Book Review

“Roseblood” by A.G. Howard (Book Review)

I was really excited to dive into “Roseblood” by A.G. Howard when it was selected as a novel for my Romance Book Club, especially after reading the tagline: “A Phantom of the Opera-inspired retelling”. I’m a huge Phantom of the Opera fan and couldn’t wait to see what twists this story added to the classic tale. It was beyond my expectations — fantastic!

I have to applaud A.G. Howard for the amazing way this novel is written. Being a big fan of Phantom of the Opera, I loved seeing little details and Easter Eggs hidden throughout the novel. However, you don’t have to be a big PoTO nerd to read this book. Any important information in the history of the world is explained, making it a great book for any who want to take the first step into this world.

I adored the main characters, and of course The Phantom. The only piece of criticism I have of the novel is I wish we could have gotten more of the secondary characters. With such fantastic personalities and relationships given in the beginning, I wish they would’ve had a bigger role in the final climax and ending. Although, perhaps they will get their own book later?

If you’re looking for a fantastic story that will grab your imagination and have you believing in mystical Phantoms, while also giving you one twist after the next, pick up A.G. Howard’s “Roseblood”.

And be sure to pack tissues — because that final twist hit me in the feels!

Happy Reading!

Book Review

“From Blood and Ash” by Jennifer Armentrout (Book Review)

“From Blood and Ash” by Jennifer Armentrout is the Goodreads Choice Best Romance for 2020. When I saw this announcement, I was excited to dive in and start reading. I never could have imagined the book would capture my imagination (and my inner conspiracy theorist) so fantastically.

This novel was a magical trip into the fantasy world of Ascended, Atlanteans, Wolven, and of course the main character Poppy, the Maiden. It follows Poppy as she struggles with the weight that was put on her shoulder as being the chosen one, the Maiden. She fights against her wants and the needs of the people, her own attraction to her personal guard, and what it means to truly be herself.

Admittedly, I read this book for my romance book club and each meeting everyone enjoyed as I had so many theories about what was going on behind the scenes. Yes, I was very interested in Poppy and if she would finally wind up with Hawke, but the world building was what really had me in this novel. There was so much mystery and intrigue it was hard to put the book down.

My only negative take from the book was the ending. It left things on a huge cliff hanger that I wasn’t satisfied with. A lot was laid out at the end of book one that made if very hard to see the good that was to come or even feel like the story was at a good stopping point. It wasn’t the “HEA” (Happily Ever After) or “HFN” (Happy For Now) I have come to expect from romance novels. In fact, my book club and I had a discussion about whether book one should be considered a fantasy romance or just fantasy. However, the ending of book one did make diving into book two all that much easier.

Book two picks up right after book one ends and flows seamlessly from one to the next. Where book one deals with Poppy realizing who she is and what is really happening in the world around her, book two dives into her healing and discovering what power she holds. I must insert a warning here that there is abuse, torture, gore, and a great deal of betrayal in both novels. It can hit hard, so if you don’t like reading those themes, this book may not be for you.

I did enjoy these books and I’m excited for book three (which comes out next month!). I am hopeful that Poppy gets her happy ending and that all my theories about what is going on in the world is correct. This is a deep dive read, that has you thinking about each and every detail. If you’re looking for a fantasy romance that will pull you into the world, and you’re up for that deep dive, be sure to check out “From Blood and Ash” By Jennifer Armentrout.

Book Review

“Ice Planet Barbarians” by Ruby Dixon (Book Review)

“Ice Planet Barbarians” by Ruby Dixon has been on my to-be-read pile for a while now. Ever since I heard about it on the Heaving Bosoms Podcast, I have been obsessed. Let me tell you, it was well worth the wait! You may find yourself wondering what on earth is going on as you see the large, blue, horned man on the cover. Well, it is just an amazing little novel called “Ice Planet Barbarians”.

“Ice Planet Barbarians” is the first of an ongoing series by Ruby Dixon. It follows the lives of women who were stolen away from earth by horrendously evil aliens. When they decide to rise up and take over the ship, it crash-lands on a frozen wasteland of a planet and they have to fight for survival. In particular, the first book follows Georgie, the unofficial leader of their troupe.

This first book follows Georgie, the brave woman who sets out into the frozen tundra after their crash to find help. She finds it in Vektal, leader of a tribe of tall, blue, horned aliens. Between language barriers, cultural differences, and good ole misunderstandings, their first days spent together are rather…unique.

Vektal and Georgie make a fantastic pair, which leads to hilarious interactions and sexy love scenes. I spent my evening laughing my head off while squealing happily over nearly every scene the couple was in. It is a short book and a perfect read for after a long day at work.

However, I must warn you that the beginning of the book is NOT light hearted. It contains sexual assault – from the aliens who kidnap the women. If you are not comfortable with these themes, I would recommend sipping the early chapters or reading a quick synopsis on line and then jumping into book 2! If you are looking for a new series to dive into and want something completely different and unique, I recommend the Ice Planet Barbarian series. Each novel follows a different pair as they find love and connect as a mated pair. If you let it, I bet “Ice Planet Barbarian” by Ruby Dixon will become one of your favorite reads.

Check Out Ruby Dixon’s Works!

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Top 10 Reads of 2020

It is hard to believe 2020 is already coming to an end. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the new year, but I did have some highlights this year…

  • I published my first book “Goodnight, Little Grubb”
  • I started querying my first romance novel “Rhys of Novia”
  • I sent “A Second Chance” off to be professionally edited for indie publishing
  • I started a new Tarot Reading Business to help me cover editing/publishing costs, and…
  • I read nearly 80 books!

As much of a dumpster fire as 2020 was, I did have those highlights and some AMAZING books that I read this year. I figured with the year nearly over it would be the perfect time to share my TOP 10 READS OF 2020! If you are looking for some new novels to dive into in 2021, might I interest you in these?!

#10: “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman

I have always had a love for Norse Mythos, so this book was perfect for a night in of reading. So creative and fun, while also sharing classic stories!

#9: “Desperate Measures” by Katee Robert

A sexy romance that shows the strength of women and the irresistibility of the villains. Read my full review here!

#8: “The Scarlett Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an L.A. Dungeon” by Jenny Nordbak

An amazing memoir by Jenny Nordbak showing the world of BDSM, Sex Dungeons, and what it means to truly be sex positive!

#7: “The Pigman” by Paul Zindel

Paul Zindel has been an all time favorite of mine, ever since I read “Loch” (which is my favorite novel). When I found this gem, I knew I would love it!

#6: “A Promise Beneath the Kissing Bough” by Tabetha Waite

A fantastic historical romance that brings in the spirit of the holidays and fluffy love! Tabetha Waite always writes the BEST romances!
Read my full review here!

#5: “The Duchess Deal” by Tessa Dare

If you are a fan of romance and haven’t read one of Tessa Dare’s books yet, DO IT NOW! Try this one out, it will forever sit on my favorites shelf!

#4: “Future Fake Husband” by Kate Hawthorne & EM Denning

An AMAZING book co-written by two AMAZING authors showing love through that amazing romance trope, fake lovers!
Read my full review here!

#3: “Priest” by Sierra Simone

This is the sexy romance you didn’t realize you were waiting for until now. This book has it all and it makes you just fall in love with each word!
Read my full review here!

#2: “Tampons: Aisle Five” by Rae Matthews

This book was one of the first I read in 2020 and it is STILL the top of my list. This book had me rolling on the floor laughing! A must read for every woman who needs a laugh!

#1: ACOTAR – A Court of Thorn and Roses (Series) by Sarah J Maas

Yes, my #1 read of 2020 is an entire series! Sarah J Maas wrote a fantastic romance series that leaves little breadcrumbs and signs throughout that leads to the BEST ending you could imagine. If you haven’t yet read ACOTAR, I recommend this be your first read in 2021!

I had such amazing adventures through all of these amazing books in 2020, I can’t wait to see what stories 2021 has in store!

Happy Reading!

Book Review

“A Neon Darkness” by Lauren Shippen (Book Review)

This last month I read “Neon Darkness” by Lauren Shippen. This was the second novel released by Lauren Shippen that is a companion to the audio drama podcast “The Bright Sessions”. I fell in love with “The Bright Sessions” from the first episode. It was an incredibly well written and orated podcast with a twisting and turning storyline. I was over the moon when I heard the writer would be publishing novels to go along with the story I loved.

“The Infinite Noise” was the first novel Lauren Shippen released, following the characters Adam and Caleb. It showed their meeting, the challenges they faced, and how they found love in a world that was made infinitely more complicated by Caleb’s empathic abilities, marking him as Atypical.

With how much I adored the “The Bright Sessions” and “The Infinite Noise” I was so excited for the second novel “A Neon Darkness” to be released, especially since it revealed the origin story of my favorite character, Damien. However, after I read it I had very mixed feelings and reviews about the story as a whole.

“A Neon Darkness” and “The Infinite Noise” both have a similar start in that they drop you right into the narrative without any introduction. As a fan of the podcast, I did like this but at the same time a small introduction or recap would have been nice. For those who haven’t listened to the podcast, I wouldn’t recommend you read the books until you do as you will be missing very important background to aid you in understanding the narrative.

Where “The Infinite Noise” did a good job following the characters and showed their challenges and growth, I feel “A Neon Darkness” didn’t have such a satisfying conclusion or growth of the character I was hoping for. The story introduced amazing new characters and a fascinating plot line, but at the same time, I struggled to stay in the narrative directly connected with Damien and his struggle to control his power. The ending, which I won’t spoil here for those who want to read it, left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

I feel like Damien didn’t really grow or overcome any major challenges. Other than the creation of his name, I didn’t see any change in the character. This may have been the purpose of the story, to show why Damien is the way he is, but I would have liked to see more depth to the character I adored in the podcast.

Overall, “A Neon Darkness” was a good book. Perhaps if someone isn’t as much of a villain fan as I am, you may find more enjoyment in it. The tagline of the book is “What if the villain of your story is you?” and it holds true in the novel by showing the creation of “The Bright Sessions” villain. I just wish I could have seen more of Damien’s motivations and development.

If you are looking for a new fandom to fall into, I HIGHLY recommend “The Bright Sessions”. Listen to the podcast, read “The Infinite Noise” and “A Neon Darkness”, and fall in love with a whole new world!