Book #56: The Last Real Girl by L.C. Warman

Praise for THE LAST REAL GIRL:
“Warman’s taut prose is pitched perfectly for her subject matter, managing to make the high school drama feel high-stakes and creepy by turns… The author’s sharp senses of pacing and character make this a thoroughly enjoyable read. Readers will be waiting with anticipation for future volumes. A captivating teen mystery in a secretive lakeside town.” -Kirkus Reviews

Book Description:
When 17-year-old Reese first moved to the wealthy, lakeshore town of St. Clair over five years ago, she never expected someone like Charlotte Walters to take her under her wing. Charlotte is everything that Reese is not: rich, gorgeous, and carefree, living with her enigmatic older brother and her parents in a mansion at the top of the lake.

But when senior year starts, everything seems off. Reese notices that Charlotte’s older brother Aiden keeps coming back from college to hang around on weekends, stoic and grim. And Charlotte’s parents seem more distracted, almost lost. Meanwhile, Charlotte keeps insisting to Reese that nothing is wrong, and decides to host a Halloween party with the theme of “missing girls.”

That night, at the party, Charlotte goes missing.

Everyone who attended becomes an instant suspect, from Charlotte’s brother (who argued with Charlotte earlier that night), to Charlotte’s field hockey teammate (who wasn’t invited to the party in the first place), to Reese herself (who was the last person to see Charlotte alive, out near the lake).

With the clock ticking, Reese must unravel what happened to her best friend, and dig through the layers of secrets protecting people in St. Clair. Because now, being the quiet sidekick won’t cut it. And maybe only an outsider to St. Clair can truly confront all of the town’s dark mysteries.

About:
L.C. Warman is the author of spooky young adult mysteries. She grew up in New England, in a town where real estate contracts stipulated that you couldn’t back out if you discovered your new place was haunted. She currently lives in a Michigan lakeside town with her husband and two dogs.

I received a copy from the publisher via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

The Last Real Girl by L.C. Warman is definitely a mystery to start reading. Truthfully, I feel it could be joined with the other two books just from how this one ended, but I do say this book is a fully thought out book and a great introduction to something truly dark.

The first thing that caught my attention was the way Charlotte is described. It reminded me of how I would describe my own best friend. As something other, someone to aspire to, and a person I would probably set aside anything to make sure she was safe. It helped me feel connected to Reese and the mystery unfolding in front of her. The mystery behind her best friend’s disappearance.

You don’t get much in the reveal of the mystery (the bulk of the story unfolds in three books), but you do get a taste of the environment. And, in my opinion, environment is key in a mystery.

And boy does this town seem odd. Like, really odd. Shady Pines kind of odd. The kind of odd that you wonder if you are in the Twilight Zone. And yet, I don’t think this is all of the oddity around the town. I have a feeling that Charlotte’s disappearance and the disappearance of other girls is closely intertwined with the deeper mystery of the town.

It is inspiring, odd, and just gets the mental gears running. I am left trying to piece together what little information I have from book one. And no answers are given. We have only more questions.

I definitely say you need to read the second book after this one. I am going to have to.

As for the narration of the audiobook, the narrator is a good one. Her reading and voices pulled me into the world of the story. The narrator is a good mix of the teen we relate with and the ethereal feel to the strange town. A great choice for a moody mystery that leaves you wanting more.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #54: The Haunting of Hillwood Farm by Kathryn Knight

After tragedy strikes, Callie Sinclair is left with a gift she never wanted—the ability to communicate with ghosts. But when a desperate widow begs for her help, she reluctantly agrees to investigate the strange occurrences at Hillwood Farm. She quickly realizes she’s dealing with a dangerous presence beyond anything she’s ever experienced, and something else becomes equally clear—the only other living person in the house, Mrs. Turner’s handsome grandson, thinks she’s a scam artist. While she’d prefer to just ignore him, her heart beats a little faster every time he’s nearby. 

Luke Turner doesn’t believe in spirits. He’s moved back to restore the family farm, but living on the property serves a dual purpose—he can watch out for his grandmother. He’s not happy about the sudden appearance of a self-described psychic, or his inexplicable attraction to her. His initial suspicions crumble as evidence points to an actual haunting, but he’s still determined not to fall for Callie—the past has taught him it’s best to avoid relationships. 

As Callie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she becomes the target of a vengeful spirit, and Luke can no longer fight his feelings for her. Unable to resist their desire, passion ignites…even as the paranormal activity escalates to a final deadly confrontation. 

BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE OF 2018 at N.N. Light’s Book Heaven Reviews 

This title previously published in the USA TODAY Bestselling Love Under Fire Romantic Suspense Thrillers Box Set

I received an audible code via Audiobook Obsession, a Facebook group for audiobook lovers and romance. What follows is my honest opinion on what I’ve listened to. There was no compensation made for this review.

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm is equal parts spooky and romance. There were scenes that I was genuinely feeling the shivers over. One scene in particular, but I don’t want to go too into depth because it will spoil everything.

The romance was well written and the intimate scenes are okay with little ears around. I accidentally forgot to stop my audiobook in front of my son. He didn’t start asking questions, so it was good.

I loved that the main issue, aside from the ghostie problem, was an internal one. The story didn’t focus on a non-believer and believer dynamic, but the personal struggle on whether or not a relationship was something either of the characters wanted.

All in all, the book was well written and I was definitely rooting for the two. They have great energy between them and it made for a good spooky romance. I would love to see this in a Hallmark movie.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #51: Alister in Wonderland by KuroKoneko Kamen

GENDERBENT FAIRYTALES COLLECTION 
Alister in Wonderland 
Handsome and the Yeti 
Petra Pan 

A genderbent reimagining of the classic fairytale Alice in Wonderland… 

Alister Kingsley is an eccentric, London artist who is famous for his surreal, fanciful paintings set in a land that only exists in his imagination: Wonderland. 

Alister’s ‘dream girl’ Madeline Hatter wasn’t supposed to be real. But when the White Rabbit shows up at his art expo, and leads him down the rabbit hole Alister comes face-to-face with the Mad Hatter herself when she rescues him from getting barbequed by the King of Heart’s pet: the Jabberwocky. 

As it turns out, Madeline got herself into a pickle, and needs Alister’s help. She has him sign a magical contract that enters him into a tournament to win her hand in marriage. Alister must complete an impossible task, participate in a Wonderland Joust where the rules aren’t exactly normal, and defeat the other contenders: Crimson the King of Hearts, Clover the White King, and Cheshire Cat slave, Chesher. 

Madeline isn’t allowed to help Alister, and Crim keeps sending assassins after his head. Will Alister be able to win the tournament so that Madeline won’t have to marry the sadistic, bloodthirsty King of Hearts? 

Take the blue pill and find out… 

I received an Audible code from the author for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

I am officially in love with the genderbent fairy tales KuroKoneko Kamen writes. Each book stands well on their own, but are actually a part of a larger universe. I’m not sure if you need to read them in order of publication, but I didn’t and I don’t feel like it took away from any of the stories.

Alister in Wonderland is an Alice in Wonderland retelling with an artist coward as our main hero. Despite his cowardice, he perseveres and learns many things about himself and the world he used to only know in his paintings.

I love that KuroKoneko Kamen weaves pop culture into the stories, but doesn’t let the references overtake the characters. Kamen is able to not only pay homage to the original story source, but also make a unique tale of its own. Not to mention one that reaches into other stories to make a bigger universe. Oh to be a fly on the wall in Kamen’s office and see the universe notes.

All in all, this book is an action-packed read and had me entertained through the whole thing.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #48: If the Shoe Fits by Laura Greenwood


Even Cinderella didn’t have it this hard…When Sadie goes to the royal wedding against her step-mother’s wishes, she didn’t expect to be swept off her feet by the groom’s brother. Leo is everything she could have dreamed of; charming, handsome, accomplished…the only problem is that he’s also a crown prince.Dare Sadie follow her heart?

I received an Audible code via Audiobook Obsession for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

If the Shoe Fits is a standalone Cinderella retelling set in the same world as her ME series (a series of reverse harem romances). This book is not a reverse harem. It is a contemporary story about a lady of the gentry falling for a man who turns out to be a prince.

This is actually not my first Greenwood book, but I do like this one more than the other book. It is a well written and quick read with a good cast of characters. Cinderella isn’t my favorite fairy tale, but there is something about a retelling that hooks me. This book is a retelling but with a sexy twist.

The narrator was a perfect choice. I could see Sadie, Rita, and Enrique. I also saw Leo, but I didn’t hear a difference in accent. That said, his voice was well done and the narrator was able to separate the characters for the listener.

All in all, I do hope Greenwood will write more fairy tale retellings. I love the modern feel and the royalty/gentry side of things. It was a fun read and I do recommend for someone in need for a quick romance with a fairy tale twist.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #46: Enhancer 3 by Wyatt Kane

Ty Wilcox has leveled up. Unfortunately, so have his enemies. 
Ty is no longer the loser he had once been. He’s gone from zero to superhero, all thanks to a device on his wrist that brings a hidden power out into the light.

Before Ty came along, only a few of the devices existed. But a secretive villain has learned how to make them, and one of New Lincoln’s most dangerous crime lords has a supply of them as well.

And now, superpowered villains even stronger than Ty are stepping out of the dark.

The balance of power is changing, and not for the better.

Does Ty have the power to stop it, even with his growing team of superheroines at his side?

Warning and minor spoilers: “Enhancer 3” is an 18+ book intended for mature readers. It contains sex, violence, and nudity, but it’s all very tastefully done. It includes very light gamelit elements, occasional bad language, and is set in a cyberpunk alternate future. Most of all, you will find an engaging superhero adventure story with a few unexpected twists.

The Enhancer series was written with one thing in mind: fun. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.

I received an Audible code via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

I have been hooked on the Enhancer series since book one. It is geeky, packed with action, and fun.  Enhancer 3 begins where the second one ends. Ty and team are unsure about Lilith. They are also given a new set of villains and have a ton of devices to find.

I enjoyed this one about as much as I enjoyed the second, possibly more. The characters are growing and there are twists I wasn’t completely expecting. I did not care for Ty’s decisions in this book, but I felt it was true with the character and story. I just hope that what he has done doesn’t end up messing things up in the end.

The twists are making me wonder just what The Master does have planned. I’m also interested to see how the team grows.

The narrator, Chris Graves, is great. However, there was a moment where it seemed Lilith sounded too much like Dinah or the other way around. It was enough to make a mental note of it, but doesn’t take away from the story.  Like the other books previously, there are sex scenes, so take note of that if it bothers you. Honestly, the dynamic of all the characters and their personal lives didn’t bother me as much as I might have thought before starting this series.

I feel Wyatt Kane has written a good group of people who are open with each other for the most part. Except for one individual, but it goes with the story and character development. So, I’m okay with that. All in all, I am definitely going to request book four once it is out.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #45: Chasing His Squirrel by Golden Angel

When Brady Bunson first meets Jesse O’Neal, she’s sick and dying from one of the illnesses that have ravaged the small shifter population. As a shifter squirrel with a tiger ancestor way back in her family line, Jesse is actually an ideal candidate for Dr. Montgomery’s work… all the pain the Bunson family has gone through will finally save a life instead of ruining one.

Although Brady is falling for Jesse, he doesn’t really know what to do with his emotions. The Company is still out there and his family won’t be safe until they’re taken down – and now that Jesse is a successful experiment using the same science, she won’t be either. Having spent most of his prime dating years in a lab, all of his relationship experience from high school tells him it’s unfair to ask Jesse to put her life on hold for him in a long distance relationship while his focus is entirely on taking down The Company to ensure the safety of those he loves, even if she’s included in that group.

But he has more trouble letting her go than he thought he would.

Chasing His Squirrel is approximately 65k words and contains some sizzling hot sexy times between an alpha male and a young woman grabbing hold of her second chance at life with both hands.

I received an Audible code from Audiobook Obsession (a Facebook group) for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

Chasing His Squirrel is the second in a many book series of shifter romances. Each book has a romantic storyline, but is a part of the overarching story about an evil group, known as The Company, and the shifters who work with the government to stop the illegal testing of humans and shifters alike.

The good thing is, I didn’t really need to read book one to understand what was going on. The author makes sure to put in the important information down for the reader. However, it did seem to be a bit repetitive at times. I feel that once, maybe twice, is enough, but Chasing His Squirrel had it happen enough for me to really take notice. It did pull me away from the story for a few seconds, but I was back on it after that.

The story itself is a cute romance with the characters actually communicating with each other instead of having the normal misunderstandings that I’ve seen in other romances. I like that they were adults and acted like adults. I think I may have been reading less adult-oriented romances if this isn’t a new thing, but still, I appreciate the maturity level of the characters and made me like their relationship more.

The narrator did a good job overall. There were moments that I was pulled away from the story, but I think that may have had more to do with the repetitiveness instead of the actual execution of the audiobook.

All in all, the story is cute, was fun, and had a bit of something different (the shifter hybridization in particular). I wouldn’t mind reading more of the series.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #44: Shades of Fury by Heather Renee

Taya’s just been named alpha-in-training. First order of business: avenging her twin brother’s death. 

When Cord connected a rival pack to the disappearances of humans, he paid the ultimate price. Now it’s up to Taya to pick up where he left off and find justice for those who have been harmed.

As she closes in on her brother’s murderer, the threats only escalate. He wasn’t the only target, and now everyone she loves is in danger, further fueling Taya’s need for revenge.

With the help of an irresistible shifter named Liam, they set out in search of the only witch coven strong enough to set things right. Only Taya isn’t sure who to trust and if she doesn’t decide soon, she could lose not only her heart, but the people she loves most.

I received an Audible code from the author for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review

Shades of Fury is the first book in the series. It centers around Taya, a wolf shifter, and her mission to protect not only her pack but also humankind. Right off the bat, I was into this story. You may think this is more romance from the blurb, but I felt it as more an urban fantasy with a romantic element.

The writing is well done. It’s engaging and pulls you in. Likewise, the narrator was a great choice. She gave an already well written Taya a voice. Also, she wasn’t bad with her male voices. I didn’t have any trouble discerning who was who.

As a story, it is fast paced and ends on a cliffhanger. I do want to listen to the second book and I do really like Heather Renee’ as an author. I’m going to have to read more.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #43: Theodore Gale in Oz by KuroKoneko Kamen

A genderbent reimagining of the classic fairytale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz… 

Theodore Gale is a twenty-five-year-old, unemployed, playboy cowboy with the propensity for getting into fights. After winning a bronco riding competition he decides to celebrate with a southern belle he sneaks to the barn at the Gale Farm. The following morning should have started with some kinky fun, but instead his life is turned upside down when a green tornado appears and takes Theo’s barn to another world. 

With only his gray horse, Toto, as a companion Theo arrives in Oz. As he tries to make heads or tails out of this strange new world, he ends up liberating various villages from the tyranny of first, the Wicked Warlock of the East, who was killed accidentally when Theo’s barn dropped on top of him, and secondly, the Wicked Warlock of the West, Jadyn, who’d turned an entire village into toys, enslaved them, and was forcing them to brew potions. 

It’s on the outskirts of Toy Village that Theo meets a damsel in distress, who is about to get ripped apart by crows. Her name is Anne Raggedy. She calls herself a Scarecrow, but Theo doesn’t find her very frightening, and actually ends up getting confused boners for the life-size doll. When Theo discovers that Anne used to be human, he decides to travel with her to the Emerald City in order to find a way to break her curse, so he can get laid. Joining them on their quest is a Cowardly Lioness and Cyborg Assassin named Tina Woodcutter. 

Genderbent Fairytales Collection: 
Handsome and the Yeti 
Petra Pan 
Alister in Wonderland 
King of Hearts: A Wonderland Story 
Theodore Gale in Oz 

I received an Audible code from the author via Audiobook Obsession for an honest review. What follows is that review. There was no compensation for what is about to be said.

Okay. This is not my first KuroKoneko Kamen genderbent fairytale and it’s definitely not going to be my last. This is by far the better of the two I’ve read and I can’t wait for the sequel. I’m not joking around.

There is a fine line when you put in pop culture references into your fiction. On one hand, you can inspire the giggles and nostalgia feels. On the other, you can end up dating your book once it hits a certain age. Theodore Gale in Oz straddles that line like Theodore straddles his horse, Toto.

There were great one-liners, awesome pop references, and I found myself rooting for the main characters. Close to the end of the book, my Bug was getting into the story. He doesn’t like me listening to audiobooks in the car, but this kid wasn’t leaving the car until I turned it off. Because, and I quote, “I want to hear this.”

Note. There are sex scenes. I do not advise listening to those scenes with little ears around and I personally didn’t do that.

The writing is well done and pulls the reader in. It is a well-made retelling, following most of the original story, but being its own narrative at the same time. And I have to add that there is definitely a sequel! Which, I’m going to be listening to.

My only complaint is that sometimes the narrator read with an accent and other times not. It did on occasion turn me off of the story, but I was able to jump right back in a few seconds later.

All in all, this is a fun read, the laugh out loud and smile kind.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #42: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I was trying so hard not to finish this series. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t ready to leave this world and leave the Raven Boys and Blue behind. But, when I heard about a new series set in this world was coming out, I knew I had to finish so that I could start that one.

I’m both sad and happy to have finished. Sad because it’s the end. Happy because it was a good end. The book series itself has a very Southern fiction feel in the way it is written. It is slow paced, but the world itself grabs you and keeps a hold of you until the end. And I wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did.

I think a part of me would have liked an epic battle or for the reveal of Glendowyer to be a bit different, but this series isn’t about those things. It’s about the journey, the adventure, and the group of people you surround yourself when doing it. Despite me wanting a bit of something, I can’t say it wasn’t written the way it needed to be written. One because the author has that final decision, but two, because I do see how the true ending fits.

And it fits.

For every character, it fits.

I probably gushed about this series to my best friend for days and I gushed about this specific book for the same amount. The narration is perfect, the writing is perfect, and the story itself is amazing. I love every character. I love the world. I hate to see it finished.

Am I going to get the accompanied trilogy that’s coming out? You bet your ass I will be.

Final Rating: 5/5

Book #39: Wolf Blessed By Laura Greenwood

Being a runaway princess isn’t always as fun as people think… 

Stuck in the human realm when the world ended, Rhianna just kept on running…until the wolves at her heels caught up and she uncovered a plot to bring back civilisation in the worst possible way. 

All she has to do, is stop the plot before any more innocents end up dead. 

– 

Wolf Blessed is a paranormal apocalyptic reverse harem and Rhianna’s complete story.

I received an Audible Code through a Facebook group called Audiobook Obsession. This was for an honest review and I was not compensated for this review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone.

First, I should state that even though this book is a reverse harem, I wouldn’t worry. And by worry, I mean that this is not a steamy sexy romance. This is a paranormal apocalyptic book where we see the future of the world after a cataclysmic event that is only mentioned. The romance just happens to be in the book and it isn’t really in your face. It’s more like: “a hot group of guys meet a girl and they work together to stop some bad stuff from going down. Oh and by the way, they are mated.”

That isn’t to say that the book isn’t well written. There were some parts that I was hoping there would be elaboration, but it was a fun read. I know the blurb says that this is the complete story, but I can’t help and think that there is more to it than meets the eye. There is a sequel and perhaps we will see more of what is going on.

The world itself is interesting and leads the reader into wondering all the possible outcomes. I personally don’t think Rhiannon’s story is actually complete, but I do like that there is a continuation of the world.

As for the narration, the narrator was chosen well and I could feel the main character. The male voices were well done and no one sounded exactly the same. All in all, it is a quick and fun read that I wouldn’t mind listening more of.

Final Rating: 3/5