While You Sleep turned into so much more than I ever expected. In this small Scottish town there seemed to be more secrets than residents, and American artist Zoe Adams brings a few along with her. Renting a house she soon finds out is supposed to be haunted by the spirits of the current owner's long-ago relatives. Relatives that were heavily into the occult. Rumors of a child promised to the devil that disappeared - or died - no one seems to be really sure.
Zoe finds herself caught up in the ghosts of the house, or maybe just caught up in her own mind. Stephanie Merritt expertly weaves the story around both possibilities and left me wondering which was really true. Was Zoe being visited by spirits or was she just going crazy?
The paranormal and haunting aspects weren't too over the top though. There were enough entirely human elements for Zoe to worry about while she was there. As the tale wraps up, secrets come out, a town is forced to face its past, and Zoe is left wondering - about a lot of things.
I loved this story! It was perfectly eerie and gothic, with just the right touch of reality mixed in to make me think this could all really happen. I highly recommend this for lovers of a good book to read during a late night storm - it will definitely set the mood for you.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
Love Changes Everything is a cute and sweet romance spanning two continents. With lots of chance meetings and crazy coincidences, it was a really fun story to read. Kate and Jane were a wonderful pair of best friends and a good example of how people with very different personalities can be the perfect friend for each other.
It all starts with a trip to New York, which is a big change for two young women living in a small village in England. Love is found, love is lost, and then it resurfaces in a surprising manner. While I had a couple of the surprises figured out ahead of time, they were still fun to read. The author found the perfect way to bring the story full circle, give me more than one happy ending, and tie up loose ends, leaving me very happy at the end of the book.
I wish the book had been edited a little better. There were numerous errors that sometimes made it hard to read. It seemed to do a disservice to the heartwarming story. I would have also liked to see more of the actual dialog. I feel like the author told me what people talked about instead of letting me see what they said.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
Title: All the Wrong Places
Author: Randi Perrin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
American-born, Australian-raised Rachel Kennedy was born to be an actress--all the way down to her drama queen ways. But when a bad day leaves her life and her dream in ruins, she's not sure what to do next. Her silver spoon-upbringing never prepared her for that.
With a bank account at nothing and an inability to pull off a convincing accent for casting directors, Rachel's about to give up on everything. Not on her best friend's watch. Lily is there to help her every step of the way--if the definition of help involves convincing her to take drastic measures, each one blowing up more than the one that came before.
Once Lily shoves Rachel into the let's-get-drunk-and-screw-a-stranger phase, she winds up tangled in the arms of Christian Whitmore, a cop with a sinful smile, sexy stubble, and impeccable timing. He's there to pick her up when she falls and to take her out for fish and chips at her favourite place.
But then again, so is his identical twin brother, Kevin. Double. Trouble.
Stuck at a major crossroads in her life, can Rachel ever find happiness again, or is she just looking in all the wrong places?
Introducing Rachel Kennedy: Today’s Community Theatre Actress, Tomorrow’s Star
I’m Lily May and I’m here with the hottest thing in this hemisphere, Ms. Rachel Kennedy. Let’s get to know our up-and-coming star with a little banter. She’s got excellent fashion sense, a hot car, and perfect pitch.
LM: Would you like to tell us who you are?
RK: You just told everybody who I am.
LM: *eye roll*
RK: *big, cheesy grin* I’m Rachel Kennedy.
LM: And you are…
RK: An actress.
LM: *sighs heavily* And American. You are American.
RK: *blushing* Yes, I’m American. Baseball is boring, though, and I don’t like apple pie.
LM: What brought you here to Aus?
RK: You know the answer to these questions.
LM: *sweeping gesture toward the audience* But they don’t. Talk to the people, Rach. Your people. Your audience.
RK: My dad is Australian, so after my mum died, he uprooted my entire life and decided to move back to his homeland.
LM: Have you always been an actress?
RK: Yes. My mum was an actress and I knew I wanted to be one too, follow in her shoes.
LM: Are her shoes as fancy as your five-inch Louboutins?
RK: We had more than enough money, but I don’t really remember her wearing designer shoes. She was more about flowers than shoes—we always had fresh flowers around. Those are my lucky audition shoes, don’t knock them.
LM: Knock them? Hell, I’d like to steal them.
RK: Stick your too-big foot in them and you’re dead.
LM: American, actress, hot—who is lucky enough to call themselves your best mate?
RK: *wraps an arm around LM’s neck* Why, that would be you. Duh.
LM: Do you see a conflict of interest in my being your best friend and conducting this interview?
RK: As if a conflict of interest has ever slowed you down before. I’ve seen you do way worse.
LM: You’ve been an accomplice to way worse.
RK: Shhhhh. Don’t go spilling my skeletons before I’m famous.
LM: Get ahead of them. Admit them. Go on, tell us what you do for a living. *nudges RK in the ribs*
RK: I’m a pole dancer, just like you, only I keep my knickers on.
LM: My knickers stay on, thank you very much. Everything else, well, that all depends on how big the notes are.
RK: Let’s get this straight right now, before she keeps going. I teach pole aerobics at the gym. Lily’s the stripper. Not me. I will not take off my clothes for money, no matter how desperate I get.
LM: You’ve clearly never been desperate enough.
RK: Let’s keep it that way. Desperation, like the color orange, doesn’t look good on me.
LM: Orange? There are a whole lot of colors that don’t go with that fiery, red hair.
RK: *checks the time on her phone* Can we wrap this up?
LM: Do you have somewhere more pressing to be?
RK: No, not really, but you’re boring me.
LM: Okay, okay … lightning round. What’s your dream role?
LM: Who is your girl crush?
RK: You, of course.
LM: Boy crush?
RK: My boyfriend, Mark. Right?
LM: You keep telling yourself that. He’s a douche.
RK: I love it when you have my back like that.
LM: Someday you’ll come crying to me and I’m just going to say, “I told you so.”
RK: Never. Not gonna happen. No need. We’re perfectly happy together.
LM: There you have it folks, a truly shallow interview with our next musical theatre superstar, the ever sweet and quite delusional, Rachel Kennedy. She is going places, you guys, so be sure to catch her at the community theatre here in Brisbane while you still can, before she leaves us to return to her birthplace to take her rightful place on Broadway. Goodnight folks!
Want to know all of Rachel’s story? Did Mark finally get his head screwed on straight and propose? Did she ever become desperate enough to strip? Pick up a copy of All the Wrong Places, out now at your favourite online retailer
About Randi Perrin
English may be Randi’s first language, but she’s the most fluent in sarcasm, and it shows in her writing. She is known for creating snarky, realistic characters—badass heroines who can hold their own and flawed, yet lovable heroes. Like Randi, her characters run on caffeine and swear words.
Her characters are often built around dichotomy, much like Randi herself. Although she is the least romantic person in the world, she writes romance. She also refuses to pick a lane on the romance highway, sometimes writing contemporary, other times paranormal, but always smokin’ hot.
She is the author of the Earthbound Angels paranormal romance series, several contemporary romance novellas including Anticipating Temptation and Mi Amor, and a gay romance novella entitled Wreck You. She has also had several short stories published in anthologies. Her next full-length novel, a romantic comedy entitled All the Wrong Places, will be out in Summer 2019.
What if we weren't as unique as we thought we were? What if we were just one form of evolution from DNA placed by aliens around the universe? What if we found a way to find others that were like us - but different?
The Damocles sets off on this very mission, following coded coordinates to a planet far away (like so far I can't really comprehend). When they come out of deep sleep as they approach the planet Didet, they are about to come face to face with Earther's ancient cousins (of a sort). As they prepare to drones to scan the planet before they make contact, their ship has a hissy fit (yes, a hissy fit, the crew talks about the propulsion crystal as if it were a person). They are forced to make contact before they are prepared, and they are trusting Meg, their language specialist, to get them through first contact.
I loved first contact. It was stressful and suspenseful, and Loul (the Dideto) and his POV were fantastic. I loved the hurdles of them trying to learn complex concepts such as trust, family, and question mark. I was excited every time they had a breakthrough and the awe and wonder on both sides. Meg does an amazing job of learning to communicate, and her love of discovery shows in each of her pages.
Now, this might sound like a bit of a dull story, but it was far from that. We have the Dideto government trying to make moves, the media trying to find a new scoop, and the workers just trying to figure anything out. Several times things start to fall apart and the struggle to keep things on track (and not give anyone a reason to shoot at anyone else) is clear in so many of the interactions.
And the ending - well, it was pretty intense for a while. But the actual ending - the last few pages (minutes?) were a bit of a letdown. I wanted to see how it all turned out. I wanted to know just a little bit more about how everyone's story ends. Still, a story that I will be listening to again.
The narrator did a fantastic job. Her portrayals of both the Earthers and the Dideto were fantastic. She caught the emotion and did a great job of distinguishing voices and personalities.
Lady Scandal finds herself wedded to Lord Randolph after losing a bet. An interesting start to the story, and if you've read the first book in Wendy LaCapra's Furies series (which I highly recommend), then this doesn't seem all that unusual for the group of women who run the gaming parties.
But that really isn't the truly scandalous start of the book. It started when Sophia (Lady Scandal) found out that Lord Randolph was more than she thought. He wasn't just someone to satisfy an inch and wrap around her finger. He was trained under her father - a father she hated - as a ruthless political spy. And now Sophia is convinced he's using her.
And maybe he is? I can totally see where Sophia is coming from, but Lord Randolph is far more than anything she really expects, and there are a few things she will end up teaching him and he will teach her.
This book isn't just a romp through historical romance. It has one heck of a suspense storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat. There were a few places that I feel like things were glossed over just to keep the veil around who the bad guy really is in place, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. It seemed unnecessarily convoluted because of it. Kasai - Kasai sounds like a horrible person - and the fact that he can cast such a shadow over our couple without actually making an appearance for a very long time, just shows how much his specter alone can influence and manipulate.
I really really enjoyed their time at the Quaker farm. Elizabeth was an odd breath of fresh air and honesty, and her way of life and way of putting things into perspective left an impression on both Sophia and Randolph that I think will last into their future.
In the end, we have just as many loose ties as we did at the beginning - just different ones. As one part of the Fury's lives seems to wrap up - something else blows wide open. Looks like I'll need to read the third book in the series to get the final scoop on everything.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
No Turning Back was an incredibly emotional and heart-pounding journey. I stayed up late and put everything else aside because I just had to finish it and see what happened.
To start things off, Livvy is already dealing with some serious trauma that is affecting her ability to perform. We get a feel for what happened, but don't really find out the full details of the situation until later. To try and get her mojo back by singing in front of a smaller audience, she joins a church outreach group as part of the choir. But their outreach isn't what she expected. It's in San Quentin prison, and while she does decide to go (or we wouldn't have a story), it's reluctantly.
You can feel the tension building this whole time, and we know what's going to happen. But when it does, and the riot breaks out, it still floored me. The reactions, the danger, the help coming from surprising places. Livvy finds herself running with the help of an inmate that is trying to protect her. But she has caught the eye of a very bad man - like one of the worst I've read about, and he is determined to hunt her down. Not only that, but Livvy is separated from her group and in a sea of men that are mostly out for whatever they can get their hands on.
One of the things I loved the most about this book was the characters' faith. It wasn't perfect, but it was incredibly real. When things hit the fan, there was doubt, there was prayer, there was bargaining with God to do something - anything - to save their friends. And faith also brought help from some pretty surprising places. It was incredibly powerful.
The prison itself was detailed beautifully and without this living, breathing backdrop, the story wouldn't have worked. The place seemed to have a life of its own and lived by rules that seemed foreign to me. The culture is different, the politics are different, the people (guards and prisoners) are different. Katie Vorreiter brought the place and the people to life for me.
This book is one that will sit with me for a while in all the best ways. I keep revisiting passages and thinking about everything that happened. It has been the highlight of the year so far.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
The Land was my first foray into LitRPG, and I have discovered something that I absolutely love! I think listening to the story in audio format made the experience even better. As we walk through the adventure with Richter - we experience his "dings" as he levels, as well as a few other sound effects that are NOT part of the general narration - just a few select areas that PC or console games will recognize and smile. However, if you are not a gamer of some sort, then many of the fun aspects of this book may not be as enjoyable to you.
I couldn't pinpoint any one specific game all the elements pulled from, but there were bits and pieces from several I have played over the years - from console, to PC, to tabletop. The story follows Richter - a human Chaos Seed - into a realm where the game has become real. From here we dive into an amazing fantasy story that could stand on its own (although quite a bit shorter) without the gaming references. We meet a fun variety of creatures, both friendly and otherwise, all with some very unique personalities and goals. The world itself is built slowly as Richter discovers it, but there are a few hints that it is incredibly vast and many adventures could be found.
Founding tells the story of the beginning of Richter's journey as he discovers The Land and its people. I feel like this would have been the equivalent of the first book in a campaign box set, and it wraps up rather nicely at the end with many strings closed, but leaves a few hanging out there to be pulled apart in the next book - which I am definitely getting as soon as my Audible credits are here.
The end of the third book in the Charlie Davidson series was emotionally draining and somewhat traumatic. Betrayal all around, and I wondered how Charlie was going to come out of this one.
Well, she doesn't exactly. Which was a stroke of brilliance by author Darynda Jones to make her seem more human and real. She is no longer the Grim Reaper and PI Extrodiarre, she is also Charlie - the woman who was hurt, betrayed, and tortured - trying to come to terms with what she's going to do next and looking for comfort in her credit card and home shopping channels.
It takes a new case to start to bring her back to herself. And this case was pretty interesting. I loved the look at the psychology behind our memories and what trauma can do to them. There were some pretty nice twists in it as well, and while I sort of had things figured out, there was one really big surprise that I didn't see coming at all. I understand that Charlie's cases need to be action-packed and exciting, but I'd like to see her come of out one without a near-death experience.
Reyes is back and not in Charlie's good graces. But he has a few things up his sleeve still to try and make things right with her. I'm incredibly curious to see where their storyline goes as we find out more and more about Charlie's unknown abilities and Reyes' background and motives.
I think the narrator for this audiobook is one of my favorites. She tells the story so well and is very easy to listen to.
I feel like this book is the real beginning of the world known as Shannara. The Legends of Shannara series starts after "our" world has ended and a small enclave of various races and creatures have taken shelter within a magical foggy shield. The world has been kept at bay as it crumbles under countless disasters, but this small group has lived in peace behind their magical walls, forming the beginnings of the kingdoms and regions I've grown to love over the vast Shannara series.
But the walls begin to crumble, and the outside world comes calling in a rather vicious and bloodthirsty way. Having been protected for so long, the people of Shannara are not prepared and don't even really believe the scouts who spotted the intruders - and the invaders. The outside world has been struggling to survive, and the formerly sheltered valley looks like a place they want to call home as well.
I found a lot of those traditional fantasy elements that I love so much. A handful of people slowly becoming a small part of 5 or 6. Different races and regions coming together, trying to save a world that doesn't even know (or want to admit) that it needs saving. Enemies and dangers hiding in plain sight and betrayal always a possibility with each new turn. By the end of the book, the lines have been drawn and many of the sides have been determined, but I haven't even gotten to the big fight yet. Things are still being prepared, and you never know what could happen next.