So I read 39 books this month with was great aimed for the full 40 in June.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio ***** – The opening to Wonder was great we meet August we has a facial deformity and is having to live with that and the pressure of going to school for the first time as August has been home-schooled for most of his life. I loved watching August interact with his parents especially his father and how they have to word every conversation carefully to avoid putting too much stress on August, in reality though August does have a very normal home life and school seems strange and scary for him but he is excited in his own way. On a tour of his new school August meets Jack, Julian and Charlotte; Jack and Charlotte are helpful and nice towards August although Julian is quite rude and a little mean to August but he tries to not let it hinder him or the new experience he is going to be facing very soon.
Dark Road Home by Angela Bennett **** – The opening prologue to Dark Road Home was amazing we meet Ethan McBain was is a criminal defence attorney preparing to leave his office for a night out with his daughter when he is killed. We then jump sixteen years into the future where we meet Annabelle or Belle for the first time moving on with her life with Dr. Mark Stratton when an FBI agent turns up on her doorstep with a request to meet Anthony Carzozza. We are also introduced to Joseph a former hit man for the men that will use Belle as leverage against himself and the only way to do that is convince her to help the FBI, which is going to be no small task.
Kidnapped by 2 men by Summer Cooper ***** – The opening to Kidnapped by 2 men was amazing, we meet Lily who is the secretary of a very successful businessman; James Dominick and is often the butt of office rumours about sleeping with the boss and often being a general slut while Lily is the exact opposite. One night while working late with her boss some men break into his home and take Lily hostage while James abandoned her and locked himself in his safe room. Lily learns two of her captors are called Cameron and Liam and her boss is just as bad as these men as she learns of the things he has done. Lily despite her situation finds herself attracted to the men she is being held by.
Daughter of Etheron by Brandon Young ***** – The opening to Daughter of Etheron was brilliant we meet Elenah Lockwood who is a princess on Etheron and her mentor/protector Gilgan. Etheron seems to be a state of resistance with people rising up against the Council the very people that will be protecting Elenah among others and the very people Elenah doesn’t trust. We learn the Elenah is actually part of a rebellion against the rule of the Council and we are introduced to some of her allies inside the rebellion like Oswald, Morgan and Korvis. We learn that magic has been banned on Etheron although some like Korvis have been learning despite the ban, Korvis wants to take Elenah off the world but before he gets a chance the Forty-Ninth Council had arrived. We also meet Teveran who is the high prince and Elenah’s brother, he is to become the Grand Highlord within Council. Teveran is scared about leaving with the Council because he believes his sister knows more than she is letting on but he doesn’t have any choice but to comply with the Council’s demand as he knows they are recruiting for a war. This book gives of the same vibes as Illuminae did so I am sure I can expect some very good things from this book.
The Last Princess by Jewel Allen **** – Despite not reading the first book in this series I was still very excited to read the Last Princess. The prologue to this book was brilliant we meet Juliza who is Gurian’s princess currently on her first hunt with her people. We also meet Koda Juliza’s lover she hopes to marry after she is crowned and can change the laws. But when Koda had to leave on a two year exposition she calls off their romance only to regret it the moment he leaves. We then up forward two years, where we meet Raúl as he arrived in Spain’s Philippine colony. Raúl is there to negotiate docking rights for Gurian on behalf of the King of Spain but I’d denied because it is impossible. Gurian is the last sultanate resisting an alliance with Spain and any party that has sailed into their waters has never been seen again. Rather than scaring Raúl it fascinated him and he wants to know more especially about the Last Princess and what her weaknesses are.
Elphame Realms E-Zine by Various ***** – Tamed by Kyla Stan was brilliant we meet Calliope who has promised Paris of Troy as a bride. After she kills the men on the boat carrying her to her new home, she is banished to the depths of the ocean as a siren for using Hera`s gift for evil until she finds the one who can tame her. We then jump forward in time where we meet Collin who works for the Fish and Wildlife Department as he journeys to an allegedly cursed but uncharted island. While on the island he meets and eventually falls in love with a mysterious creature. This story has a very mythical theme incorporating Greek mythology and oceanic folklore.
Save me, Daddy by Jess Bentley **** – The opening to Save Me, Daddy was brilliant. It was hot and steamy with plenty of teasing to wet the reader’s appetite. We meet Kita who is preparing to attend the Chi Rho Pi Bake Sale as a charity event, but when she arrives she feels something isn’t right because everyone in attendance is male and she doesn’t see any form of baked goods in sight. We learn that the bake sale isn’t for things like cookie but it is an auction of girls and Lizzie drugs Kita in order to get her to participate but luckily Daniel arrives and break the whole thing up and takes Kita to his home so she can recover from the drugs she has been given.
Daddy’s Best Friend by Tia Siren ***** – The opening to Daddy’s best friend was delicious we meet Linda who is determined to sleep with her father’s business partner Samuel to get back at her father for being so overprotective despite all of her confidence she is still a virgin at 22. Linda does succeed though in sleeping with Sami only because he doesn’t recognize who she is at first but when he does he is through into some turmoil because Linda’s father Wilson would kill him if he ever found out. Despite this the pair intend to keep their secret and even see more of each other in time.
Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot ***** – The opening to Sad Perfect was great we meet Pea who is a sixteen-year-old with an eating disorder although she doesn’t see it this way she just thinks she is a picky eater. Her best friend Jae introduces her to Ben who she has an instant connection with. Pea’s mother intends to take her to a facility that specializes in curing eating disorders. While I liked the way, the story starts I didn’t immediately connect with the second person narrative but it was unique. Pea starts dating Ben which she loves as he makes her feel normal but she also starts therapy which makes her feel terrible a she must voice things she never has before like her attitude towards food and what she is and isn’t willing to eat and why.
Wild & Wishful, Dark & Dreaming by Alethea Kontis **** – The opening story in this collection 183 Million Light Years from Home was great. I really enjoyed this story although I felt this story wasn’t exciting enough to open the collection but it was a decent start. We meet Allen Cooper driving home from a work meeting in the early hours of the morning while contemplating his life and his wife’s pregnancy he tries to overtake a truck in front of him that has its left blinker stuck on but the truck mirrors and blocks every manoeuvre he tries to make. We also meet Captain Yerin who seems to be part of an alien race looking to take over Earth and eradicate the humans from it. This mysterious are on the verge of killing the humans when the scout carrying their beacons sending stops transmitting at the exact same moment Allen shoots out a tire on the truck in front of him which subsequently explodes. This seemingly innocent sequence of events lead the aliens to abort their mission and although Allen is guilty about the “person” he possible killed, he inadvertently saved the whole world.
The Dom vs The Virgin by Alice Ward ***** – The opening to The Dom vs The Virgin was stunningly sad, we meet Emery whose best friend Ryan was killed in a shooting at a gay club and is returning home for the memorial service. Emery had pretended to be Ryan’s girlfriend for years to protect him from their bigoted community including his own mother. When she returns she is faced with ridicule and humiliation and I felt extremely sorry for her as her mother died before she was born, her best friend is dead and her dad literally wallows in his own filth so she is all alone. We also meet Rhett who is a professional baseball player and is being signed up for a programmed called ‘The Biggest Catch’ which is similar to the ‘Bachelor’. Rhett isn’t pleased with the idea but goes through with it as a favor to a friend.
The Woman Behind the Waterfall by Leonora Meriel **** – The opening to The Woman Behind The Waterfall was good I loved the imagery of the Ukrainian landscape. We meet Angela and her mother as they bake a cake. Angela seems very perspective and in tune with nature for a child but then again she is seeing the world through the wondrous and naive eyes of a child. Angela talks about her night spirit will she talks to frequently and on this night her spirit tells her that a darkness is coming. We also see her mother Lyuda’s perspective and how she worries for her daughter and numbs her fear with vodka.
Teacher’s Bet by Ruby Steele ***** – The opening to Teacher’s Bet was brilliant, we meet Olivia and her best friend Becca on a vacation in Las Vegas, in addition to cutting lose and having some fun Olivia is trying to find a guy to take her virginity so she can stop worrying about it. She choose Vegas because she feels that if it goes horrible wrong and is awkward she won’t ever have to see the guy again. When they arrive at the casino on a mission Olivia is slightly buzzed after a few shots and heads to the high rollers section of the casino floor where she meets Aiden.
A Baby for my Billionaire Boss by Cassandra Zara & Annie Young ***** – The opening to A Baby for my Billionaire Boss was great, we meet Jane who is starting a new job at Winthrow Financial and her new boss Carter Winthrow really catches her eyes. Jane does have some self-esteem issues but those are easily changed with Maddie’s help, one thing we do learn about Jane very early on is that is has the baby blue and wishes someday soon for a child of her own.
A Baby for my Billionaire Boss 2 by Cassandra Zara & Annie Young **** – The opening to the second instalment in this series was great we see Jane try and cope with Carter shrugging her off at every opportunity even after their wild night and Jane is determined to capture his intention once more while trying to keep their affair and the baby quiet.
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn *** – The Grownup is a short story by Gillian Flynn published in the form of a book. It is a hybrid between a thriller and a horror story with amusing plot twists.Even before we know her name, our narrator bombards us with her routine work schedule that leave her exhausted and force her to look for a second job. The story starts with her complaining that she is too tired working six days a week, eight hours a day. So she quits her full time job. She starts working as a as a psychic reader making predictions of the future from her client’s attire, mannerisms etc. And at the back end of her psychic reading tent she continues her old job of giving hand jobs to some really desperate men.
The Executioner by Shauna Allen ***** – The opening to the Executioner was great, we meet Officer Asher Creed working in a prisoner with death row inmates after being medically discharged from the army. After his latest execution he runs into a true crime columnist called Genevieve Stone who agrees to talk to off the record. We learn that Asher comes from quite a large family that are all boys except for their sister Claire who mysteriously disappeared ten years before, we start to get a bit of backstory and the prologue begins to make sense. I loved watching Levi and Asher interact as it is a typical brotherly relationship although both have their own problems.
Instruments of the Angels by Monica Leonelle *** – The opening to Instruments of the Angels was strange and a little confusing, we meet Thessa was is an exceptionally old Hallow who has been summoned to Barcelona by Mateo Vega. We learn that Thessa is a celebrity asking her kind because she hasn’t aged in nearly two thousand years because she can’t have children and Hallows only begin to age once they procreate. We also meet Brie in Honolulu preparing to start at DeRosa Academy after the death of her mother. Both of Brie’s parents are famous in different ways and Brie has been harassed by the media especially after her mother’s death. Brie has to deal with new day rumours at school and immediately causes strange things to happen when she is angry or upset.
Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard *** – Queen Song follows Queen Coriane, mother to prince Cal, who readers know from Red Queen. Queen Songtakes us back to before Cal was born, when Coriane first met King Tiberias as an adolescent. Coriane keeps a secret diary of all the emotions she feels while living in the palace and falling in love with the king. If you’ve read Red Queen, then you know exactly where this story is before you even start reading. That doesn’t mean, however, that this story won’t break your heart.. I had wondered what Coraine would have been like while reading Red Queen, and the actual story was even more heart wrenching.
Marked by Hell by Erin Bedford ***** – The opening to Marked by Hell was brilliant, we meet Mary Wiles who is a private investigator/supernatural expert who is called to exorcise Father Dominic as he has been possessed by a demon. The demon tries to subdue Mary but we learn she isn’t human but rather she is a fallen angel. Mary as a protagonist is witty, sarcastic and very funny at times despite carrying the burden of her own personal demons.
King by Jess Bentley * – The opening to King was brilliant we meet Jordan at the funeral of her best friend Kelsey. On her way home to her parents she bumps into Raleigh King her father’s best friend from college and business partner. While their attraction is immediately Jordan is too overwhelmed by Kelsey’s death to think about relationships, she also decides to a tribute holiday to Paris with the money Kelsey leaves her in her will, which conveniently King is heading for business. When we are introduced to King’s perspective, we see him extremely affected by Jordan despite knowing her since she was a baby he wants her more than any woman he’s had before and he is hoping she goes to France, far away from her parents where he may be able to make a move on her.
Love’s Addiction by Ozlo & Priya Grey ***** – The prologue to Love’s Addiction was great, it provides a nice opening without giving up too much information. We meet Vanessa whose relationship with Richard has broken down, we are then introduced to Colter who is starting his final year of college as a star football player but wants to take a writing class by one of his favourite authors; Vanessa March. I loved the relationship between Colter and his father as it’s the kind of relationship most boys want with their father, although the family is haunted by bad things like the death of his mother and his criminal brother but Colter has hopes for a better future.
Infusion by Faye Carlisle **** – The opening to Infusion was good, we meet Kate re-joining school with a new boy Jack. It is a normal day until the flange on their Bunsen burner grows and shrinks with being touched out without a draught. Strange things continue to happen when Kate and Jack have chemistry lessons but Kate just shrugs it off as coincidence but Jack seems to notice these strange things, we also learn young girls have been going missing nearby. One thing Kate can say is the strange occurrences started after she met Jack.
Ready for Love by Stella Starling ***** – The opening to Ready for Love was great, we meet Jake and Blair who works as flight attendants but they also have sexuality in common as they are both gay, Jake’s friends keep telling him to have fun but he is obsessed with Gabe and has eyes for no one else.
For Beau by Simon Gandossi ***** – The opening to For Beau was good we meet Sarah who is going to be interview by Daniel Warwick about the blitz which she living through as the anniversary approaches. Daniel wants Sarah to tell him her whole story right from the beginning in September 1940. As Sarah recounts her story as a young married woman with her husband away fighting, she talks about a young girl named Beaux who everyone called Beau who she saw as a younger sister and her best friend Mary, who is pregnant by one of her many lovers with her fiancé fights side by side the Sarah’s husband.
10 Dates by Emily James ***** – What can I say about 10 Dates other than it is absolute written perfection! I loved the opening non-engagement scene as it really sets the tone for Joanie and Chris’ relationship later on and sets the stage for all the events that come later. I felt this was the perfect spot to start, even though it the end of Joan and Chris’ relationship we get enough exposition and backstory threaded throughout the novel to not need any additional information. It also sets up the friendship between Joan, Melinda and Mickey very well and how vital they will be to Joanie’s development as a character.
Apollo’s 11 by Anna Collins **** – The opening to Apollo’s 11 was great, we meet Callie who is an budding writer who gets chosen to beta read Apollo Iron’s book about his life as Apollo is the heir to the Iron’s billion dollar empire. We get a glimpse into her life and the things she wants for herself and the things she currently has. Apollo choosing her to review his book is a major event for Callie especially she just wrote an article where both Apollo and his brother Perseus are mentioned. While Callie is attracted to the idea of the hot billionaire she does actually have a boyfriend which could complicate any romance later on. We then switch to Apollo’s perspective who after receiving Callie’s feedback on his autobiography decides that this woman is going to be the one to help him make his book a success.
The Plague by Blake B. Rivers DNF – The opening to the Plague was different we meet Andi who works in a call centre. She looks like a guy who should play American football but is actually a real bookworm and video game addict. We also learn that she had an alien imaginary friend whose world she still visits occasionally in her dreams. She learns that the sci-fi book she is currently reading also has a game adaptation which she buys and is immediately sucked into like any hardcore gamer would be. Andi’s dreams get increasing strange when her childhood friend Gee-Gee keeps appearing saying she is forcing her to hear the warnings she is blocking out of her mind and if she doesn’t listen to them everyone is going to die. This book for me in the opening chapters was giving off a vibe similar to that of the Matrix.
Dangerous Fling by Crystal Kaswell ***** – The opening to Dangerous Fling was brilliant, we meet Lacey who is working at a set assistant for Malcolm Strong’s new music video. Mal is a celebrity millionaire and rock star sex god who Lacey often dreams about and her dream sort of comes true when the model for the video is taking too long in makeup and Lacey is asked to work in her place. The attraction between the two is so easy to see from the first page of this novel. While both Lacey and Mal are attracted to each other they maintain a professional relationship while working on the video but Mal sees something in her, something he wants and he always gets what he wants.
A Daring Proposition by Casey Hagen ***** – The opening to A Daring Proposition was beautiful, we meet Emberly Blair who runs her own company called Blair Photography where she empowers women to feel good about their bodies without using things like photoshop or air-brushing. I loved seeing the way Emberly or Em as she likes to be called interact with her clients as she always sees the beauty in them and helps them to see it too. We also meet Seth who is a tech genius who loves women in every sense of the word, his friend Roz recommends Emberly for a photo shoot he needs doing while at a club where Em just happens to be with her best friend.
At His Mercy by Sophia Desmond **** – The opening to At His Mercy was ok, we meet Morgan who is a professor at Silliman University teaching about American Literature at a time in her life where she is empowering herself to her own person with her own wants, desires and hobbies not that of her parents. We also meet Blaine who is a billionaire who is dealing with his ex-wife Liana after their very messy divorce because of her there are people not willing to work with him especially after a front page spread claiming he hit her and now he has to find something to distract the people and improve his public image.
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas **** – The opening to The Hate You Give was brilliant, we meet Starr and her friend Kenya at a party in their neighbourhood. Starr feels very uncomfortable at this party because it’s not what she is used to. We learn that Starr leads to lives; one in her poor black neighbourhood and her posh white school and how she copes with living in both these circles at the same time. I didn’t really like Kenya at first because she was very pushy and pressured Starr to do things she wasn’t comfortable doing but nothing really happens as the party is broken up when gunshots are heard and the kids scatter.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman *** – The opening to Coraline was good and very different to its movie counterpart, we meet Coraline after she moves into her new home and she is adjusting the way any child would be exploring and generally getting under foot. It is right at the beginning of the book that she uncovers the door that goes nowhere and isn’t really to curious about it even when there are strange noises in the night she doesn’t really think much of it. When Coraline discovers the other world for the first time she isn’t really surprised or even curious about the people living there and how the brick wall just magically disappeared, some of this can be put down to a child’s imagination but I didn’t immediately connect to Coraline the way I did with the movie version of her.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas ***** – After reading ACOTAR once before I already had a good idea of what was going to happen although it had been a while but I am marathoning the series since I just got my hands on a copy of A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) as well as A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) the new book. I was so excited to be re-reading this book as I gave it 5 *’s the first time around. Diving back into this world was amazing and I love Feyre because she is so focused although I did feel she was bearing a huge burden, one beyond her years because she is the youngest sibling in this story. I love Sarah J. Maas’ writing of strong female protagonist.
Dane by Ashley L. Hunt **** – The opening prologue of Dane was a little strange as it opens with an adult scene with I don’t see very often but it is cut short when Dane and his mystery woman are interrupted by someone else, someone who the woman seems to know. We learn that Dane is part of an alien tribe known as the A’li-uud that inhabit the planet Albaterra which is now under attack by humans. Dane is an elder meaning he has unique abilities that aid him in battle. Dane and his men are ultimately captured by the humans although there were loses on both sides. We also meet Roxanne who is the Ambassador of Alien Relations and has to now prove her worth. Dane was sent to Earth to destroy the humans and colonize the planet but this new series of events only increase his hatred for humans despite the fact his two brother Rex and Duke both fell in love with human women.
The Prince and the Omega by Penelope Peters ***** – The opening to The Prince and the Omega was great, we meet Rowan who is an omega as he arrives at his best friend Celia’s (also an omega) engagement announcement party where she is to be married to an Alpha prince. As the party begins we are also introduced to Prince Gaspar of Iberia who is going to be marrying Celia despite the fact he prefers men. Wanting to have some fun before his marriage Gus heads out to the party where he bumps into Rowan. As the King arrives Rowen unknowingly helps Gus escape the party as he isn’t meant to be there yet.
One by Sarah Crossan ***** – I have read several short stories written in verse and I read a lot of poetry but I have never read a full novel written in verse, so I was very excited to read One. The opening section is August where we meet Tippi and Grace who are conjoined twins. Their type of joining they have means from the waist up they are two separate people but only share a single pair of legs. We immediately know that this means they can’t be separated without killing one of the sisters. When the family money begins to run out the girls can no longer be home-schooled. We see their distinct personalities Grace is quiet and introverted while Tippi is loud and slightly overshadows Grace. We also see the twins are very fragile, a bout of flu completely knocks them off their feet affecting Grace more than Tippi.
Apex Lost: Volume 1 Max Velocity by Jesse Rubio **** – The opening to Apex Lost: Max Velocity was stunning, the novel begins in 2101, we meet Ezzer on Athenia after a disaster leaving him stranded trying to communicate with other sectors but all the equipment has flatlined. Ezzer along with James were the only ones from their section to make it to safety and survive the disaster and after three months they are desperate for rescue as their supplies begin to run low. I loved Ezzer’s reaction they aren’t calm and measured like I see in a lot of sci-fi/dystopian novel but the complete opposite. During some expositional scenes we learn more about Ezzer and what his life was like on Earth before he went to work for Star Bright Industries, and we learn that Ezzer didn’t join because he was brave or wanted recognition he joined purely because he was desperate and had no other options, which I really liked at it made him a more relatable protagonist.
Firebolt by Adrienne Woods **** – The opening to Firebolt was brilliant, we meet 16 year old Elena and her father who are on the run for unknown reasons. One night when they are moving one again they are attacked by dragons and she learns that her father also transforms into a dragon. Elena’s reason is perfect she is freaked out, intrigued yet terrified all at once. After the attack Elena wakes up in Paegeia, where she learns of her father’s death and that she bears a special mark but it is a dark mark. Elena learns that she can’t leave Paegeia because of the wall but her mark does get her admittance to Dragonia Academy.