Saturday, September 26, 2020

Christmas on Reindeer Road by Debbie Mason
Highland Falls #2

 


Title: Christmas on Reindeer Road 
Series: Highland Falls #2
Author: Debbie Mason
Publisher:
Release Date:





Can the magic of mistletoe bring together two busy single parents?

Mallory Maitland knows all too well what it's like to feel abandoned, which is why she's sworn never to give up on her two stepsons - her late husband's children. But when the teens land in hot water, she's got a whole new problem: how to resist the caring and incredibly hot Chief of Police Gabriel Buchanan. All Mallory wants is to give the boys a magical holiday. She doesn't need the distraction of wondering what it would be like to kiss Gabriel under the mistletoe.

After his wife died, Gabriel left his job as an adrenaline-chasing New York City homicide detective to focus on raising his three sons. But back in Highland Falls, he doesn't have to go looking for trouble. It finds him - in the form of a beautiful neighbor and her troublemaking stepchildren. With Gabriel's mother-in-law looking for any excuse to gain custody of his sons, Gabriel can't risk getting involved with Mallory, even though she's the only woman capable of making this Christmas - and all the rest to come - his best ever.










I love the Christmas season and I love to read at least one Christmas novel a year. 

Christmas on Reindeer Road is the second book in the Highland Falls series. I enjoyed Abby and Hunter’s story (Summer on Honeysuckle Ridge) and I was looking forward to Mallory and Gabriel's HEA. Both characters appeared in the first book so I knew they could be great together.

Let's start by saying that Mallory and Gabriel have major family issues. 

Mallory who is a medical doctor, grew up in foster care after the loss of her mother. As an adult, she married an older man who passed away and now she is moving back to her hometown with her two stepsons who aren’t happy about her decision. They make Mallory miserable in any way possible. Yet, Mallory is sure that the Christmas spirit can change the way the boys think about her and her hometown. 

Gabriel Buchanan is the Chief of Police in Highland Falls. He’s a widower and he has three sons. The twins are always getting into trouble and the youngest one, Teddy is a sweetheart who believes in Santa and miracles. Teddy's main wish for Christmas is to have a new mom and he thinks Mallory can be the perfect mom and wife for them. 

However, there are more than a few issues that separate Mallory and Gabriel from getting together and maybe they do need a miracle to overcome the obstacles they both are facing. 

Such a cute story! Teddy was adorable. He stole the book with all his wishes. 

I was happy to get glimpses of Abby and Hunter and how well they were doing together.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Forever via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon


Title: Make Up Break Up
Author: Lily Menon 
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date:  February 2, 2021




Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?











What happens when your summer hookup steals your ideas, becomes more popular than you, and then moves next to your office?

Yes, this it's exactly what happens to Annika Dev.  When she finds out, she wants to hurt Hudson!

Annika believes in love and in getting a second chance. At least, she believes her new app can do it.  Make Up is the app that could bring couples together. She knows it can be successful. Yet, she is in dire straights. Financially, her company is a mess. She needs an influx of money or she will have to admit bankruptcy. On top of everything else, she can't forget her time with Hudson in Las Vegas.

Hudson is at the top of his game. His app Break Up is a success and money is rolling in. He has accomplished so much in such a short time. The phone won't stop ringing and even famous magazines want to interview him.

Then, a chance to pitch their apps against each other comes up, and neither want to lose the opportunity of gaining the support and money this contest will bring. But can these enemies who have been lovers continue on this path?

~~

I hate to say it but I couldn’t connect with the main characters. I thought Annika was too tough on Hudson all the time. 

In addition, the resolution of their conflict was a weak one and I felt Hudson lost too much in the bargain.

I did enjoy the secondary characters and their relationship. It was a plus to the story.

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by St. Martin's Griffin via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Chaos by Iris Johansen



Title: Chaos by Iris Johansen
Author: Chaos by Iris Johansen
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: September 1, 2020




The #1 New York Times bestselling author introduces CIA agent Alisa Flynn, who is willing to go rogue if it means catching the most heartless band of criminals she's ever encountered.


When CIA agent Alisa Flynn flaunts the rules by breaking into a mansion in the middle of the night, she skillfully circumvents alarms and outwits guards only to find herself standing in billionaire Gabe Korgan's study . . . busted by Korgan himself. This could cost her her job unless, in a split second, she can turn the tables and try to convince him to join her on the most important mission of her life.


In a ripped-from-the-headlines plot, schoolgirls in Africa have been kidnapped, and Alisa knows that Korgan has the courage, financial means, and high-tech weaponry to help rescue them. With so many innocent lives hanging in the balance, what she doesn't reveal is that one of those schoolgirls is like a little sister to her. But when the truth gets out, the stakes grow even higher.


Calling in additional assistance from renowned horse whisperer Margaret Douglas, Alisa and Gabe lay their plans, only to see them descend into chaos as the line between right and wrong wavers before them like a mirage. Every path is strewn with pitfalls, each likely to get them -- or the hostages -- killed. But with the help of a brave team and a horse with the heart of a warrior, they might just get out of this alive.











The latest novel by Iris Johansen. In it, she introduces a new female character, Alisa Flynn.

Chaos begins with a school in Africa being taken over by a militia group. A man by the name of Masenak has taken over St. Eldon’s Academy for girls and has kidnapped many of the students. One of them is a girl by the name of Sasha Lawrence. 

Sasha has an affinity for horses. Some might said she is a horse whisperer. After her capture, Masenak treats Sasha differently than the other girls. He wants Sasha in charge of the horses he stole when he took the girls. He is especially interested in the horse named Chaos.

When Alisa Flynn finds out her protégé, Sasha, who she loves like a sister is taken, she knows she must get her back. She also knows she can't do it alone. As a CIA agent, Alisa is capable of tracking the culprits but she needs help saving Sasha and all the other girls that were kidnapped too. 

Alina will ask help from billionaire Gabe Korgan to aid her in her quest. She wants Sasha safe and out of harm's way. 

Korgan has never met anyone like Alina. She intrigues him. He is known as a renaissance man. He is always inventing or developing something that amazes the world. However, this time he is the one who is amazed by Alina.

Nice Romantic Suspense novel! It had me turning the pages quickly. The addition of Sasha and her relationship with horses especially Chaos, made me read faster.

Alisa and Korgan made a good team in every way.  Margaret and Juno were excellent secondary characters.

Cliffhanger: No

3.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Grand Central Pub in exchange for an honest review.





Thursday, September 24, 2020

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Crescent City #1




Title: House of Earth and Blood
Series: Crescent City #1
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: March 3, 2020






Bound by blood.Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.










"Through love, all is possible."

 

This book is long. You have to be committed, find time during your busy day, or after hours to read it or listen to it. 

I'm not going to deny it. I was intimidated

Then, I started listening to it, and about 25% into it, I was solely preoccupied with who killed Danika Fendyr and what was going to happen to Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar.

Sarah J. Maas dumps a huge amount of world-building into the lap of the reader. It was enough to cause whiplash but I think I found it was easier to follow with the audio than with the printed book. 

Bryce Adelaide Quinlan is a half-fae, half-human young woman who resides in Lunathion, also known as the Crescent City. She works for Jesiba Roga who is the owner of Griffin Antiquities. At the beginning of the story, Bryce behaves like a regular party girl. She likes to have fun, dance, have superficial hookups, and to get high. She spends the majority of her free time with her best friend and roommate, Danika. Since the moment they met in college, they become inseparable. Danika is the Alpha of the Pack of Devils. She is respected and feared. Neither has gone through "the Drop", a time when they leave their mortality behind and their true power manifests. 

One night, needing to blow off some steam after breaking up with her human boyfriend, Bryce goes out partying. While Bryce is enjoying her time at the White Raven, Danika and her pack are being slaughtered. Connor who was part of the pack and whom Bryce has finally said yes to a date dies as well. 

"Look where it hurts the most."

Two years later, Bryce is not really living. She goes through the motions. But when Hunt Athalar and Micah Domitus appeared at her work and she learns the demon who attacked Danika is back to slaying people, she can't pass up the opportunity to help with the investigation. Grudgingly, Bryce will also have to accept the help of her cousin, the Crown Prince of the Valbaran Fae, Ruhn Danaan, who has been told by the Autumn King to find Luna's horn. 


Things I loved: 
-The friendship between Danika and Bryce.
-The love Bryce had for Syrinx.
-The camaraderie between Declan Emmet, Tristan Flynn, and the Crown Prince, Ruhn Danaan.
-The sharpshooting skills Randal Silago taught her stepdaughter.
-Mail delivering otters.
-Fantastic character growth. Girl power all the way!
-Aidas as a cat when Bryce was 13.
-Tharion Ketos, the Mer.
-Hypaxia (and Ruhn?)
-Lele
-Phone call between Ember Quinlan and Bryce's daddy.
-Fury.


"Memento Mori"

Things that made me cry:
-Lele, The Sprite fire.
-Danika.


“I am a descendant of Ranthia Drahl, Queen of Embers. She is with me now and I am not afraid. My friends are behind me, and I will protect them."

Things that shocked me:
-The boat scene.
-The secrets Bryce kept.


Things I want to learn more about:
-A.I.D.A.S (for sure).
-Jesiba.


I believe House of Earth and Blood is UF at its best! The audio was fantastic. Kudos to the narrator. She was superb. 
"Light it up."

BRING ON THE NEXT BOOK. I'M READY.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Switch by Beth O'Leary


Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O'Leary 
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: August 8, 2020






A grandmother and granddaughter swap lives in The Switch, a charming, romantic novel by Beth O’Leary.

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some long-overdue rest.

Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She'd like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen.

So they decide to try a two-month swap.

Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.

But stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O'Leary's The Switch, it's never too late to change everything....or to find yourself.












What an adorable book! Just loved it.

We have two very different (maybe not) women, a grandmother, Eileen and her granddaughter, Leena needing a change.

Leena's sister, Carla passed away from cancer a few months back. This has left Leena feeling a terrible loss, her grief is consuming her and she is struggling at work. After having a panic attack during one of her presentations to a big client, her boss tells her to take two months off to relax.

Leena decides to visit the town her grandmother and mother lived in. This is also where Carla spent the last few months of her life. It's hard for Leena to visit her mother's home especially since Leena has not dealt with her grief and she's estranged from her mother.

Eileen is an active 79-year-old woman. She lives in Yorkshire. She is part of the community and helps everyone she can. Her husband walked out on her a few years back and she would like to find some male company. She is thinking of starting dating but she knows the pool of men in her age group is scarce in her town.

Then, Leena has a bright idea. Why don't they swap lives? Eileen should go to London, stay with her roommates and start dating while Leena stays in Yorkshire to help with all the activities her grandmother participates in and also to check on her mother.

Easy peasy, right?

~~


The audio was fantastic. A job well done by both Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman as the narrators.

Now in regards to the novel, I can honestly say that I adored these characters. Eileen was superb. Her parts were probably my favorite ones. She was classy, funny, interesting, helpful, a good friend and a great grandmother.

Leena was fun too. In the beginning, she was a mess but once she starts finding out more about herself, the stronger she became. I also love her romance with Jackson and her friendship with Arnold.

Kudos to Beth O'Leary for creating a cute story with memorable characters!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Macmillan Audio via NetGalley Shelf in exchange for an honest review.

Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
The Dresden Files #17


Title: Battle Ground
Series: The Dresden Files #17
Author: Jim Butcher
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: September 29, 2020





THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET SERIOUS FOR HARRY DRESDEN, CHICAGO’S ONLY PROFESSIONAL WIZARD, in the next entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files.

Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders.

But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way.

Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.












My heart is still pounding from all the action!!! One Huge Epic Fight!

Also, my heart is a little broken now. I was expecting what happened but not the way it happened. 

Dresden, you have done it again! I can’t help but root for you. You make yourself responsible for everyone and you want to keep everyone safe.

This time Chicago and its people, human and supernatural lives are all at stake. The Fodor and Ethniu, the Titan, are coming to destroy it. The White Council, the White Court, the Summer Court, the Winter court, Marcone with his people, the Knights, the werewolves, and every other group I forget are all taking a truce and battling one enemy together. If not, there won't be a next day for many of them. Apocalypse is in the mirror.

There were so many things l liked about Battle Ground. I want to tell you but then I'm spoiling it for you. Few comments though:

I know Dresden doesn’t care for Marcone but I kinda like him. I like Mab too despite her being utterly terrifying but I can't help but think about what she went through to become what she is now.

I love Waldo and Michael. They have Harry’s back Always. Sanja made me laugh, especially at the end.

Despite Dresden loving Murphy, I still have hope for Dresden and Molly (you're my girl) although I like Lara too. 

I do hope this time Jim Butcher doesn’t take six years for the next book. I’m dying to see what happens next. Jim leaves so many clues as to what is to come and it seems Dresden will need 365 days to figure it out. 

The adorable Christmas story at the end of the book was perfect. Anything with Mouse, Michael, Molly, Mab, and a little Christmas spirit together, has to be good.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Ace via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


Title: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Release Date: September 8, 2020






From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and “writer of astonishing depth” (The Washington Times) comes a poignant comedy about a crime that never book place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers begin slowly opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

First is Zara, a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else until tragedy changed her life. Now, she’s obsessed with visiting open houses to see how ordinary people live—and, perhaps, to send an old wrong to right. Then there’s Roger and Anna-Lena, an Ikea-addicted retired couple who are on a never-ending hunt for fixer-uppers to hide the fact that they don’t know how to fix their own failing marriage. Julia and Ro are a young lesbian couple and soon-to-be parents who are nervous about their chances for a successful life together since they can’t agree on anything. And there’s Estelle, an eighty year-old woman who has lived long enough to be unimpressed by a masked bank robber waving a gun in her face. And despite the story she tells them all, Estelle hasn’t really come to the apartment to view it for her daughter, and her husband really isn’t outside parking the car.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

Rich with Fredrik Backman’s “pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness), Anxious People’s whimsical plot serves up unforgettable insights into the human condition and a gentle reminder to be compassionate to all the anxious people we encounter every day.











"Worst hostages ever."

A bank robbery that never becomes a bank robbery. A hostage situation that might not be a hostage situation. Yet, there is intent, a mask, and a gun involved. 

Eight stranger's anxieties that are all in one apartment viewing when a masked individual walks in, a suicide, a psychologist, and two cops trying to get to the bottom of it all, becomes the perfect mixture for a good novel.

Surprisingly funny and sad with moments of revelation is what Anxious People delivers to this reader. I became engrossed in the life of these people. How fate has put them all together in one place to bring out all of their issues into the open. 

Anxiuos People has a true message. A good person can make a bad decision. Should the bad decision define us? Should we get a second chance? We have all been "idiots" at one point. Right?

I encourage people to read this book. It is not the usual prose I'm used to but it works nonetheless.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.