Quick ARC Review: Ash Princess By: Laura Sebastian

Quick ARC Review: Ash Princess By: Laura Sebastian

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Title: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
Series: Ash Princess Trilogy #1
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/Indie Bookstore
Add to Goodreads

**Disclaimer – I received this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.**

Synopsis

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

 

My Review

It has taken me too long to review this release and there is a reason for it. I kept having a hard time picking it up and reading it. Each time I tried, the material reminded me of other YA Fantasy novels I previously read. YA Fantasies are beginning to become like Dystopian and Vampire mainstream novels before them. What is considered “fresh” and “new” one minute and popular, authors are told to repeat tropes to satisfy readers. This novel is heavily influenced by this.

Theodosia had promise, had. She could have used her bitterness and rage to her advantage, but sold out and “fell” for the Prinz. Her personality wavered greatly. It was almost like the fire within her was sucked out almost halfway through the novel.

I have read fantasy that are cookie cutters while others were genuinely unique to itself and stood out amongst the masses. This one, sadly, is not one of them to me.

Rating 3

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

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ARC Review: Guarded Desire By Christi Snow

ARC Review: Guarded Desire By Christi Snow

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Title: Guarded Desire
Author: Christi Snow
Series: NM Protectors #1
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Release Date: June 21, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/Indie Bookstore
Add to Goodreads

**Disclaimer – I received this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.**

Synopsis

Kidnapped and terrorized, I refuse to let anyone break me. I can stand on my own, no matter what it costs…even if that cost is my life.

Elle…
I was living the life of an ordinary college coed, but that existence was blown wide open when I was kidnapped while visiting my very famous mother, rock-star, ViviAnna.

Now I’m back at college, pretending life is normal while dodging paparazzi and dealing with my face showing up regularly on the nightly news. Trying to find a new balance isn’t happening and the effort to not jump at every shadow or bump in the night is messing with my head more than I ever expected.

Jonah…
I’m a highly trained bodyguard, but that doesn’t mean I want to deal with some spoiled pop princess’s daughter, especially if she’s anything like her handsy mother.

But when I met Elle, she shocked the hell out of me. She’s nice and thoughtful with an incredible inner strength. Even more surprising…she doesn’t want me anywhere near her. But every once in a while I see a flash of fear and vulnerability that make all my protective instincts flare.

I have to protect her.

Because they never caught her kidnapper…

About the Author

Christi Snow

As an avid reader her entire life, Christi Snow always dreamed of writing books that brought to others the kind of joy she felt when she read. But…she never did anything about it besides jot down a few ideas and sparse scenes.

When her husband retired from the Air Force, Christi decided it was time to chase her dream and she started writing. She hasn’t stopped since. With twenty-two published books in various romance genres, she’s found her passion. Now she spends her days with her laptop writing about sexy, alpha heroes and the loves of their lives.

Writing both as Christi Snow and one-half of the writing duo, KB Jacobs, Christi has fulfilled her dream… filling the world with more romance and suspense.

Her tagline is… Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. She loves this adventure and has truly found her tribe!

Contact

Blog/Goodreads/Twitter/Website

 

My Review

Want to talk about the perfect model for a book cover? All I’m saying is if I needed a guard, I’d definitely pick him. Since he’s supposed to be the character Jonah in this book and after reading it, I can absolutely see him in that role.

The great thing about this series, I must say, is that each is a standalone despite it being a series. You can read any of them out of order, but you do not need the rest. Even though this is the first one in the series, it’s a pretty good start.

Jonah, a former soldier, is placed in charge of guarding a well-known artist’s daughter after being she is rescued from a hostage situation. Elle is still recovering after being held captive. Her nightmares frighten her while her captor’s voice haunts her throughout the day. He was never caught by the police, bringing her to constantly look over her shoulder.

Her mother, ViviAnna, hires Jonah despite Elle’s protests. As a result, Jonah takes the guise of Elle’s “boyfriend” in order to protect her as she tries to complete her college degree. However, what begins as a mere act slowly transforms into attraction between the bodyguard and his ward.

The story is short, sweet, and keeps your attention due to the mystery aspect of where the captor is. I enjoyed the budding romance between Elle and Jonah. I had a little trouble with the ending. It felt rushed and needed to be drawn out a little longer. Other than that, its was a delightful read.

Rating 8

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Xpresso Blog Tour & ARC Review: Evading the Dark By E.M. Rinaldi

Xpresso Blog Tour & ARC Review: Evading the Dark By E.M. Rinaldi

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Title: Evading the Dark
Author: E.M. Rinaldi
Series: The Cross Chronicles #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
Available: Amazon/Goodreads

 

Synopsis

High school sucks. It doesn’t matter who you ask; jock, cheerleader, computer nerd, or band geek, they will all say the same thing: It’s a nightmare. But Casey is still wondering how she got the short end of the stick. Just a Sophomore at the prestigious Luthos Academy for Magical Beings, Casey already knows more about heartache and fear than any almost-sixteen-year-old should.

Orphaned and left to be raised by the Academy, she spends her days training to become a Guardian, but that dream is looking dimmer with every day that passes.Unlike the wand-waving heroines in all her favorite books, Witches in her world don’t cast spells, they are born wielding the power of nature: water, fire, earth, or air; powers Casey never developed. She’ll be lucky if they even allow her to take her final exams.

She is top of her training class, but that doesn’t keep her from being looked down upon by every other being at her school. All Casey wants is to be given a chance, instead she finds the only life she’s ever known targeted by an unfathomable evil. Thrust into the center of an age-old prophecy, a war is coming with Casey at the reins.

Will relying on her hard earned training be enough for her to make it out alive?

My Review

Evading the Dark takes us to a world where witches, vampires, fae, and shifters remain in secret. Their progeny are sent to hidden schools for the talented beings throughout the world. Casey, an orphaned child of notorious witch Carina, is taken into the Luthos Academy under the guise of her Guardian Eli in order to grow in her powers. The downside – Casey does not have any powers.

The witches at Luthos are held at an extremely high standard. Each one is drawn to one of the four elements (fire, water, air, & earth). Since Casey does not wield any of these powers, her fellow students (except her friends Cedric and Falon) go out of their way to torment her day after day for something she cannot control. I spent a good part of the book angry at her horrible treatment and the instructors turning a blind eye to it. How can you allow students harm an innocent one who cannot even fully defend herself? But, I digress. The turning point of the novel could not come at a better time when it did.

There are not many characters like Casey, period. Despite the torment, she still fights for herself even when others turn a blind eye and carries her addicting personality in tow. Even with a prophecy over her head, she doesn’t give up trying to discover her place and how she may succeed.

Wonderful story, well-thought out characters and enticing plot – one to keep an eye for sure!

Rating 8

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Blog Tour & ARC Review: Suitors and Sabotage

Blog Tour & ARC Review: Suitors and Sabotage

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Title: Suitors and Sabotage
Author: Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: April 17th, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Available: Amazon/B&N/iBooks/Kobo
Add to Goodreads

**Disclaimer – I received an ARC via NetGalley, Xpresso Tours, and Swoon Reads in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.**

dd- about the book

Two young people must hide their true feelings for each other while figuring out who means them harm in this cheeky Regency romance from the author of Love, Lies and Spies and Duels & Deception.

Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.

Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.

But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .

In Suitors and Sabotage, author Cindy Anstey delivers another witty young adult historical fiction novel that is the perfect mix of sweetly romantic and action-packed.

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Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

Contact

Website/Goodreads/Facebook/Twitter

dd- my review

Back during the regency period, comes a novel where love and mystery entangle to prepare you for Suitors and Sabotage. The love triangle aspect is turned up to a level 11 and you know how I feel about those. However, this one isn’t a true love triangle since two of the characters are obviously falling for one another and not their “suited” counterparts.
We open to the year of 1817 where Imogene Chivey’s family estate is being visited by her match, Ernest Steeple and his brother Benjamin. Her father immediately is taken with Ernest and believes the match will be prosperous while looking down upon Ernest’s brother Benjamin. Benjamin has a high interest in architecture, though, and is hired by Imogene’s father in order to restore a castle on the estate property. Benjamin has a secret, though, he lacks the ability to draw. Imogene jumps in and offers her help to teach him and their relationship takes flight from there.
Despite Ernest’s efforts, Imogene slowly begins to turn her attention to his brother Benjamin. The chemistry between these two are subtle and not overpowering like many “insta-love” literary couples. The development in their relationship takes time and it’s the PERFECT time. On the other hand, Imogene’s best friend, Emily, is falling for Benjamin as well and Ernest with Imogene, respectively. It feels a bit complicated at times and I found myself having to pause for a few minutes in order to let the idea of it all sink in.
The mystery component of this novel is gradually added into the novel. Several incidents take place, causing problems to arise for Benjamin and capture Emily and Imogene’s attention. The incidents are small and inconsequential but then they begin to escalate to where they could possibly kill someone. The reveal of the culprit needed a bit of work. I was surprised at the identity, but how they were caught is a whole other ballgame completely. It needed to be revealed in a different way, in my opinion.
I enjoyed this book. I positively enjoyed the awkward conversations and the dynamics the characters brought to the table. If you are looking for your next Regency-era YA read, I highly recommend you pick this one up!
Rating 8

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.B.H. Reviews: Hunting Prince Dracula By: Kerri Maniscalo

C.B.H. Reviews: Hunting Prince Dracula By: Kerri Maniscalo

Hello Charmers,

I’ve been meaning to post this review for awhile. With Book Tours and Blitzes coming up more and more frequently, it’s time to take a breather to review a book from my TBR 2018 Challenge. I reviewed the first book, Stalking Jack the Ripper, not too long ago and you can check out my review here.

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We pick up where Audrey Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell left off from the previous book. For the sake of the dreaded SPOILERS, we will not discuss the identity of Jack the Ripper from the first book. Because, come on, why spoil the surprise?

Audrey is suffering from symptoms of PTSD in the form of flashbacks of facing Jack the Ripper along with their shocking demise. Regardless, she is still taking on the task of heading off to Romania with Thomas to attend one of the best forensic schools in the world. They are met with a new challenge, however, in the form of a possible vampire slaying attack aboard their train, it seems Audrey and Thomas may be taking on a new case under possible vampiric circumstances.

Obviously, this is a historical fiction novel with no ties to the paranormal world, but it was nice left wondering, “What if?” throughout the novel. The inclusion of the lore behind Vlad the Impaler through adding historical facts and tales passed down from the locals enhances the storytelling greatly in this sequel verses the first book. It was harder to put this book down. Each chapter added more historical elements that made you want to learn more. History has always fascinated me and this novel made my love grow all the more.

I have to say thank you to the author for including the circumstances surround the LBGQ community around that time and including characters so understanding. We, as a society, have come a long way and still have a ways to go. But in the fictional world, you sometimes need to be reminded how history used to be in order to grow in the future.

If you haven’t read this book nor it’s first installment, it’s a must! If you are a fan of the lore of Dracula and other tales linked to the vampire lore, this is a mystery that’ll get your mind racing.

Rating 9

Have you read this series?

Which book was your favorite?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway: The Emperor’s Seal By Amanda Roberts

Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway: The Emperor’s Seal By Amanda Roberts

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Title: The Emperor’s Seal
Author: Amanda Roberts
Series: Touching Time Bk. 1
Release Date: March 2nd, 2018
Available: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

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Peking, 1902

The Emperor’s Seal – the divine symbol of the Emperor on earth – is missing. The Empress will do whatever it takes to get it back.

Jiayi has a gift – she can travel through time just by touching historical artifacts. More than anything, she wants to escape the clutches of the Empress and run away to a foreign land. Finding the Emperor’s Seal could be her only chance at freedom, but is she willing to risk the wrath of the Empress?

Historian and wannabe archaeologist Zhihao has no love for the Empress or the Qing Dynasty, but when the Empress orders him to find the Emperor’s Seal in exchange for funding China’s first history museum, he cannot refuse. It is only after he accepts the assignment that he realizes the key to finding the seal lies in the hands of a palace slave.

Civil unrest and encroaching foreign powers threaten Jiayi and Zhihao’s mission and lives as they hunt for The Emperor’s Seal.

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Amanda Roberts is a writer and editor who has been living in China since 2010. Amanda has an MA in English from the University of Central Missouri. She has been published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies around the world and she regularly contributes to numerous blogs. Amanda can be found all over the Internet, but her home is TwoAmericansinChina.com.

Contact

Website/Amazon/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Goodreads

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This Empress, oh this Empress, man, she is full of herself. Especially for the fact she has no right to hold the throne due to her losing the Emperor’s Seal and finally realizes her line could lose succession if it is not found. She sets Jiayi, a young woman in her care, along with the archaeologist, Zhihao, on a mission to find the Seal.

I felt for Jiayi and rooted for her from the beginning. She has the ability to relive the moment in time the object was moved or touch by the mere touch of an object in her possession.  Then she is paired up with Zhihao who doesn’t care about the Dynasty at all, but wants the funds in order to find his own Chinese Museum.

Of course, our heroines cannot have a pleasant journey. We discover that British excavators are also in search for artifacts around the area the Seal is rumored to be hidden. Question is, who will uncover it first?

I felt Indiana Jones vibes with this and I actually got a kick out of them. Only, we are in the Chinese Dynasty. Different time, different rules, and a different set of characters you enjoy tagging along with. From the first to the last page, I am proud to declare, “Please give me more!”

Rating 10

 

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Want to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card?

Enter Giveaway Here!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Blog Tour & Review: Inn the Spirit of Legends By: Becki Willis

Blog Tour & Review: Inn the Spirit of Legends By: Becki Willis

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Title: Inn the Spirit of Legends
Author: Becki Willis
Series: Spirits of Texas – Cozy Mysteries
Release Date: March 2nd, 2018
Available: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

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From the author of The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, comes an intriguing new book series, the Spirits of Texas Cozy Mysteries. 

When the tiny hamlet of Hannah, Texas goes up for auction, Hannah Duncan’s fun-loving uncle sees it as the perfect gift for her thirtieth birthday. After all, what’s more fun than a town bearing your own name? 

Nestled in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, the ‘town’ isn’t much — a dozen or less buildings in various stages of disrepair—but it comes with a dedicated pair of caretakers, a menagerie of farm animals, a surprisingly generous trust fund, enough stipulations to make her head spin, and a handsome but maddening attorney to oversee the handling of the estate.

Originally a stagecoach stop, Hannah, Texas resolves around the historic and rather charming Spirits of Texas Inn. The old inn comes with a colorful past, the mystique of hidden treasure, loyal guests who still book summer vacations there, and three surprise residents: true spirits of the past, who didn’t cross over as expected. 

Now Hannah has her hands full, coming to terms with her unexpected status as an innkeeper, adjusting to life in the country, fighting her attraction to attorney Walker Jacoby, plus dealing with ghosts! 

To top it off, two fortune hunters arrive to search for the hidden treasure, and they don’t care who stands in their way. They’ll stoop to any means—including murder—to get their hands on the legendary stash of gold.

Don’t miss out on the excitement, right from the beginning. Book your visit to Hannah, Texas today!

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Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of ’13, that dream became a reality. Since that time, she has published eleven books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction and Best Audio Book, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world. 

An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel, but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

Contact

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Amazon/Goodreads

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Hannah is given the birthday gift of a lifetime! But it may be more than she bargained for. Her uncle who is notorious for lavish gifts, purchases an entire town for his niece. As Hannah goes to claim her gift, she is met with a huge debacle. In order for her to receive her trust fund, she must remain in the town for a full month. No going to the store, no leaving the city, nothing. Talk about a tough gig, eh?

She is met with a list of chores she needs to tackle including taking care of the animals kept behind the Inn, coming up with a business plan for the inn, and putting up with the lawyer handling her case. The banter between these two is pretty hilarious at times. Although, I could have done with the “he’s married, but not married” trope.

Suddenly, mysterious figures begin showing up at the inn. Turns out a few friendly ghosts haunt the Inn while the other figures are on the hunt for a rumored treasure stored in the town. I hope more of this part of the story will be explored further in the sequel.

The story unfolds organically in a way you want to learn more about the “spirits” of the inn. Hannah is an enjoyable character and Walker is an absolute sweetheart. The villains, though, could have used some work. This felt like a Hallmark movie set to the page. If it is ever made into one, it is sure to become a hit with viewers.

Rating 8

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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