The Enforcer Enigma

The Enforcer Enigma

Author: G.L. Carriger
Publisher: Gail Carriger LLC
Pages: 341
On Sale: August 1 2020
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, LGBT
Stars: 5/5

From the Publisher:

A werewolf without rank or hope and an enforcer who has lived too long go up against the selkie mob.

Charming urban fantasy from New York Times bestselling comedy author Gail Carriger.

ENFORCER

Judd has wandered from pack to pack his whole life, searching for wolves who will accept him for who he is and who he loves. Now he believes that he’s finally found the right pack and the right man.

NERD

Rejected by his family for being gay and geeky, Colin has never fit in with werewolves, yet now he is one. He doesn’t know how to react when Judd starts courting him. He’s even more lost when a famous singer, the selkie mob, and the feds also start chasing him.

Can Judd protect Colin and still prove his love? Can Colin figure out why enemy shifters are invading his favorite cafe? And what’s with all the gold sparkle? Find out in The Enforcer Enigma.

Delicate Sensibilities?

This paranormal romance contains M/M sexy times, horrible puns regarding country music, and men who wear suits without shirts underneath. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The San Andreas Shifter stories include blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart (or mouth or tongue).

From Me:

I really love everything this author writes. The way she brings life to these characters is incredible, and she really leaves you wanting to read more and more about them. I love how the men are both sensitive and strong, and how they’re not afraid to open up and be who they really are. I wasn’t as into Judd as I was Tank in the last book, but this was still a terrific relationship to read.

A Single Swallow

A Single Swallow

Author: Ling Zhang
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Pages: 304
On Sale: October 1 2020
Genre: Historical, Fiction, Cultural, WWII
Stars: 4/5

From the Publisher:

The eagerly awaited English translation of award-winning author Zhang Ling’s epic and intimate novel about the devastation of war, forgiveness, redemption, and the enduring power of love.

On the day of the historic 1945 Jewel Voice Broadcast—in which Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender to the Allied forces, bringing an end to World War II—three men, flush with jubilation, made a pact. After their deaths, each year on the anniversary of the broadcast, their souls would return to the Chinese village of their younger days. It’s where they had fought—and survived—a war that shook the world and changed their own lives in unimaginable ways. Now, seventy years later, the pledge is being fulfilled by American missionary Pastor Billy, brash gunner’s mate Ian Ferguson, and local soldier Liu Zhaohu.

All that’s missing is Ah Yan—also known as Swallow—the girl each man loved, each in his own profound way.

As they unravel their personal stories of the war, and of the woman who touched them so deeply during that unforgiving time, the story of Ah Yan’s life begins to take shape, woven into view by their memories. A woman who had suffered unspeakable atrocities, and yet found the grace and dignity to survive, she’d been the one to bring them together. And it is her spark of humanity, still burning brightly, that gives these ghosts of the past the courage to look back on everything they endured and remember the woman they lost.

From Me:

I was really impressed with the way this book was written. Set in China during World War 2 it introduced us to many different characters, and it did a very good job at keeping them all separate. The book switched perspective every few chapters and invited us into someone else’s viewpoint and background and often this can get confusing or tangled, but I didn’t find that in this case. I’m using this for the “A Book That Leaves You Thinking” part of my 2020 reading challenge because it’s not a story you can move on from quickly. Each character goes through a lot of trials and it was really interesting to learn how they handled each one and the repercussions from them years later.

Three Perfect Liars

Three Perfect Liars

Author: Heidi Perks
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 336
On Sale: June 9 2020
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Stars: 3/5

From the Publisher:

From the author of Her One Mistake , hailed as “chilling, captivating” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda, comes a riveting new suspense novel about three ambitious women whose lives are turned upside down in the aftermath of a horrifying fire, which destroys a successful advertising agency and threatens to expose a tangled web of lies.

Laura has returned to work at Morris and Wood after her maternity leave, only to discover that the woman she brought in to cover for her isn’t planning on going anywhere. Despite her close relationship with the agency’s powerful CEO, Harry Wood, she feels sidelined—and outmaneuvered—as she struggles to balance the twin demands of work and motherhood.

Mia was only supposed to be a temporary hire at Morris and Wood, but she’s managed to make herself indispensable to everyone. Everyone, that is, except Laura. If people only knew why she was so desperate to keep her job, they might not want her to stay.

Janie gave up everything to support her husband and the successful agency he runs. But she has her own dark secret to protect…and will go to any lengths to keep it safe.


From Me:

I enjoyed this book and there was nothing wrong with it, but it didn’t blow me away. It had a gentle, meandering plot and I liked that the perspective kept switching between the three women. At each chapter we are given a bit of the police report with the other staff of agency and I found it definitely helped to draw suspense and show the tension between the different parties. Overall I wasn’t able to guess most of the secrets and the ending did catch me by surprise, it just wasn’t the roller coaster that I had expected.

Cinderella Is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead

Author: Kalynn Bayron
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Pages: 400
On Sale: July 7 2020
Genre: Fantasy, YA, LBGT, Retellings
Stars: 5/5 From the Publisher:

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.


From Me:

I thought this book was perfect and I loved every second of it.  I found it to be really original and a bit spooky, and while a bit of it was predictable the characters really stood out and had their own personalities.  It was intense enough that I couldn’t stop reading, but not so fast paced that I was exhausted by the end.  I would love to see a sequel about how their changes are working out.

Outsider

Outsider

Author: Linda Castillo
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 320
On Sale: July 7 2020
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Stars: 3/5

From the Publisher:

Linda Castillo follows her instant New York Times bestseller, Shamed, with Outsider, an electrifying thriller about a woman on the run hiding among the Amish.

Chief of Police Kate Burkholder’s past comes back to haunt her when she receives a call from Amish widower Adam Lengacher. While enjoying a sleigh ride with his children, he discovered a car stuck in a snowdrift and an unconscious woman inside. Kate arrives at his farm and is shocked to discover the driver is a woman she hasn’t seen in ten years: fellow cop Gina Colorosa.

Ten years ago, Kate and Gina were best friends at the police academy, graduating together as rookies with the Columbus Division of Police. But the reunion takes an ominous turn when Kate learns Gina is wanted for killing an undercover officer. Gina claims she’s innocent, that she was framed by corrupt officers who want her gone because she was about to turn them in for wrongdoing.

Kate calls upon state agent John Tomasetti for help and with a blizzard bearing down, they delve into the incident. But no one wants to talk about what happened the night Gina allegedly gunned down a fellow cop. Even Tomasetti is stonewalled, his superior telling him in no uncertain terms to back off.

With whisperings of corruption and the threat of rogue cops seeking revenge, Kate and Gina hunker down at Adam Lengacher’s farm. As Kate gets closer to the truth, a killer lies in wait. When violence strikes, Kate must confront a reality that changes everything she thought she knew not only about friendship, but the institution to which she’s devoted her life.


From Me:

I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and I was really impressed.  I have not read the rest of the series but I felt this did great as a standalone.  The book started with a lot of excitement and then it built up towards the finale very well.  Kate seems like a really well put together character and I look forward to picking up the previous books in this series to learn more of her back story.  Also, being set among the Amish community was a refreshing change of pace from the other mysteries and thrillers I have read lately.

Ever Cursed

Ever Cursed

Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304
On Sale: July 28 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Stars: 3/5

From the Publisher:

Damsel meets A Heart in a Body in the World in this incisive and lyrical feminist fairy tale about a princess determined to save her sisters from a curse, even if it means allying herself with the very witch who cast it.

The Princesses of Ever are beloved by the kingdom and their father, the King. They are cherished, admired.

Cursed.

Jane, Alice, Nora, Grace, and Eden carry the burden of being punished for a crime they did not commit, or even know about. They are each cursed to be Without one essential thing—the ability to eat, sleep, love, remember, or hope. And their mother, the Queen, is imprisoned, frozen in time in an unbreakable glass box.

But when Eden’s curse sets in on her thirteenth birthday, the princesses are given the opportunity to break the curse, preventing it from becoming a True Spell and dooming the princesses for life. To do this, they must confront the one who cast the spell—Reagan, a young witch who might not be the villain they thought—as well as the wickedness plaguing their own kingdom…and family.

Told through the eyes of Reagan and Jane—the witch and the bewitched—this insightful twist of a fairy tale explores power in a patriarchal kingdom not unlike our own.

From Me:

I really loved how original this story was, and I wish it had been longer.  I felt the characters were a bit flat and I would have liked to get to know each of them on a deeper level to really understand how they felt and what they went through.  The story started out a bit slow with a lot of things being hinted at but never explained, and while it picked up the pace better part way through it never felt like a wild ride to me.  I was expecting intense drama and a race to the finish line and while things did come to a head, it meandered its way there.  The conclusion did tie up most of the ends, but it just didn’t feel completely satisfying.  Overall it was good and clever, I just expected… more.


The Very Last Leaf

The Very Last Leaf

Author: Stef Wade
Publisher: Capstone Editions
Pages: 32
On Sale: August 2020
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Stars: 5/5

From the Publisher:

Lance Cottonwood is the best and brightest of the leaves, but even the top students on the tree have worries. Can Lance conquer his fear of falling and just let go when the time comes for his final exam, or will he let his worries take over? In this funny and encouraging picture book, best-selling author Stef Wade (A Place for Pluto) tells an engaging story and deftly addresses social and emotional struggles many kids encounter each day…feeling anxious, wanting to be perfect, facing fears, etc. These themes combined with illustrator Jennifer Davison’s delightful characters and rich autumnal colors make The Very Last Leaf a perfect book for the start of a new school year, the arrival of autumn, or any period of transition in life.

From Me:

The artwork in this was gorgeous.  It was a really cute story about a leaf being in the top of his tree classes, but then having difficulties with the very last one.  I’m sure some kids with anxiety or being new in school would be able to relate, but even without the connection I enjoyed it.  The tree facts were a perfect science level for children and I could see it leading to field trips and leaf collecting.

The World Needs More Purple People

The World Needs More Purple People

Author: Kristen Bell, Benjamin Hart
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Pages: 40
On Sale: June 2020
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Stars: 5/5

From the Publisher:

What is a purple person? Great question. I mean, really great! Because purple people always ask really great questions. They bring their family, friends, and communities together, and they speak up for what’s right. They are kind and hardworking, and they love to laugh (especially at Grandpa’s funny noises)! A purple person is an everyday superhero! How do you become one? That’s the fun part! Penny Purple will lead you through the steps. Get ready to be silly, exercise your curiosity, use your voice, and be inspired.
 
Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart have created a hilarious and joyous read-aloud that offers a wonderful message about embracing the things that bring us together as humans. This book will inspire a whole generation to paint the world purple!

From Me:

I know reviews are mixed online, but I loved this story.  It may not have delved deep into racism like a lot of people expected, but I still thought it was a fantastic way to shine a light on kindness and being a helper and being true to yourself.  I think it’s great to tell children to laugh and love and ask a ton of questions.  The images were also adorable and full of snot and laughter.  

Defy or Defend

Defy or Defend

Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: GL Carriger LLC
Pages: 235
On Sale: May 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk
Stars: 5/5

From the Publisher:

A vampire hive descending into madness. A beautiful spy with a sparkly plan. The bodyguard who must keep them from killing each other.

New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Gail Carriger brings you a charming story of love, espionage, and Gothic makeovers set in her popular Parasolverse.

SPY

Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, code name Honey Bee, is the War Office’s best and most decorative fixer. She’s sweet and chipper, but oddly stealthy, and surprisingly effective given the right incentives.

VERSUS KNIGHT

Sir Crispin Bontwee was knighted for his military service, but instead of retiring, he secretly went to work for the War Office. Mostly he enjoys his job, except when he must safeguard the Honey Bee.

Neither one is a vampire expert, but when the Nottingham Hive goes badly Goth, only Dimity can stop their darkness from turning bloody. And only Crispin can stop an enthusiastic Dimity from death by vampire.

In a battle for survival (and wallpaper), Dimity must learn that not all that sparkles is good, while Cris discovers he likes honey a lot more than he thought.

From Me:

I’ve missed Dimity and this book was perfect.  Her whole renovation takeover and handling of the hive was entertaining and very well done. I love her relationship with Crispin and it would be terrific to have a book with all of the new couples coming together and interacting.  I think at this point I’ve read everything by Gail Carriger and I can’t wait for the next one.

Hurry Home

Hurry Home

Author: Roz Nay
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 262
On Sale: July 2020
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Stars: 4/5

From the Publisher:

From the bestselling author of Our Little Secret comes a suspenseful new thriller featuring two estranged sisters desperate to keep their deepest and darkest secret where it belongs—in the past.

When I open the door, I see a face more than anything, the paleness of it stark against the dark hair. Long hair, familiar. Blue, damaged eyes. Immediately, I feel my knees might give out, like I might fall to the ground. I cover my mouth with both hands and stare.

It’s her. It’s Ruth Van Ness. My sister.

Alexandra Van Ness has the perfect life. She lives in an idyllic resort town tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, shares a designer loft with her handsome boyfriend, Chase, and has her dream job working in child protection. Every day, Alex goes above and beyond to save children at risk.

But when her long-lost sister, Ruth, unexpectedly shows up at her door asking for help, Alex’s perfect life is upended. Growing up, Ruth was always the troublemaker, pulling Alex into her messes, and this time will be no different. Their relationship is fraught with hurts and regrets from their childhood that bind them to silence, but they can’t outrun them forever.

Alex lets Ruth stay under one condition: we will never, ever, talk about the past. But when a local child is in danger, Alex becomes very involved and the secrets from long ago come back to haunt her with terrible consequences for everyone.

A gripping look at the inescapable bond between sisters—and the devastating cost of a single mistake—Hurry Home will keep readers guessing who is telling the truth and who is lying until the very last page.

From Me:

This was certainly a twisty book, and I found myself not being able to choose which sister to root for. This was my first novel by Roz Nay and I’m definitely a fan of her writing style. It was a bit of a slow build and felt more like a family drama than a thriller, but I very much enjoyed the ride. The switching POV confused me occasionally when I forgot to pay attention to which sister it was focused on, but that’s my fault for ignoring chapter headings. Overall, I’d definitely look for more of her works.