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The Burning Sky–A Goodreads Review

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Iolanthe just wants to ensure her guardian, a drug addict, keeps his post when she calls lightning down, alerting the Bane’s minions to her presence as the Elemental Wizard destine to bring down the Bane, making her public enemy number one in Atlantis and the Domain.

Luckily, Prince Titus’s mom warned him about Iolanthe in the prophesies she kept before her death, so when Titus sees the lightning, he charges to the rescue on a magical steed. He gets to Iolanthe seconds before the minions arrive, and the game is afoot. The two flee to Victorian England, where they must rely on deception and their wits to evade plot after plot. At one point, even the Prince’s allies attempt to kill Iolanthe. Will the intrepid pair fall in love? Defeat the Bane? Or be captured by his Inquisitor and her minions?

Prince Titus is dedicated to protecting both Iolanthe and his Domain, but he pretends to be callow and stuck-on-himself while Iolanthe is talented, resourceful and incredibly stubborn, which creates many delightful bits of banter as she wants no part of the Prince’s suicidal plans to take down the tyrant.

The humor, the historic details, the magical world and the awesome characters you can root for make this story a page-turner. I seriously can’t wait to read the next novel in this series, or any of Sherry Thomas’ books. Wow can this author write.

If you like fantasies with romance and humor, I bet you’ll love this book.

I purchased and listened to this digital download offering from Audible. Then I bought the paperback version–that’s how much I like this story.

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Joe Ledger: Unstoppable-A Goodreads Review

Joe Ledger: UnstoppableJoe Ledger: Unstoppable by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be fair I confess I’m crazy about the Joe Ledger series and I love, love, love Ray Porter as a narrator, so you can probably guess I enjoyed most of the short stories in the Ledger universe—true. All the stories gave me insights into the personalities I look forward to following most and I was happy to see that all the characters remained spot on to their Maberry-written-originals. Dr. Hu didn’t suddenly volunteer at the local soup kitchen and Church didn’t reveal a secret past as a stand-up comedian.

One minor disappointment was Joe didn’t get to meet Agent Franks. I’d love to see a Ledger-Franks smackdown.

My favorite story was Red Dirt. Although the story didn’t have any fighting, it had a lot of heart. I connected with Katherine, the down-home-girl who became a doctor to help her community. Next, I loved that Ruddy Sanchez got the chance to play team leader. Usually, he’s the guy who stays at the base camp waiting to put mental band-aids on the trauma victims or counseling the returning warriors after mission. This time he, Circe, Top and Bunny investigate a mysterious disease that mimics Adult Onset Galactosemia, a disease I didn’t know anything about before this tale.
Other highlights for me were Black Water, a sad, sort-of ghost story which involves Joe as a teenager and Banshee had a super suit which would give Antman’s a run for its money.

If you like Acts of Valor meets X-File tales, you’ll enjoy these stories.

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Strange the Dreamer-A Goodreads Review

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strange the Dreamer
The brothers told Lazlo Strange he’d come in the wagon load of war orphans. He grows up with nothing except for his dreams about a mythical city called Weep, based on the stories an old monk shares with him. Sent to deliver manuscripts to the library, he stumbles upon a neglected vault of fairy tales and he stays. The library-staff apprentices him and the more he reads, the more convinced he is that his destiny is linked to the far-off and forbidden city and then one day, a caravan arrives from Weep—this is Lazlo’s chance—if only he’s brave enough to put himself forward.

But the city of Weep has its own tragedies. For 200 years, its people were slaves to the evil godlike overlords. Fifteen years ago, Eril-Fane, called the Godslayer, lead a revolt and the gods died, but Weep is still haunted. Its people are desperate for cure and Eril-Fane has come in search saviors.

At the same time, Sarai, one of the five god-spawn children, who escaped death, uses her god-gift of invading sleepers’ dreams to make Weep’s population fear the angel citadel where the god-spawn hide. As a child, she enjoyed inflicting nightmares. Now, at seventeen, after spending so much time in others’ minds, she has questions and regrets. She enters Lazlo’s dream and, unlike any other dreamer she’s ever known, he sees her.

The world building is rich and enchanting, but the characters made me fall in love with the story. Life has been unfair to Lazlo, yet he’s kind, gentle and genuinely wants to help others. All the characters are deep, complex and conflicted and their interactions including the love story and those who seek revenge compelled me to keep turning pages.

If you read fantasy to be captivated by a story, this is a book for you.

Just so you know, I borrowed this book from my library’s digital consortium and I loved it so much, I had to buy my own copy.

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A Scot in the Dark-A Goodreads Review

A Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel #2)A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Miss Lillian Hargrove, the heroine, fell in love with the wrong guy. He tricked her into posing nude. In a short month or so, all of London will view Lilly in the buff. She’s ruined, which becomes a problem for her guardian—Alec, the Scottish Duke of Warnick. He didn’t even know he’d inherited a ward, but to do his duty and because he’s a compassionate guy, a gentle, but misunderstood giant, he comes to London to settle things. That’s when everything gets interesting. The characters are likable, funny and vulnerable, both have lots of baggage—the perfect recipe for a romance that is an emotional roller-coaster. The many twists and turns lead to a satisfying conclusion that surprised me.
If you love romance, I’m betting you’ll love this story.

All the Missing Girls-A Goodreads Review

All the Missing GirlsAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All the Missing Girls
Ten years ago, after her best friend, Corinne vanished, Nicolette fled Cooley Ridge determined to never return. She builds a whole new life for herself including a rich fiancé, but then her father gets sick. She returns, and then another girl goes missing. Her family, her friends and even some frenemies are involved.

Pulled into the mysteries, Nicole must confront her past and save those she can, which is when the story gets exciting–with more twists than a boa constrictor and a few astonishing surprises that I, for one, didn’t see coming. The secrets, love and loyalty bind Nicolette and all the suspects together in this small town whodunnit.

If you like spellbinding suspense, this tale is definitely worth your time.

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The Night Sister-A Goodreads Review

The Night SisterThe Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Night Sister
Once the Tower Motel was a huge and mysterious club house for Amy, Piper, Margot and Jay. That was until the children discovered a dark secret that destroyed their friendship. As adults, they’ve all tried to put it behind them. Piper fled while Jay married Margot and tried to forget about the crush he had on Amy. It almost worked, and then Amy and her family were murdered, forcing the remaining friends to re-examine the motel’s past.
I liked the way the story flipped from the present into the past and back, so that the mystery could be explored from its inception. The characters were as rich and complex as the whodunnit questions.
The supernatural elements were fascinating and really added to the overall intrigue in the plot. This was one of those novels I couldn’t put down. I read it in a couple days and I’ll probably read it again. If you like complex mysteries that involve things that go bump in the night and well-written prose, you’ll appreciate this tale.

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Gil’s All Fright Diner- A Goodreads Review

Gil's All Fright DinerGil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Duke, a werewolf, and Earl, a vampire, are driving through Rockwood county. They stop at a local diner and are enjoying some greasy burgers when zombies attack. The Diner’s owner, Loretta, offers them $100 to fix her zombie problem. Well, things get complicated soon after. A graveyard ghost, a couple of bored teenagers and a magic eight ball may combine to spell the old gods’ destruction of the world. Or maybe not.
The plot brought an abundance of chuckles from me, but my favorite thing about the story is the characters. They are funny and vivid, but, at the same time, they seemed authentic like people I might kind of know.
If you enjoy dark humor in horror novels or if you like laughing about almost-apocalypses, this is story for you.

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After the Cure-A Goodreads Review

After the Cure (After the Cure, #1)After the Cure by Deirdre Gould
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the Cure
This isn’t your typical zombie apocalypse as there’s a cure for the zombie condition and a lot of immune people who are rebuilding society. In fact, they’ve captured the scientists they believe started the zombie plague. It’s up to Dr. Nella Reider, the court- appointed psychiatrist to decide if the defendants are mentally able to stand trial. While interviewing them, she and the defense lawyer discover clues that lead to other conspirators and a second planned outbreak (which they’ve got to stop.)
Exciting, but what made this story for me was the likable ex-zombies, who gave their take on their zombie history and then went on to rebuild their lives and to play major roles in the story’s action.
If you want to see a zombie outbreak from the zombie’s point of view, or if you’ve ever wanted to envision what might happen as society rebuilds after it collapses, this novel is worth checking out.

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The Mostly True Story of Jack-A Goodreads Review

The Mostly True Story of JackThe Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jack has always felt unneeded, ignored—almost invisible, but when his parents divorced, he’s shipped off to an uncle and aunt, who live in a small Iowa town. For the first time in his life, he is noticed. He makes friends, and he’s needed. He can’t believe it. He’s important. There’s an evil only he can right, if he can figure it out and if he doesn’t die first.
My favorite thing about this story of magic and secrets is that the characters are human. Even those who have extraordinary gifts struggle with emotions and ordinary life and they need help from a fascinating and likable cast of small town folk who are simply regular joes.
The story comes to a satisfying end when even the villain does the right thing. If you’re a fan of fantasies and feel-good stories, this would be a great read for you.

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The Night Gardener- A Goodreads Review

The Night GardenerThe Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Molly and Kip, an orphaned sister and brother, seek employment at the Windsor House, but the house is falling down and the family that lives there are curiously losing their health and vigor even as they seem to gain the things they wish for. And this is only the start. Thugs threaten the master of the house. The branches of a sinister tree scratch the windows while its roots wiggle into the cellar and a ghostly gardener creeps through the halls. If Molly is to save her brother, the family and herself, she must figure out why all this is happening and stop the gardener.

This is a creepy ghost story with a plucky heroine who is likely to win your heart as she struggles through some surprising reversals. If you like dark fantasy and eerie stories, this might be right up your alley.

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