Book Review: LOVE BITES: A Paranormal Romance

It’s been awhile.  I needed to take a break from blogging and reviewing (thanks summer), but I’m back with a short review for an amazon short reads.

Love Bites: A Vampire Romance (House of Sanquin Paranormal Romance Series Book 1) by [Wolfe, A J]

LOVE BITES, book 1 in an intended short reads series, is a fun, fast paced, light paranormal romance. It’s appropriate for teens +. I liked that it wasn’t just the same old same old tired vampire tropes. There were new ideas like some (but not all) vampires were able to have children and go out into the sunlight. That could lead to some really interesting twists in later stories in the series.

For the plot itself, Brooke is desperate to find her sister Clara. They don’t have the best relationship, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love and worry about her. When she finds a mysterious letter addressed to Clara from the house of Sanguin with the word “vampire” on it, she decides to take her sister’s place at the scheduled appointment. George’s job is to turn humans into vampires. He turns Brooke thinking she’s Clara…and gets in trouble for doing it. The also fall into (slightly) insta-love. It’s a romance trope so I can deal with that. Especially since there’s some insecurities, doubts, and secrets that jump up later. Brooke settles into her life at House of Sanguin but George must deal with the consequences of accidentally turning someone into a vampire. Clara’s return complicates matters even further.

I liked that sisterly love is just as important as romantic love in LOVE BITES. Even if Brooke and Clara have had their differences in the past, they still love and care for each other. I’m interested to see what else is in store for the House of Sanguin in the rest of the short reads series.

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Book Review: CHANGE YOUR CHILD’S NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR by Nurit Levi

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

CHANGE YOUR CHILD’S NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR is part of  Nurit Levi’s Peaceful And Calm Home book series.  She offers insights, support, practical advice, and easy to follow exercises to help you achieve a peaceful and calm home — especially in regards to your childrens’ behavior.

My favorite part of the book was the easy, down-to-earth writing style.  It feels like Levi  is sitting down across from me listening and giving advice after the latest ‘guess what my kids did today’ story.  There’s a warmth that emanates from the page.  I feel like I can trust her and she’s not just trying to sell me a book or a method (even though she really is).  There’s no finger pointing and ‘do this, don’t do that’ in CHANGE YOUR CHILD’S NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR.  Instead, Levi gets to the root cause of why your child may be acting out.  She follows this up with advice and easy to follow exercises.

I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars.  The reason I’m not rating it higher is all three of my children are special needs.  The advice in the book is geared more toward normal developing children.  I would have appreciated a section on special needs.  Maybe Levi can address this in a further edition or another book in the Calm & Peaceful Home series.  Overall, though I would recommend CHANGE YOUR CHILD’S NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR if you’re looking for a gentle, down to earth, non judgmental, brief parenting guide.  At 57 pages, it’s easy to read in one sitting.

Book Review: THE SORCERY CODE by Dima Zales

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

The premise of  THE SORCERY CODE by Dima Zales is fairly unique but still rooted in fantasy genre staples. Outcast sorcerer Blaise has spent over a year looking to create a way that makes it easy for everyone to use magic — not just the elite, superior sorcerers.  His obsession loses him his fiancee Augusta who doesn’t agree with his ‘poor people deserve magic too’ stance.  Still, Blaise sticks to his work and creates Gala — a beautiful girl that’s the human embodiment of magic.  He expected a talking mirror, and got a hot chick.   Awkward — especially for a guy who hasn’t really seen the outside of his house in over a year.  While Gala experiences all the world has to offer, Augusta is bent on stopping Blaise’s goal of magic for all.

First off, the cover really drew me in. It has the just the right mix of mystery and fantasy. The color scheme is beautiful with the sunrise (set?) matching the magic in the globe/orb.  I enjoy fantasy books but haven’t been an avid reader of the genre since I was a teenager.  The cover really intrigued me.  I quickly read the blurb and knew it was something I’d be happy to read and review.  The writing was fresh and well paced.  I found myself thinking “I can see why Dima Zales in a NYT Bestselling author.”  There was an ease and flow that I appreciated.  There was some info dumping in the first chapter but it came in the form of dialogue between Blaise and newly formed Gala instead of just a big exposition info dump.  While I got a little restless during that scene, once all the essentials were out of the way, the pace picked up again.  The story is told in multiple points of views so you get equal time with Blaise and Augusta’s sides. Each chapter is clearly marked just in case you need to be reminded who the main POV character is for that chapter.  Yeah, Augusta isn’t the nicest sorcerer on the block and wants things to stay status quo, but it’s nice to be able to see where she’s coming from with her beliefs and actions.  Blaise spends a lot of his time obsessing over Gala’s hotness.

I enjoyed THE SORCERY CODE and would definitely read the sequel.  The deft, well paced writing and flawed but still relatable characters pulled me in.  I’m invested now.  That’s the sign of a good writer and good story.

Book Review: SO WE SAID GOOD BYE by Rama Marinov-Cohen

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

In SO WE SAID GOOD BYE by Rama Marinov-Cohen, high school sweethearts Aya and Yaron reconnect after thirty years apart.  It plays on the “what if” aspect that — let’s face it — everyone with a first or lost love thinks about from time to time. No matter how happy you are or how good of a life you have, you always “what if?”  It’s human nature.  This book played up the theme in an ever evolving story of past memories colliding with present lives.

At first glance, the cover really intrigued me. The woman is looking forward into the future but also tied to time/the past.  It’s hard to let go — no matter how many years pass. There’s always going to be that one person that you’ll think of always as your first love.  Maybe you’re still together, maybe you’re not, but “what if” and “what could have been” probably played in your mind at least once…it did for Aya and Yaron.

Narrated in the first person and alternating between Aya and Yaron, I liked the breathless, almost frantic style of Aya’s chapters. The sentences were short, sometimes choppy, verging on stream of consciousness.  Internally, she held back nothing regarding her excitement, fear, uncertainty, and back to excitement at contacting Yaron after twenty-eight years.  Externally, it was business as usual. She went on with her daily life and responsibilities but there was a new guardedness around answering her husband’s questions.  She had a secret but he wasn’t in on it.  In his  chapters, Yaron was reflective, almost shocked, that it had been twenty eight years since he last saw/spoke to Aya.  He could look back with the maturity of age and time and see what went wrong (and what went right).  I felt the dual narration made SO WE SAID GOOD BYE much stronger than it would have been with just one point of view.  Aya’s breathless mental zipping around may have gotten annoying if not tapered with Yaron’s calm, steadiness.  I liked the contrast.  By the time I finished reading the book, I felt like I knew these people.   They jumped off the page. I identified with Aya and Yaron.  I think anyone who wonders “what if” can.

Book Review: KILLER PURSUIT by Jeff Gunhus

I received a free advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

After a blog hiatus for the holidays, I’m back with my latest book review for crime thriller KILLER PURSUIT by Jeff Gunhus.

Special Agent Allison McNeil has another tough case to crack.  A DC call girl has been murdered.  Two hidden cameras were found in her apartment.  One is erased to hide the killer’s tracks.  The other is connected to an unknown, anonymous person through an encrypted internet connection.  Allison must find the missing videos before the killer gets to them first.

KILLER PURSUIT moves along at a very rapid pace.  The chapters are REALLY short which helps with the ultra fast pace.  The technique reminds me of  Mary Higgins Clark’s writing style with short, punchy chapters.   Also, while KILLER PURSUIT is the second Allison McNeil Thriller, you do not need to read KILLER WITHIN to enjoy this book.  There’s a handy little flashback in the beginning before jumping to the present time and current case.   There are enough twists and turns to keep even the most seasoned mystery/thriller/suspense readers guessing.  Jeff Gunhus has crafted a really enjoyable, edge of your seat thriller.   Time to pick up KILLER WITHIN for my book collection!

What Are You Reading?

Amazon and Barnes and Noble are hitting me where it hurts this holiday season — with tons of sales on ebooks!   In the last two days,  I’ve spent more than I usually spend in 6 months to a year on ebooks.    Some of my purchases include:

The Luxe Collection is one of my favorite book series.  I own them all in hardback but it’s definitely worth having a set in ebook as well!   It’s technically classified as YA but is like a historical soap opera set in 1899 New York.  There’s forbidden love, jealousy,  back stabbing BFFs, social climbing maids, and a socialite faking her own death. The covers are absolutely gorgeous as well.   The Luxe series cemented Anna Godbersen’s place in my insta-buy category.  It’s currently on sale for $9.99.

The Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead is one I decided to take a chance on.  I enjoy Mead’s  Vampire Academy series.  It’s fun and fresh with great narrative voice.  Dark Swan seems to be an adult version instead of YA urban fantasy.   The series has been on my radar for awhile since I like Mead as an author.  The $8.99 price tag was too good to pass up.

Sweet Valley High books 1-12.   If you grew up in the 80s or 90s,  chances are you have fond memories of  Sweet Valley High.  I remember cutting my teeth on Sweet Valley Twins before moving up to Sweet Valley High.  Those Wakefield twins lived a crazy, soap opera drama-rama life, but it was so addicting.  I’m anxious to see if the books hold up to the test of time or if they will come across as not as cool as I remember them being.  Currently, the first 12 books are on sale for $7.99

My Lady Viper.  This was a definitely impulse buy for me.  It showed up on my daily BookBub newsletter,  I saw it was about one of my absolute favorite time periods for historical fiction — Tudor England — and clicked the link.  The $2 definitely helped as well.  The sample hooked me instantly…So much so that I also bought the 2nd book in the series Prisoner Of The Queen which is also currently on sale for $2.

I posted the Amazon links but Barnes & Noble started the sale and Amazon price matched.  I’m going to be busy reading for a long, long time!   *cue happy dance*