his worst adversary to date – a diabolical villain bent on destroying some of London’s most admired public figures in particularly gruesome ways. A further puzzle is that suicide closely attends each of the murders. As he tracks the killer through vast and seething London, Holmes finds himself battling both an envious Scotland Yard and a critical press as he follows a complex trail from performers to princes, anarchists to aesthetes. But when his brother Mycroft disappears, apparently the victim of murder, even those loyal to Holmes begin to wonder how close to the flames he has travelled. Has Sherlock Holmes himself made a deal with the devil? 


The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes by James Lovegrove | (Sherlock Holmes) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian | Add to Goodreads

A collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories from acclaimed author James Lovegrove. Including a brand-new Cthulhu Casebooks story.


The Devil’s Dust by James Lovegrove | (Sherlock Holmes) | Historical, Mystery, Sherlockian |Add to Goodreads

It is 1884, and when a fellow landlady finds her lodger poisoned, Mrs Hudson turns to Sherlock Holmes.

The police suspect the landlady of murder, but Mrs Hudson insists that her friend is innocent. The companions discover that the lodger, a civil servant recently returned from India, was living in almost complete seclusion, and that his last act was to scrawl a mysterious message on a scrap of paper. The riddles pile up as aged big game hunter Allan Quatermain is spotted at the scene of the crime when Holmes and Watson investigate. The famous man of mind and the legendary man of action will make an unlikely team in a case of corruption, revenge, and what can only be described as magic… 


Giveaway

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick | (Rook & Rose #1) | Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

Nightmares are creeping through the city of dreams…

Renata Viraudax is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadezra — the city of dreams — with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as corrupt magic begins to weave its way through Nadezra, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled — with Ren at their heart.


Free

The Marriage Code by Brooke Burroughs | Romance | Add to Goodreads

In Brooke Burroughs’s endearing debut novel set in vibrant India, enemies turned allies encounter obstacles in an unexpected multicultural romance only to discover that in the end, love is love.

Emma has always lived her life according to a plan. But after turning down her boyfriend’s proposal, everything starts to crumble. In an effort to save the one thing she cares about—her job—she must recruit her colleague, Rishi, to be on her development team…only she may or may not have received the position he was promised. (She did.)

Rishi cannot believe that he got passed over for promotion. To make matters worse, not only does his job require him to return home to Bangalore with his nemesis, Emma, but his parents now expect him to choose a bride and get married. So, when Emma makes him an offer—join her team, and she’ll write an algorithm to find him the perfect bride—he reluctantly accepts.

Neither of them expect her marriage code to work so well—or to fall for one another—which leads Emma and Rishi to wonder if leaving fate up to formulas is really an equation for lasting love.


Galley Site

The Lady Jewel Diviner by Rosalie Oaks | (Lady Diviner #1) | Historical Mystery | Add to Goodreads

Diamonds, Death, and Devonshire tea…

Miss Elinor Avely’s proper upbringing cannot prepare her for the tiny, spinster vampire who crashes into her sitting room and demands to be fed with a sheep.

Elinor already has enough troubles without having to catch ruminants. First, her secret gift for divining jewels has landed her in scandal, exiling her from London society. Second, a nobleman of dubious repute wants her to find a cache of smuggled jewels, hidden somewhere along the Devon coastline. Last – and worst – she is invited to cream tea at the local manor. And while the autocratic and magnificent Earl of Beresford might be there (and perhaps the jewels themselves too), Beresford is the last person Elinor wants to meet over cream tea.

When a dead body is discovered along the cliffs, of course, such delicate considerations become secondary. Fortunately, Elinor now has a small vampiric chaperone – even if said spinster has a habit of appearing stark naked – and together they are ready to risk the hard questions.

Where are the jewels hidden? Who killed the smuggler? And just when is the cream tea being served?


Subscription Boxes

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren | Holiday Romance | Add to Goodreads

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays. 


Preorders

All Down But Nine by Kat Ross | (Lingua Magika #2) | Steampunk, Fantasy | Add to Goodreads

HARD TO CATCH. HARDER TO KEEP.

Lee Merriweather has fled across the line into Pedro Braga’s jurisdiction, an untamed desert too vast for even the ruthless Guardia Territorial to keep any semblance of order. The Carnarvons want him dead or alive – and with Lee’s attitude, the first seems most likely.

The trail south runs straight through two thousand miles of badlands. To find him, Ruth and Sebastian must survive sabotage, bloodthirsty bandits, and fresh horrors at the Reverend Jolly’s church in New Jerusalem. The hardships draw them into a passionate affair, but loyalties are put to the test when they finally reach the capital of Aguadulce and all hell breaks loose.

Ruth has privately vowed to stop Sebastian from killing Lee, even as the young savant seems bent on his own destruction. And he’s just a pawn in a game with higher stakes than anyone realizes. One that goes beyond empires. One that encompasses worlds.

The phantoms are the key. But can Ruth uncover the truth in time to save them all?


Purchases

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells | Classic, Science Fiction | Add to Goodreads

A lonely island in the Pacific. The sinister scientist who rules it. And the strange beings who dwell there…

This is the scenario for H. G. Wells’s haunting classic, one of his most intriguing and visionary novels. Living in the late nineteenth century and facing the impact of Darwin’s theory of evolution, Wells wrote this chilling masterpiece about the characteristics of beasts blurring as the animals turn into men. Dr. Moreau, a scientist expelled from his homeland for his cruel vivisection experiments, finds a deserted island that gives him the freedom to continue torturous transplantations and create hideous creatures with manlike intelligence. But as the brutally enforced order on Moreau’s island dissolves, the true consequences of his experiments emerge, and his creations revert to beasts more shocking than nature could devise.

A genius of his time, H. G. Wells foresaw the use of what he called the “atom bomb,” the practice of gene-splicing, and men landing on the moon. Now, when these have become part of everyday life, his dark fable serves as a compelling reminder of the horrors that reckless experiments with nature can produce.


Sherlock Holmes & the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove | Historical, Mystery, Christmas | Add to Goodreads

The new Sherlock Holmes novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin and Firefly – Big Damn Hero.

It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe – eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty – is greatly distressed, as she believes she is being haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit.

Her late mother told her terrifying tales of the sinister Black Thurrick, and Eve is sure that she has seen the creature from her bedroom window. What is more, she has begun to receive mysterious parcels of birch twigs, the Black Thurrick’s calling card…

Eve stands to inherit a fortune if she is sound in mind, but it seems that something – or someone – is threatening her sanity. Holmes and Watson travel to the Allerthorpe family seat at Fellscar Keep to investigate, but soon discover that there is more to the case than at first appeared. There is another spirit haunting the family, and when a member of the household is found dead, the companions realise that no one is beyond suspicion.


The Princess and the Rogue by Kate Bateman | (Bow Street Bachelors #3) | Regency Romance | Add to Goodreads

A princess in disguise is forced to live with a rogue in order to protect her from danger in this fun, sexy regency romance.

Bow Street agent Sebastien Wolff, Earl of Mowbray, doesn’t believe in love―until a passionate kiss with a beautiful stranger in a brothel forces him to reconsider. When the mysterious woman is linked to an intrigue involving a missing Russian princess, however, Seb realizes her air of innocence was too good to be true.

Princess Anastasia Denisova has been hiding in London as plain ‘Anna Brown’. With a dangerous traitor hot on her trail, her best option is to accept Wolff’s offer of protection―and accommodation―at his gambling hell. But living in such close quarters, and aiding Wolff in his Bow Street cases, fans the flames of their mutual attraction. If Anya’s true identity is revealed, does their romance stand a chance? Could a princess ever marry a rogue?


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New Releases · Tours

Cover Reveal: A Beast so Beautiful by Carlyle Labuschagne @AuthorCarlyle and @Shalini_G26

I am so happy to be working with Shalini at Digital Reads Blog Tours to do this Cover Reveal for Carlyle Labuschagne new book A Beast so Beautiful. The cover of this book is stunning!

A Beast so Beautiful by Carlyle Labuschagne
Expected Publication: April 20, 2021
Genre: Fantasy

Add to Goodreads

Amazon US | Amazon UK

A darkness falls over the land when the Queen of Rurith dies.

Consumed with grief, King Ivar blames their son, Prince Leif, for her demise, and locks him away in the forgotten tower of the castle.

The Prince is left in total despair, until a girl, with hair the colour of a red sunset and green eyes shows him mercy.

For six years she visits him in secret, giving him hope where none existed before.

But Ruith hides many treacherous things that threaten to bring the Kingdom to its knees.

Until the Prince and his beastly curse are released.

Carlyle is a USA Today Bestselling, international bestselling and international award winning South African author – with a flair and passion for mixing genres, adding loads of drama to every story she creates. Carlyle has traveled the world with her books in hopes of connecting with all kinds of book loving people, to learn as much as she can from other book cultures with the hopes of bringing the knowledge back to her home country.

Her goal as an author is to touch people’s lives, and help others love their differences and one another by delivering strong messages of faith, love and hope within every outrageous world she writes about.
Carlyle uses writing as a healing tool, and that is why she has started her very own writers support event – SAIR Book Festival.

Founder of SAIR Book Festival
Co-Founder of Fire Quill Publishing.
Founder of Help build a library in South Africa.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon |

Tour Organized by
Digital Reads Blog Tours

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