Category: Books

A Stolen Kiss

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

A stolen kiss. An unstable curse. One big mess in the making.

Derric Harver never expected to amount to anything more than the palace stableboy, but when Princess Maria’s curse keeps her from accepting a prince’s proposal, she turns to him for help, and he doesn’t dare refuse.

With the help of a lady’s maid and a prince, Derric and Maria embark on a dangerous adventure to find the sorceress who cast the curse. Along the way they battle deadly creatures and make new friends–all the while struggling with the undeniable chemistry between them. Reaching their destination won’t be easy, but the true peril lies in the truths they’ve fought for years to keep hidden.

A Stolen Kiss by Kelsey Keating
A Stolen Kiss by Kelsey Keating

A Stolen Kiss is the first in the Stolen Royals Series–an adventure with magical creatures, dangerous secrets, and being true to the power within.

The title and cover art is what drew me to this book while surfing through NetGalley.  I am so glad I decided to pick it up.    It’s a fun, cute read that breathes a new life into fairytales.  There is magic, good, evil, and a host of fantastical creatures.  Just what a fantasy needs.  Plus a bit of romance thrown in too.  I enjoyed it immensely.

Each character is portrayed in a way that shows the world is not black and white.  The good guys do bad things, and the bad guys aren’t always what they seem.  I did feel that it took a bit to really get pulled into the story, but once the group had set out on their journey I was hooked.

I went looking to see if there was another book available, since  A Stolen Kiss is listed as #1 in The Stolen Royals series.  Unfortunately there aren’t any other books out yet.  However, the author indicated on Goodreads that the plan is for a four book series.  The next two will deal with characters that were mentioned in A Stolen Kiss, and the final book sounds as if might be an adventure for all of them.

I’m going to be keeping an eye out for any updates pertaining to the second book in the series.  I can’t wait to read more!


The Death of Dulgath

Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria.

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria’s Royce and Hadrian are hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since Hadrian, the war-weary mercenary, and Royce, the cynical ex-assassin, joined forces to become rogues-for-hire. All has gone well until they’re asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan

The latest Riyria adventure featuring our two favorite thieves, Royce and Hadrian.  (Note the wording, I said latest because I truly hope there will more of Royce and Hadrian’s adventures).  I’ve read all of the Riyria books, and am happy to say that this series holds up while providing a closer look at Royce and Hadrian and how they came to be Riyria.

The Death of Dulgath follows the pair south, to an idyllic village where everything is not as it seems.  Throughout the adventure they face mishaps and hardships, showing that both are still learning and growing in their partnership and on their own.

Sullivan is a great world builder, and I’m hoping that if he continues Royce and Hadrian’s adventures that we might see them travel further abroad to some of the other places mentioned in the Riyria series.

Each story is built so that is can be a standalone adventure, yet there are multiple nuggets in there for fans of the series.  With The Death of Dulgath I was pleased that the Fhrey were mentioned, as they are the focus of his newest series, The First Empire (of which I’m happily looking forward to).


The Rejected Writers’ Book Club

Review copy provided by NetGalley 

27256097The Rejected Writers’ Book Club is an enjoyable read.  It’s a fun and quirky story about a group of  women who end up on a somewhat impromptu road trip to retrieve a manuscript. Along the way they meet an array of interesting characters and go to great lengths in order to complete their mission. The descriptions are very well done, and it’s easy to picture the characters and settings. The characters all work well together too, and each has a distinctly different personality.

However, I wasn’t completely invested. For me, there was something missing. I didn’t connect with the story the way I wanted to. Janet, who is the main character, doesn’t seem to be driving the story as much as I would have liked.  Rather, she’s along for the ride. I believe most of that can be explained by her temperament. To me, she seemed very much a peacekeeper. Even so, I think I was expecting a little more development of her character.

That being said, I think Kelman has a strong foundation here to continue the adventures of this group of ladies in Southlea Bay. I didn’t find any announcements on a second book yet, so I’ll have to keep an eye out.


Winter Garden

1941. Leningrad, a once magical city besieged by war, cut off from aid, buried in snow. A city full of women desperate to save their children and themselves…

2000. Loss and old age have taken a terrible toll on Anya Whitson. At last, she will reach out to her estranged daughters. In a halting, uncertain voice, she begins to weave a fable about a beautiful Russian girl who lived in Leningrad a lifetime ago…

Nina and Meredith sit spellbound at their mother’s bedside, listening to a story that spans more than sixty years and moves from the terrors of war-torn Leningrad under siege to modern-day Alaska.

In a quest to uncover the truth behind the story, Nina and Meredith discover a secret so shocking, so impossible to believe, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah


I felt so many emotions reading this book; sadness, frustration, joy.  I was moved to tears throughout the book.  I felt invested in these characters, without even trying on my part.

The book opens up with a sad incident, which is the lynchpin for the rest of the story.  It works though, and the story we read is one that is not only heartbreaking, but also uplifting.  There are two stories unfolding as the book continues, one deep in the past and one in the book’s present day.  Both of these stories are changing the lives of all involved and are deftly woven together to create a whole.

Kristin Hannah writes in a way that is an emotional journey, and at the end of that journey is a satisfying conclusion.

I’m looking forward to reading other books by the same author and I hope they have the same emotional pull that this one does.


Alice in Zombieland

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave.  Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed.  From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined?  Please.  But that’s all it took.  One heartbeat.  A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right.  The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead.  To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland.  But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

Yes, there are zombies.  Yes, there are elements of Alice in Wonderland.  No, this is not Alice in Wonderland with zombies thrown in.  Although a book like that does exist (Alice in Zombieland by Nickolas Cook – I don’t recommend it).

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter has put a fresh spin on zombies and Alice, much to my delight.  I originally found this book, after reading the other Alice in Zombieland, and picked it up hoping that it would be more of the book I wanted to read, rather than the one I actually read (can you tell I was not impressed?).  This time, I wasn’t let down.

Although it’s based on Alice in Wonderland to a degree, I’ll be honest with you – I can’t pick out most of the counterparts.  Obviously, there’s Alice.  Her best friend is Kat, so that one wasn’t hard.  And then, at least in my mind, Cole is the Hatter.  Other than that I’m not sure who would be who.  And the really great part is that it doesn’t matter.  This is a story built on its own foundations, and even if you had never heard of Alice in Wonderland, it would still hold up.

The zombies are even better.  They’re not your typical undead-eat flesh-shambling killing machines.  In Alice’s world, most people can’t see zombies and have no idea they even exist.  These zombies exist in the spirit world, which makes for an interesting way of dealing with and fighting them.  People in the physical world are still in danger, only they have no idea what that danger is.  Alice and her friends are a group of slayers, who have the ability to fight the zombies in their natural habitat.  This ability is something that, while not rare, is also not rampant among the population and sets them apart.

Alice in Zombieland is also a young adult novel, so the main characters are all teenagers.  With teenagers comes a certain degree of angst, but it’s handled well here.  I also find it believable for the most part, rather than overblown.  The teenagers act like teenagers, but they’re still fully realized people.  Being a teenager is only one aspect of their lives, and the typical tropes aren’t taking over the story even if they do show up. That being said, I do have a couple of things that I’m not fond of.  The story is set in modern day, and therefore the teenagers text – with all the abbreviations and acronyms and what not that is probably 100% typical.  However, I can’t stand it.  I almost physically cringe when I read over the texts with too many 2’s and U’s.  My other issue is the reinforcement of how “bad” the bad boys are.  Not only do they look mean, but they have tattoos, and piercings, and more.  It’s driven home and I feel we don’t need so many reminders.  It is told from the point of view of a teenage girl though, so I guess maybe it’s to be expected.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Alice in Zombieland, and I’m excited to see how the story continues in Through the Zombie Glass.  Actually, I’ve already started reading it!