The Heart of the Deal – Linday MacMillan E-Arc Review

I received a free e-Arc from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review!!

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Alcove Press
Date: June 7, 2022
Author: Lindsay MacMillan

SUMMARY:

Rae is in a romantic recession.
 
The Wall Street banker is single in New York City and overwhelmed by the pressure to scramble up the corporate and romantic ladders. Feeling her biological clock ticking, she analyzes her love life like a business deal and vows to lock in a husband before her 30th birthday. 
 
The Manhattan dating app scene has as many ups and downs as the stock market, and outsourcing dates to an algorithm isn’t exactly Rae’s idea of romance. She considers cutting her losses, but her friends help her stay invested, boosting her spirits with ice cream and cheap wine that they share in their sixth-floor walk-up while recapping cringe-worthy dates.
 
And then Rae meets Dustin, a poetic soul trapped in a business suit, just like her. She starts to hear wedding bells, but Dustin’s story is a complicated one, and no amount of financial modeling can project what their future will look like.
 
Can Rae free herself from the idea she had of what thirty was supposed to look like and let love breathe on its own timeline? Or is she too conditioned to stay on the “right track” to follow her unpaved intuition?

MY REVIEW:
I had mixed feelings about this story. The summary is great but the relationship between Rae and Dustin just didn’t click to me as a romcom. Granted not every romance is super awesome magic but I can’t explain it. It just was different.

Dustin was battling depression and I’m aware that everyone copes with it differently. The communication and not acknowledging how he treated her was not a good thing. I wish the communication was a bit better between them. I’m not going to launch into everything about this. I will say there were a few sparks between them but it just short ones. I did like the poetry banter between them.

Other than trying to figure out her relationship goal, RaeI had to decide what to do about her work life. Does she stick with a job that gets her living or does she go after her dream? That’s a tough choice and it’s relatable!

It seems like Rae has lots of things going on in her life like her work, trying to get a relationship, her family dynamics, and her friends. I understand people have these things going on. She seemed young and I think she needed more time to figure out things.

Maybe it was the flow of the book that was long for me. It was a bit blah to me at the end.

This book I would say it’s a bit dark, maybe triggering for some and just different. As I said I have mixed feelings on this story. That is all I can say.

E-Arc Review of A Letter to Three Witches

I received a free e-arc copy from Netgalley and the publisher: Kensington for an honest review!

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington
  • Date: January 25, 2022
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • Author: Elizabeth Bass
  • Twitter

Summary:

In the sleepy college town of Zenobia, New York, the only supernatural trace on display is the name of Gwen Engel’s business—Abracadabra Odd Job Service. But Gwen’s family has some unusual abilities they’ve been keeping under wraps—until one little letter spells big trouble…
 
Nearly a century ago, Gwen Engel’s great-great-grandfather cast a spell with catastrophic side-effects. As a result, the Grand Council of Witches forbade his descendants from practicing witchcraft. The Council even planted anonymous snitches called Watchers in the community to report any errant spellcasting…
 
Yet magic may still be alive and not so well in Zenobia. Gwen and her cousins, Trudy and Milo, receive a letter from Gwen’s adopted sister, Tannith, informing them that she’s bewitched one of their partners and will run away with him at the end of the week. While Gwen frets about whether to trust her scientist boyfriend, currently out of town on a beetle-studying trip, she’s worried that local grad student Jeremy is secretly a Watcher doing his own research.
 
Cousin Trudy is so stressed that she accidentally enchants her cupcakes, creating havoc among her bakery customers—and in her marriage. Perhaps it’s time the family took back control and figured out how to harness their powers. How else can Gwen decide whether her growing feelings for Jeremy are real—or the result of too many of Trudy’s cupcakes?

My Review:

This book was cute, funny, had cupcake magic and transformation of animals! Since there was so much going on the story, the story did lose a few sparks for me. I did read the whole thing because I wanted to see what was going to happen to : Tannith, Gwen, Trudy and even Gwen’s aunt who can be snarky at times. Gwen the main character was great because she took control of how to solve the problem that was happening. I can only imagine how her stress level was.

It was different to me. I don’t know if it was because so much was going on or because my mood has been on and off lately. I am glad that I read it because it did have parts making me smile and some parts giggling a bit. The romance aspect of the book did not seem that intense but it was there. I will say that the last few line in the story had my heart feeling warm. Here is the line “Moonlight broke through the clouds and Jeremey pulled away slowly, looking into my eyes. “It wasn’t the cupcakes,” he said. “

If you are looking for witches in a comedy chaos, then this book is for you!

The cover is so cute!!

I spy Fiction

Which book are you going to pick up today to read?

Don’t they all look so good?

I may want to read all of them……
although I have quite a few other books that are telling me to read them now.

The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

Welcome to Little Bridge, one of the smallest, most beautiful islands in the Florida Keys.

Jo Wright always swore she’d never step foot on Little Bridge Island—not as long as her nemesis, bestselling author Will Price, is living there.

Then Jo’s given an offer she can’t refuse: an all-expense paid trip to speak and sign at the island’s first ever book festival.

Even though arrogant Will is the last person Jo wants to see, she could really use the festival’s more-than-generous speaking fee. She’s suffering from a crippling case of writer’s block on the next installment of her bestselling children’s series, and her father needs financial help as well.

Then Jo hears that Will is off-island on the set of the film of his next book. Hallelujah!

But when she arrives on Little Bridge, Jo is in for a shock: Will is not only at the book festival, but seems genuinely sorry for his past actions—and more than willing not only to make amends, but prove to Jo that he’s a changed man.

Things seem to be looking up—until disaster strikes, causing Jo to wonder: Do any of us ever really know anyone?

Back in high school, Lily Wang wanted to be popular, but she considered herself lucky to be part of a tight group of oddballs and honors students called the Nerd Herd. Now, at twenty-eight, she feels like she’s finally on the cusp of succeeding as a beauty influencer―if she can hit five million subscribers, brands will take notice and she could get her own makeup line.

Fellow Nerd Herd alum Tobin Bui has had a lot of success as a YouTube gamer. But the road to online stardom has been rocky. First, he disappointed his parents by dropping out of college, and now, after years of pranks, skits, and playthroughs, he’s struggling to come up with new content to satisfy his ever-growing fan base. His agents say he needs cross-audience appeal, a new twist.

When Nerd Herd frenemy Lily approaches Tobin about teaming up to do a video to bolster her brand and reinvigorate his, he agrees. But when their first collab video goes viral, their relationship heats up too. With the whole internet watching, will these two former misfits finally realize they’re perfect together?

A firebird is reborn on the borders of Russia, a gate to a world of monsters and magic is breaking, and only a reluctant, untrained shaman stands in the way of a flood of supernatural darkness…

Anya is still reeling from the death of her grandfather when a strange encounter with the Finnish God of the Dead changes her life forever: Her family has been guarding the gates to the Russian otherworld on their farm for centuries, and she’s the new gatekeeper. Worse, if she doesn’t awaken her magical abilities and assume her new role, the gate will break, unleashing a flood of monsters and dark gods into their world.

As Anya struggles to make sense of her changing world, she can’t deny the strange encounters. She’ll need to accept her fate and work with the legendary firebird if she hopes to survive—and protect humanity.

At nineteen, Auris Afton Grieg has led an . . . unusual life. Since the age of fifteen, she has been trapped in a sinister prison. Why? She does not know. She has no memories of her past beyond the vaguest of impressions. All she knows is that she is about to age out of the children’s prison, and rumors say that the adult version is far, far worse. So she and some friends stage a desperate escape into the surrounding wastelands. And it is here that Auris’s journey of discovery begins, for she is rescued by an unusual stranger who claims to be Fae—a member of a magical race that Auris had thought to be no more than legend. Odder still, he seems to think that she is one as well, although the two look nothing alike. But strangest of all, when he brings her to his wondrous homeland, she begins to suspect that he is right. Yet how could a woman who looks entirely human be a magical being herself?

Death needs a vacation. Badly. But there’s a catch: There are people who cheat the system, always falling through the cracks and not dying like they’re supposed to. Who’s going to take care of them while Death’s sipping on sangria?

The answer is simple: Death needs an intern, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that one prospect, Buck Palasinksia—a bankrupt hitman with a roleplaying addiction—might have what it takes. While scoping out his next target, Buck gets drilled in the forehead by a bullet and falls right into Death’s lap.

If they shove him back into his body, he’ll have a few weeks to prove that he has what it takes to be Death’s right-hand.

All he has to do is take out Public Enemy No. 1, John Dillinger, and quit smoking.

I spy Fantasy book today

Another cool book I saw at work today….
Stunning cover! Isn’t the castle so cool?

Juliet Marillier

A young warrior who wields both the power of her music and the strength of her sword faces a grave threat in this enthralling historical fantasy.

Bard and fighter Liobhan is always ready for a challenge. So when news arrives at Swan Island that the prince of Dalriada has gone missing after an assault by both masked men and the sinister Crow Folk, she’s eager to act.

While Liobhan and her fellow Swan Island warriors seek answers to the prince’s disappearance, the bard Brocc, Liobhan’s brother, finds himself in dire trouble. His attempts to communicate with the Crow Folk have led him down a perilous path. When Liobhan and her comrades are sent to the rescue, it becomes clear the two missions are connected–and a great mystery unfolds.

What brought the Crow Folk to Erin? And who seeks to use them in an unscrupulous bid for power? As Liobhan and Brocc investigate, it will take all their strength and will to continue pursuing the truth. With the safety of their loved ones in the balance, the risks they must take may cost them everything.

Orphan Witch is out to purchase

Go pick up Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher today!!
It’s out!!!

What the book is about:

A deeper magic. A stronger curse. A family lost…and found.

Persephone May has been alone her entire life. Abandoned as an infant and dragged through the foster care system, she wants nothing more than to belong somewhere. To someone. However, Persephone is as strange as she is lonely. Unexplainable things happen when she’s around―changes in weather, inanimate objects taking flight―and those who seek to bring her into their family quickly cast her out. To cope, she never gets attached, never makes friends. And she certainly never dates. Working odd jobs and always keeping her suitcases half-packed, Persephone is used to moving around, leaving one town for another when curiosity over her eccentric behavior inevitably draws unwanted attention.

After an accidental and very public display of power, Persephone knows it’s time to move on once again. It’s lucky, then, when she receives an email from the one friend she’s managed to keep, inviting her to the elusive Wile Isle. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. However, upon arrival, Persephone quickly discovers that Wile is no ordinary island. In fact, it just might hold the very things she’s been searching for her entire life.

Answers. Family. Home.

And some things she did not want. Like 100-year-old curses and an even older family feud. With the clock running out, love might be the magic that saves them all.

I did read this book on Netgalley a while back and I loved it!

Check out my review that I did on Orphan Witch here!

If you enjoy witches and adventure then this book is for you!
Go get it!!

Amazon

Barnes and Nobles

BAM

Macmillan Publishers

Psst if you cannot afford the book, another idea is to ask your local library to get it!!
Another great resource!
Also tweet to the author and leave a review about the book if you enjoyed it.

I spy Youth Fiction Books


Check out these Youth Fiction books.

It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna’s mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows to him that she will care for the family she has left—her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito—until they can be reunited. They flee north through the unforgiving desert as their town burns, searching for safe harbor in a world that offers none.

Each night when Petra closes her eyes, she holds her dreams close, especially her long-held desire to learn to read. Abuelita calls these barefoot dreams: “They’re like us barefoot peasants and indios—they’re not meant to go far.” But Petra refuses to listen. Through battlefields and deserts, hunger and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border—a life where her barefoot dreams could finally become reality.

Yusuf Azeem has spent all his life in the small town of Frey, Texas—and nearly that long waiting for the chance to participate in the regional robotics competition, which he just knows he can win.

Only, this year is going to be more difficult than he thought. Because this year is the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an anniversary that has everyone in his Muslim community on edge.

With “Never Forget” banners everywhere and a hostile group of townspeople protesting the new mosque, Yusuf realizes that the country’s anger from two decades ago hasn’t gone away. Can he hold onto his joy—and his friendships—in the face of heartache and prejudice?

In the hottest hour of the hottest day of the year, a fateful wind blows into Oaxaca City. It whistles down cobbled streets and rustles the jacaranda trees before slipping into the window of an eleven-year-old girl named Clara. Unbeknownst to her, Clara has been marked for la Lotería.
 
Life and Death deal the Lotería cards but once a year, and the stakes could not be higher. Every card reveals a new twist in Clara’s fate—a scorpion, an arrow, a blood-red rose. If Life wins, Clara will live to a ripe old age. If Death prevails, she’ll flicker out like a candle. 
 
But Clara knows none of this. All she knows is that her young cousin Esteban has vanished, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save him, traveling to the mythical Kingdom of Las Pozas, where every action has a price, and every choice has consequences. And though it seems her fate is sealed, Clara just might have what it takes to shatter the game and choose a new path.

Kazu knows something odd is going on when he sees a girl in a white kimono sneak out of his house in the middle of the night―was he dreaming? Did he see a ghost? Things get even stranger when he shows up to school the next day to see the very same figure sitting in his classroom. No one else thinks it’s weird, and, even though Kazu doesn’t remember ever seeing her before, they all seem convinced that the ghost-girl Akari has been their friend for years!

When Kazu’s summer project to learn about Kimyo Temple draws the meddling attention of his mysterious neighbor Ms. Minakami and his secretive new classmate Akari, Kazu soon learns that not everything is as it seems in his hometown. Kazu discovers that Kimyo Temple is linked to a long forgotten legend about bringing the dead to life, which could explain Akari’s sudden appearance―is she a zombie or a ghost? Kazu and Akari join forces to find and protect the source of the temple’s power. An unfinished story in a magazine from Akari’s youth might just hold the key to keeping Akari in the world of the living, and it’s up to them to find the story’s ending and solve the mystery as the adults around them conspire to stop them from finding the truth.

Javi Santiago is trying his best not to fail sixth grade. So, when the annual “invite any three people to dinner” homework assignment rolls around, Javi enlists his best friend, Wiki, and his sister, Brady, to help him knock it out of the park.

But the dinner party is a lot more than they bargained for. The family’s mysterious antique table actually brings the historical guests to the meal…and Blackbeard the Pirate is turning out to be the worst guest of all time.

Before they can say “avast, ye maties,” Blackbeard escapes, determined to summon his bloodthirsty pirate crew. And as Javi, Wiki, and Brady try to figure out how to get Blackbeard back into his own time, they might have to invite some even zanier figures to set things right again…

I spy Night Fright Series Youth

Youth fiction books for ages 7 to 12 years old.
Check them out.

Wolver Hollow is not a normal town. The adults are too busy shuffling off to work at the old coffin factory to notice or care, but the kids know all about monsters, ghosts, and strange lights in the sky. Strange things happen in Wolver Hollow. Creepy things.

But fifth graders Parker and Lucas are determined to debunk one of Wolver Hollow’s legends: Over a hundred years ago, Bockius Beauregard was vaporized in an unfortunate accident and all that remained was his magnificent mustache. People say it returns every year, on the anniversary of Bockius’s death, seeking a lip to claim as its own! When the boys try to prove the story is fake, the find more than they bargained for.

Wolver Hollow is not a normal town. The adults are too busy shuffling off to work at the old coffin factory to notice or care, but the kids know all about monsters, ghosts, and strange lights in the sky. Strange things happen in Wolver Hollow. Creepy things.

Madeline Harper does not like lima beans and she’s not afraid to make that clear. But when she gets sent to bed for not eating her vegetables, she’ll find something far worse than her mother’s frustration. A lima bean scorned is a terrible thing and it will not stop until Madeline Harper eats her vegetables!

I spy Teen Fiction

Check these two Teen Fiction books out!

Meeting a gorgeous guy in a rideshare headed to Lollapalooza is not how Mari expected her Chicago summer to start. She doesn’t believe in dating…but TJ may just change her mind. Can an electric, weekend romance turn into more than just a summer fling?

When Mari hails a Ryde to a music festival, the last thing she expects is for the car to pick up a gorgeous guy along the way. Mari doesn’t believe in dating—it can only end with a broken heart. Besides, she’s only staying at her dad’s house in Chicago for the weekend. How close can you get to a guy in three days?

TJ wants to study art in college, but his family’s expectations cast a long shadow over his dreams. When he meets Mari in the back of a rideshare, he feels alive for the first time in a long time.

Mari and TJ enter the festival together and share an electric moment but get separated in a crowd with seemingly no way to find each other. When fate reunites them (with a little help from a viral hashtag), they’ll have to decide: was it love at first sight, or the start of nothing more than a weekend fling?

When Isabella Brixton is forced to move from New York City to a tiny town, she’s not thrilled. The silver lining is the gorgeous old mansion she now calls home. As the former residence of a glamorous patron of the arts and muse who died many decades ago, the house has its quirks: whole floors are boarded up, old paintings are covered, and cell reception is nonexistent.

Isa is ready to hate her new life, but things turn around when her classmate Alexa, a skilled photographer, suggests they start an Instagram account featuring portraits of Isa inside the mansion. Wearing gowns and jewelry hidden away in the house, Isa looks perfect in the unfiltered photos—almost unnaturally so—and they quickly go viral. Soon she’s got a new best friend, a potential boyfriend, and is surrounded by a group of girls who want the photoshoots and fame for themselves. But there’s a darkness in the house, and a darkness growing in Isa, too. When girls start getting hurt, it’s clear that something—or someone—in the house is growing in power, with deadly intentions.

Book Review: Night’s Illusion by Amanda Ashley

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Zebra Books
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ August 24, 2021
  • Pages: 261
  • Author: Amanda Ashley

Giovanni Lanzoni may just be the world’s oldest male virgin. Or at least, the oldest male virgin vampire. Giovanni has clung to the vows he made a thousand years ago as a mortal priest—yet he is no longer either of those things. Others of his kind have settled down since claiming immortality, finding love, even raising children. Sensing his loneliness, Mara, Queen of the Vampires, eagerly sets out to find Giovanni the perfect mate. But only one woman, met by chance on a dark night, truly tempts him . . .

Cassie Douglas has never met a man she trusts as much as Giovanni. Yet the shocking truth he reveals makes her question their deep connection. There are other urgent obstacles too. Giovanni’s sire, an ancient, dangerously powerful vampire, is awakening after centuries of slumber, with vengeance on his mind. And in the battle unfolding around them, everything is at risk—their lives, their loved ones, and a passionate eternity together . . .



MY REVIEW:
I picked this book up because I felt like it. I have read many of Amanda Ashley’s books back in the day. I finished this book in one day because there was so much going on. It was an interesting read to see Mara try to play match maker for Giovanni.

Giovanni didn’t need help at all as he found Cassie one night. The sparks between them were sweet. It was a little slow but a good slow. I like how the two of the communicated really well. Even when Giovanni talked about being a virgin to her as she was kind to make him feel not so embarrassed about it. As the story went on, Cassie was thrown into the world of meeting all the other vampires as it was awkward because Giovanni was old school. He wanted to get married before he actually did the deed.

Of course there is a villian – Alric! I don’t like him. He’s mean and an awful vampire. He wants revenge on Mara who’s the oldest vampire ever because she killed someone he loved. He also is related to Giovanni. So will he get his revenge, will he take down Mara or Giovanni? What will he do? Is he that cunning?

Will Mara or Giovanni stop Alric? Will Cassie survive? Will she be turned to a vampire? Will Cassie and Giovanni have a happy ending?

Isn’t the cover cute?

Go pick up the book to find out!

Lauren Smith Vampire Books Review

I came upon Lauren’s books from reading her “Midnight with the Devil” by Emma Castle (Her other name).
I asked her if she wrote any paranormal and she said yes under the name of Lauren Smith.
I ended up purchasing the vampire ones.
So let us begin the reviews.

Sorry that it has been a while, dealing with life and my mental status.

Lauren Smith
Twitter
Instagram

SUMMARY:
She is theirs to claim. They are hers to save.

Zoey Blake is about as far down on her luck as she can get. A car crash took her parents, leaving her destitute and on the street. When she’s attacked by another homeless person, her lifeblood drains away as her fading vision is filled with the face of a handsome stranger.

Ian Kennedy, a century old Irish vampire, never could resist rescuing a stray. As a few drops of his blood heals Zoey’s wounds, he realizes she’s a sweet, tempting, flesh-and-blood woman. But there’s one problem. Connor, who made Ian promise decades ago: no more mortal lovers.

After another vampire murdered his soulmate, Connor O’Shea swore never to let a mortal woman pay the price for loving him. Until he feels Zoey’s skin and tastes her lips. She makes him want to break that vow.

Zoey finds herself caught in their web of seduction. But as Christmas draws near and her grief deepens, happiness seems far out of reach. And Ian and Connor join forces to prove their love is sacred, special…and forever.

Warning: This book contains two scorching-hot Irish vampires, one lady with plenty of pluck but zero luck, naughty lingerie, and enough Christmas cheer to redeem even the darkest creatures.

MY REVIEW:
This one caught me off guard. I would have never thought of a story like this. The beginning was cute as Ian was adorable. Sensitive vampire guy! While Connor is a bit different. He shows off his tough and macho side. Two opposite ends of the spectrum. When Zoey enters the picture, things change for the two vampires. It was a sweet and simple story. I did have to chuckle at a few parts of how Zoey’s reaction to a few things. It was a really sweet book and the ending was great. Something different. I’m glad I read it!! Can I have another adventure of the trio?

SUMMARY:
Sadie Harris doesn’t like immortals. After vampires leave her an orphan, she’s raised by her grandmother at the edge of a werewolf pack’s territory. As a fox shifter she knows the rules about werewolves: Stay clear of the boundaries, never go out after dark during the full moon and take a vacation far, far away when she goes into her shifter mating heat or else she’ll attract literal “big bad wolves.” But when her flight gets cancelled and her mating heat is coming – so are the wolves. The last thing she expects is to get rescued by a tall, dark and gorgeous man…er…vampire. What’s a vixen to do? Seamus Gallagher might be immortal but his life is full of mortal problems: he’s been framed for the murder of the woman his two best friends loved; he’s on a mission to find and kill his sire; and, he has no idea what to do with the feisty red-headed vixen he just rescued from a vicious werewolf pack. He doesn’t have time to babysit a skittish shifter who hates vampires, but when he looks at her, Seamus sees trouble. Sexy, sweet, and irresistible trouble. The last thing this vamp needs is to fall in love.

MY REVIEW:
I love this one!! I ordered the book from amazon as the cover is a bit different than the kindle edition. Both covers are gorgeous! Oh by gosh, the sass between Sadie and Seamus after they literally meet! It was perfect. I did like Seamus motorcycle move. As Seamus gets involved with Sadie, the adventure builds up. Dealing with Sadie’s grandma, wolves, friends from the past, and enemy from the past, Seamus is doing the best he can. Even Sadie tries to cope with everything going around especially vampires. I literally could not put this book down due to the action, story, steamy cute moments, and everything! I just had to know what was going to happen between the two with their adventure. I like how the story builds up which is the best! Even the connection and conversation between Sadie and Seamus is just perfect. A real connection is so fun to see. You’ll have to read it how it goes down. There are a few steamy parts in the book but those steamy parts actually tie in with what was going on in the story since Sadie is in heat. She’s a fox after all!