Friday, October 1, 2021

Book Review: A Veiled & Hallowed Eve by Hailey Turner

A Veiled & Hallowed Eve
Author: Hailey Turner 
Series: Soulbound, #7
Publication Date: October 1, 2021

Synopsis: Death is the last lover you will ever know.

SOA Special Agent Patrick Collins has lived a life full of lies, and it has finally caught up with him. There’s no denying his past any longer, not after giving up the truth to save himself from a murder charge. But truth alone can’t set Patrick free, and time is running out to stop the Dominion Sect from turning his father into a god.

Jonothon de Vere knows survival isn’t a guarantee, but he’s desperate to keep Patrick safe, even as hope slips through his fingers. With the future unknown, Jono will follow Patrick wherever he goes, even to Salem, where a family reunion reveals a bitter secret that was never going to stay buried.

With New York City under control of their god pack, Patrick and Jono must fall back on every alliance they’ve brokered to fill the front lines of a war coming directly to the city streets. The veil is always thinnest on Samhain, and what awaits them on the other side is the stuff of nightmares. For when it tears, all hell will break loose, and the gods will be summoned to face a reckoning the world isn’t ready for.

The stakes have never been higher, failure has never been so deadly, and the Fates have never been kind to heroes. Patrick knows that better than anyone—because everything has a price, every debt always comes due, and it’s finally time for Patrick to pay his.

Review: Endings are always so very sad. But they can also be wonderful. A Veiled & Hallowed Eve is both. I've loved going on this journey with Patrick, Jono, and their pack. And I'm glad to see them get the ending they deserve. Hailey Turner crafted an amazing world that I continuously looked forward to visiting with each new release in this series. And I know I'll feel the same about her future works. I was instantly captivated when I read the first book way back in 2019 and it didn't let me go until I reached the end of this one. Patrick and Jono will live on in the remembering- because their story is one for the history books.

An ARC was provided by the author. 

Rating: 5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Monday, January 18, 2021

Book Review: Cry Wolf by Charlie Adhara

Cry Wolf
Author: Charlie Adhara
Series: Big Bad Wolf, #5
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 18, 2021

Synopsis: Agent Cooper Dayton never thought anything could be harder than solving murders. Until he had to plan a wedding.

After taking down an old adversary, Agent Cooper Dayton of the Bureau of Special Investigations has earned a break. Not that planning a wedding to his sexy shifter partner, Oliver Park, is necessarily stress free, but it’s better than worrying about the ominous warning, delivered months ago, that Cooper’s life is in danger.

When he’s dragged to an event by his family, Cooper braces for an awkward evening, but instead finds himself in the middle of an ugly feud between Park’s ex and a rebel pack leader. What was supposed to be a quick outing turns into a full-blown murder investigation after the pack leader ends up dead, Park’s ex goes missing, and Cooper and Park are sent a series of disturbing wedding gifts that are somehow connected to it all.

The list of potential suspects is long, and with the bodies piling up, Cooper must turn to the one person he trusts the least: the villain he’s already put behind bars once and who has nothing to lose by lying and everything to gain if Cooper is out of the picture—for good.

Review: Every book further cements that this is becoming/has become one of my all-time favorite series. I love the world, and the mythos, and the cast of characters, and most importantly my two boys: Oliver & Cooper. One of my absolute favorite things is reading a series with an established couple and getting to see their relationship develop and deepen. I absolutely love the direction Charlie Adhara takes things in Cry Wolf and I am already dying for the next one!
An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Rating: 5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Book Review: Docile by K.M. Szpara

Author: K.M. Szpara
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Synopsis: There is no consent under capitalism

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents' debts and buy your children's future.

Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.
Review: I wasn't sure what to rate this book at first. But I realized it can't get anything less than five stars because, no matter what else this book did, it kept me completely enthralled. I've never read a book before where I was actively rooting for the relationship to end. Seeing Elisha so hurt and broken, hurt me. This book gave me anxiety and heart palpitations and actually made me nervous. The relationship between Elisha and Alex was completely unhealthy and, yet, I love the way it makes you think and consider the hard stuff. The ending works for me. My opinions on their relationship don't matter because it's ultimately up to them to decide. Docile is dark and heavy, but it will make you feel. And that's all I ask of the media I consume.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Rating: 5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Thursday, August 20, 2020

2021 Books On My Radar

I like having things to look forward to. Let’s ignore 2020 for a moment (for obvious reasons) and take a look at some books coming out next year that you should put on your radar right now. 

Lore by Alexandra Bracken - January 5, 2021 
First of all, the cover- stunning! Inspired by Greek mythology as well? Sign me up. 

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala - January 5, 2021 
“Project Runway goes to Comic Con.” And I’m going to read this book. 

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas - January 12, 2021 
This is a prequel to The Hate U Give, telling the story of a seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter. Is it too early to go ahead and give this one five stars? 

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson - January 19, 2021 
I mean, the title really says it all. Two boys lost in space and falling in love. 

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston - January 19, 2021 
A black girl tries out for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs to find her missing brother. This middle grade sounds epic. 

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo - February 2021 
This sounds so weird. I love it. 

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna - February 9, 2021 
A black female main character. An all girl army. Fighting the patriarchy. By a debut own voices author? Please and thank you. 

Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley - March 9, 2021 
A debut sapphic love story. With magic! Enough said. 

It's Kind of a Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morrill - March 9, 2021 
A rom-com that takes place at a pizza parlor. Delicious. 

Untitled (King of Scars Duology #2) by Leigh Bardugo - March 30, 2021 
No title yet. But we already know the only name that really matters: Nikolai Lantsov 

My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows - June 22, 2021 
This is about our girl, Mary, Queen of Scots. Set in the same world as The Lady Janies series! 

Off the Record by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich - 2021 
This one doesn’t even have a cover yet. But I know it’s about two boys in a boy band who fall for each other. So I’m in. 

The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon - 2021 
Not gonna lie; this is my most anticipated release. An angry trans boy is betrothed to a fae prince and he wants nothing to do with him. *chef’s kiss* 

The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley - 2021 
Set in Victorian England. Featuring an African tightrope walker who cannot die. A secret society. And a tournament where people fight to the death. I want it. 

Better Together by Christine Riccio - 2021 
This author is a popular booktuber (polandbananasBOOKS). And this book is inspired by The Parent Trap: A true classic film. 

May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor - 2021 
A trans teen challenges his ex-boyfriend for the title of Homecoming King. And then they realize they just might still have feelings for each other. The angst! 

Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare - 2021 
A new high fantasy series by Cassandra Clare! 

Untitled (Skyward #3) by Brandon Sanderson - 2021 
This is the third book in the Skyward series and is expected to release next year. But I’m only including it as another excuse to tell you all to go read Skyward because it’s amazing! And you’ve got plenty of time to catch up on the series. 

Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell 
Okay, I’ll admit it. This one doesn’t have a release date yet. But I can dream, right? 

-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Book Review: Jumping the Bull by Jenn Burke

Title: Jumping the Bull
Author: Jenn Burke
Publication Date: April 14, 2020

Synopsis: Ben Beaufort, badass bison 

Everyone who looks at Ben and sees his six-foot-plus, muscular build assumes he’s in construction. Or the military. Or something that requires brawn over brains. In truth, he’s a mild-mannered human resources professional—or at least he was, until he got laid off. Now he’s looking for a second career as a Furry United Coalition agent, to discover how truly badass he can be.

Oliver Zuraw, whoop-ass whooping crane

Oliver’s enjoying a second career too, from exotic dancer to the FUC Academy’s yoga instructor. Big, badass men like Ben are totally his type—but he’s sworn them off, because they’re never good news. Except Ben is defying all of Oliver’s preconceived notions and making him wonder if maybe this bison is just the right type of badass for him.

A simple undercover mission that turns out to be not so simple 

When an undercover mission needs a bison shifter, Ben jumps at the chance to put his training to use. A twist of events forces Oliver and Ben to pretend to be married…which leads to an invitation to work for the bad guy on his bad guy ranch doing bad guy things. There’s no way they can pass up the opportunity to infiltrate the criminal operation.

Even if they’re a recruit and a civilian instructor who barely know what they’re doing.

And even if there’s only one bed waiting for them.

Jumping the Bull by Jenn Burke is an EveL Worlds novella set in Eve Langlais’ Furry United Coalition (F.U.C.) World and available on all platforms.

Review: Jumping the Bull was so much fun! And as someone not familiar with the FUC world, Jenn Burke did a great job of bringing me up to speed without having to resort to infodumping. Novellas can be very tricky, you have to balance the progression of the story within such a limited number of pages, and the balance here was spot on (perhaps due to all that morning yoga with a certain whooping crane)! Ben & Oliver were two really sweet characters thrust into a situation they weren't quite fully prepared for, but making the best of it together. And I, for one, definitely wouldn't mind going on another mission with them.

P.S.- I'm not Canadian, so I had to take a little commercial break to find out what house hippos was referencing... and was just as delighted as Ben at my discovery.

An ARC was provided by the author.

Rating: 4/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Book Review: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Charlie Adhara

Title: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Author: Charlie Adhara
Series: Big Bad Wolf, #4
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: March 2, 2020

Synopsis: Agent Cooper Dayton and his partner, Oliver Park, are going undercover—at a retreat for couples who need counselling. They do say the best cover story is one that’s close to the truth… 

Agent Cooper Dayton is almost relieved to get a phone call from his former boss at the Bureau of Special Investigations. It means a temporary reprieve from tensions created by house hunting with Oliver Park, his partner both in work and in life. Living together in a forever home is exactly what Cooper wants. He’s just not keen on working out the details.

With a former alpha werewolf missing, Cooper and Park are loaned to the BSI to conduct the search at a secluded mountain retreat. The agents will travel to the resort undercover…as a couple in need of counseling.

The resort is picturesque, the grounds are stunning and the staff members are all suspicious as hell.

With a long list of suspects and danger lurking around every cabin, Cooper should be focusing on the case. But he’s always been anxious about the power dynamics in his relationship with Park, and participating in the couples’ activities at the retreat brings it all to the surface. A storm is brewing, though, and Cooper and Park must rush to solve the case before the weather turns. Or before any more guests—or the agents themselves—end up dead.

Review: When I first read the Big Bad Wolf trilogy, I completely fell in love and was heartbroken that it was over. And then Charlie Adhara gifted us with Wolf In Sheep's Clothing. Cooper and Oliver are at it again with their next big mystery. I loved the setting of this book, getting to learn more about AQs, and seeing their relationship further develop. It was a perfect balance between the investigation that kept me on my toes and my favorite duo who kept me laughing and swooning throughout. I am beyond happy the series will be continuning and only a *little* miffed I have to wait till 2021 for the next one...

An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Rating: 5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (Excerpt)

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Publication Date: January 21, 2020

Synopsis: A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected. 

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

About the Author: Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn't writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Tweet Cute is her debut novel.



“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”


Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate.

“You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her. “We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”

-Kristen ♥
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