Book 72 of 2015: Archon’s Queen by Matthew S. Cox


Secrets, guilt, and shame―Annabelle Morgan has them all in droves. Fortunately, only one can kill her.
Anna’s gift, psionic control over electricity, tends to go haywire in moments of high emotion. One such episode leaves her homeless after her father’s “accidental” death. She ekes out a modest life as a thief and freelance enforcer until a close call with a murderous government agency makes her turn to Zoom―a powerful hallucinogenic street drug that numbs her mind so the monster cannot get out.
Her safety blanket becomes a devouring pit.
In 2413 London, Anna lives in the gutter, unable to even keep work as an exotic dancer and prostitute. After ignoring her only friend’s pleas for years, it takes a pimp telling her she is too addicted to be useful to realize just how lost she is.
When a young addition to her circle of vagrants attaches to her, Anna attempts to turn away from Zoom. A job from her old handler ends on shaky ground, but introduces her to Doctor James Mardling, a university professor looking for people just like her. He offers the one thing she has always longed for: dignity.
His price, however, may just be too much to pay.

 I received this book from the author for an honest review.

Archon’s Queen is the sequel to The Awakened series by Matthew Cox.  I had read the first book, Prophet of the Badlands, recently and I was instantly sucked into Cox’s science fiction world. The first book dealt with the life of a young girl in a Mad Max like setting. In that book, she met the characters that appear in Archon’s Queen.

Archon’s Queen is set chronologically before Prophet of the Badlands.  However, I would recommend sticking to the way Matthew Cox has the series laid out. The first book is thriving with emotional turmoil and sets the tone for the series. The second book deals with the young woman known as Pixie, who you only see for a short bit in the first book.

What I love about Cox is that he writes strong female leads. He puts them through the ringer, but even though they are battered, these women come out stronger. Anna, or Pixie, is no different. I was rooting for her to pull through with her addiction and fear of the government. I wanted her to succeed. She is a smartass and could seem jaded, but there’s a piece of innocence still there. That is a very difficult thing to write. I felt Pixie was a complex character and it made me love her more.

The book deals with various problems with Anna’s addiction being the main driving force. It is her desire to clean up that sets her up for the events in the end of the book as well as her position in the first book. This book gave me an insight to Anna’s motives in the first book.

What is great about this book is that you see another piece of Cox’s world. This time the reader is sent to England and witnesses what the United Kingdom’s stance on psionics is. Note, it isn’t fun. Psionics who are registered are given a bomb in their head. One wrong move, look, or just because a person didn’t like them, the bomb could go off. It was that touch that made the world even more interesting. Not every country will have the same views on something and Cox presents that in a vivid manner.

Once again, I am wanting more of Matthew Cox’s Awakened world. I want to see what happens next, but I will have to wait.

Book 71 of 2015: Persecution by Elizabeth Montgomery


They were exiled from their clan. Made to leave the only home they ever knew. They knew the curse would kill them if they didn’t leave. Isaac erased her memories to give her a better life. SHE HAS TO COME BACK. SHE IS THE CHOSEN ONE. Only Cecily can defeat the hunters. Isaac swore his heart to protect her. Julian swore his life to protect her. But in the end will it be Isaac and Julian that needs saving?

I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Persecution is a paranormal romance for the New Adult audience. It centers on the life of a young woman and her importance to a race of people. The race are hybrids of witches and vampires. They are powerful, fast, but don’t feed on blood often. They are known as the Dyphillum.

The first thing I want to point out with this book is its length. It is eighty-six pages long. With the writing style, it feels shorter than that. I was gripped in the prologue, but the rest of the book needed help.

I personally feel that the book is unfinished. I wanted more detail. I wanted to experience what was going on. The last chapter did that that, but I wanted the rest of the book to reflect that. The two different point of views felt a bit confusing too. I wanted to understand Cecily better, but I couldn’t get into her with every other chapter being Isaac. Even though he had the same situation, he was easier to understand in motives.

I don’t like giving books low ratings, but because it was hard for me to connect with the main character and the story felt unfinished for me, the book is a two out of five (in Goodreads ratings). I would love to see the book rewritten with more detail. I wouldn’t say no to the sequel either. I did preview a sample of it and it looks like there is a bit more detail than this book.

Book 70 of 2015: The Assistant’s Christmas Wish by Lexi Ostrow


Leena has been in love with her boss, Nick DeMarco, for almost eight years. But he’s never given her any indication that she was special to him. Their relationship was close, but rarely outside of a business function. So when he invites her to be his fake girlfriend at his family’s Christmas week she is thrilled and ready to show Nick just what he’s missing out on, her only wish for the Christmas season.
Nick wouldn’t admit it to anyone except his brother, but his assistant Leena is the only woman he’s had feelings for in quite some time. He didn’t want to seem like a powerful boss trying to seduce his employee so he had ignored his desire for her for the past five years. When the opportunity to take her to his family’s chalets opens he takes it, intent on seducing her.
When things begin to heat up with Leena and Nick, both are pleasantly surprised. But a winter storm traps them in the chalet just as Nick’s older brother Jake arrives. When he makes no attempt to hide his attraction to Leena the whole vacation becomes heated. What will happen when the storm lifts, will the assistant have gotten a her Christmas wish?

I received the audio book code from the author for an honest review.

I’m not a big holiday book person. Sure, romance, mystery, and other things happen during the holidays as much as the regular days, but I’m not a big holiday person. That isn’t to say that I didn’t like this book. Like most of Ostrow’s work that I’ve read, it was easy to get into the characters and the story. I found myself wondering who Leena would choose (which isn’t something I usually do).

I should start by saying that I listened to the audio version. The narrative was decent. I couldn’t wrap around the narrator’s voice right away, but it didn’t take long to really get into the story. I think most of that had to do with the writing. but the narrator did feel like a part of the story as well.

As for the story, Leena seemed the type of woman who was usually a decisive person. She was in control with most aspects of her life. It was the events of the chalet that called to question her indecisiveness. Though I wanted to smack her around at times, I could understand a bit of what she was going through. No, I’ve never had to choose two men, but I could see that she was usually in control with everything and was very stressed with the time limitations to everything.

The two male leads, Jake and Nick, have different personalities, but a similar passion to what/who they want in life. Jake is more laid back and had an everyman quality. He seemed to be the most fun around. Nick, on the other hand, had this smoulder quality. He had an aggressive attitude and that made him attractive. Both men were good people, which made Leena’s (and essentially the reader’s) decision that much more difficult. You find yourself rooting for each man in one point or another.

There are steamy sex scenes throughout the book that made me blush a few times. I needed to make sure that my earbuds were on tight when I was doing my chores. The good thing is, they made sense to the story. Lexi Ostrow is good with that. The story could be translated well with or without the sex scenes, but they do enhance your experience.

I will love to see what the other books to this series will be like. It’s a good romance for the holidays or just to listen to while doing housework.

Book 69 of 2015: Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore by Rose Pressey


This looks like a job for the fashion police!
A hot-ticket charity fashion show is the perfect chance for Cookie Chanel, proud owner of It’s Vintage Y’All, to show off her stylistic savvy for a good cause. But when a famous fashionista is fatally flattened, and the ghost of a former private investigator asks for Cookie’s help, she has to scurry to sew up a solution. With clever clues from Wind Song, her psychic cat, and sassy suggestions from Charlotte, her ghost-in-residence, Cookie must unravel the sinister stitches of a deadly design–before she becomes the next fashion victim…
Don’t miss Cookie Chanel’s Fashion Tips

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

I’m just going to put it out here now; I didn’t care for the book. I love mysteries and the fashion detail intrigued me. Also, ghosts? Sure, why not. It was the lack of evidence and the main character that turned me off.

First off, this is the third book in the series. Starting a series off with the third book isn’t really the way to go. It’s not something I usually do, but I figured since it was a cozy mystery, I wasn’t going to be too confused with characters. I was right about that. You don’t necessarily need to know all of the characters first hand to grasp the details of the book. However, I feel that fans of this series will tell me that the main character is better understood in the first book and that this one misrepresents her.

That may be true, but I have a feeling it’s not completely. When I was reading, I felt the amatuer sleuth, Cookie Chanel, wasn’t passionate. Don’t get me wrong, she has passion. She has a passion for fashion and she does it well. I just don’t think she has a complete passion in justice or solving puzzles. It felt the ghosts had more of an emotional attatchment to solving the crime and Cookie was doing it to have peace in her home again.

I also had a pet peeve with… the cat. A psychic cat is interesting, but it felt like when Cookie was stumped she instantly went to the cat for help. I didn’t, however, see who was going to be the killer. Then again, I also didn’t care who was. All of the “suspects” weren’t necessarily suspects in Cookie’s eyes. She was just asking a bunch of questions.

If the book was longer and had a little more tension, I might have been more interested in the book. As such, if you are a fan of this book series, keep reading. I’m sure you’ll have a more positive experience. Will I read the first book? I wouldn’t mind taking a gander at it.

In all, it had the Cozy formula, the hot cop, a murder, and did have great fashion tips. If you are undetered by my opinion, read it.

Book 68 of 2015: The Rise of Silver and Steam by Lexi Ostrow


Thomas Agardawes has a bride that resists him, and a job that he doesn’t like. When a Royal approaches him on only his third day as a master at the Clockworker’s Guild, his life is turned upside down. Demons lurk in the underground and he has been assigned the task of leading the force against evil.
Seraphina has torn her wings from her body to save a lover’s soul, but he spurns her. Revenge blossoms, and she plots to make Hell her own and force humans to pay for what they took from her. Nothing will stop her, and her corruption runs soul deep.
Layel, a Pure Angel, has fallen for a human, and it’s almost cost him his wings. That is not the hardest task to face. He must convince a man to run a secret group to hunt demons as they’ve come out of Hell to hunt the humans. If he succeeds, he will then need to train them all.
Three souls that couldn’t be more different collide in unexpected ways as the Alliance of Silver and Steam is born, and the secrets of demons unleashed on the world.

 I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Rise of Silver and Steam is a prequel book to the Alliance of Silver and Steam series written by Lexi Ostrow. The series is a steampunk romance series that centers on demon hunters and their relationships. Some of the romances have to deal with humans and demons, but not all of them. This book centers on three different types of relationships: Seraphina’s fall from grace and rise in hell, Layel’s growing love and loyalty to humanity, and the marriage of the couple who will start the Alliance.

What I love about this book is that we get to see what made Seraphina fall. I actually love her as a character. She’s dark, twisted, and seductive. Lexi Ostrow makes great villains and Seraphina is one I love to know more about. Likewise, I loved learning how the Alliance came to be. Thomas and Audrey are a strong couple and a strong couple would have to be the ones to head a group of demon hunters.

Throughout the book we see Thomas and Audrey’s marriage go through hurtles. They are married very early on in the book and it is known that they may not love each other just yet. The marriage is of convienence and mutual respect. Their love is in danger in its infancy, but it is their own personal strength and the strength of them together that keeps them going.

Through all of this, Seraphina is pulling all the punches to destroy mankind.

See why I like this series? Ostrow weaves an interesting and intricate plot within an equally intricate world. Her world is what makes the story that much more interesting. And this book is the conception of her world in the other books of the series.

Now, for a little bit of characterization… Audrey is a strong, quiet woman. She deals with her own problems within herself before voicing them. Despite her own fears, she has the bravery to admit fault where fault is due. Thomas is a passionate man. He is very vocal about his opinions and has no problem setting a person straight; even if that person could imprison him. Layel is an angel who is a bit of both. He is passionate and loyal to his cause, but he tries to fight his own battles internally. It is through his connections with Thomas and Audrey that he begins to establish his own role in the world.

If you’re worried that you have to read this book before reading the others in the series; don’t be. You’re not going to get lost. You don’t have to read this first to understand the world. I personally saw this as a great introductory or even a flashback between the already awesomeness that is the Alliance of Silver and Steam. It is a must read for Lexi Ostrow fans. If you aren’t a fan, pick up one of her books soon.

Book 67 of 2015: The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark


As the sole assistant to a famous upscale interior designer, Lane Harmon, mother to five-year-old Katie, is accustomed to visiting opulent homes around the tri-state area. A born optimist, Lane finds the glimpse into these gilded worlds fascinating, and loves the reward of exceeding the expectations of their often-demanding owners. When she is called to assist in redecorating a modest townhouse in Bergen County, she knows the job is unusual. Then she learns the home belongs to the wife of a notorious and disgraced financier named Parker Bennett.
Parker Bennett has been missing for two years. He dropped out of sight just before it was discovered that the $5 billion dollars in the fund he had been managing had vanished. Bennett had gone out on his sailboat in the Caribbean. Was it suicide or had he staged his disappearance? The scandal around his name has not died down. His clients and the federal government all want to trace the money and find Bennett if he is still alive.
Lane is surprised to find herself moved by Mrs. Bennett’s calm dignity and apparently sincere belief in her husband’s innocence. Gradually, Lane finds herself drawn to Mark, the Bennetts’ son, who is similarly determined to prove that his father is not guilty. Lane doesn’t know that the closer she gets to the Bennetts, the more she puts her life―and her daughter’s life―in jeopardy.

Wanting to find a quick audio read, I checked out The Melody Lingers On from my app for my library’s e-audio collection. I had been having trouble finding a mystery or suspense book that resonated with me. Since, Mary Higgins Clark is a big name (quite literally if you notice her name is bigger than the titles of her books now), I thought I could do no wrong in choosing her. I had listened to another book of hers, but it wasn’t anything too spectacular.

This book was pretty much the same deal. There is little to no mystery. The FBI seem to fumble around trying to find evidence or having some personal mission to prove a character is bad. The main character(?) is a widowed single mother who gets pitted into this mess because she’s a love interest for Parker Bennet’s(the rich a-hole “bad guy”) son.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I put the question mark there, huh? Well, I’m not too sure if there is a main character. It’s more of an ensembled hodge podge of point of views equally separated. There are view splits where one scene is experienced again through another character. I didn’t care about this for mulitple reasons. In a list:

  • You aren’t sure who the main character is and it’s difficult to grow an attatchment.
  • You are seeing the viewpoint of even the “bad guy” or you realize who the real bad guy is because he’s the only frequent character without screentime.
  • Sentences are repeated like the author copied and pasted the text.
  • It seems the story couldn’t be as long without the extra and almost needless point of views.

So, you can see why I didn’t care for most of this book.

If that doesn’t bother you, The Melody Lingers On is a quick read. I wouldn’t say fast paced. It’s just quick because the wording and flow is a person talking. There isn’t much thought to the reading of this book. The suspense isn’t all there. I didn’t feel compelled to know what was going to happen next aside from the fact that I wanted to see all of the point of views converge. It was like a soap opera, in that respect.

All in all, it wasn’t as great as I would have liked, but it kept me occupied while I did my chores around the house. I was able to finish it (unlike a good many other audio books I checked out).

Book 66 of 2015: Lumiere’ by Jacqueline E. Garlick


One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.
After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum.
Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own.
Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same prize, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lumiere by Jacqueline E. Garlick is an adventure steampunk young adult series. There is magic, machines, horror elements, and mystery. Sure, it sounds like there is an identity crisis, but this book is a perfect mesh of these genres.

The world of the Commonwealth is a dark world. Expertly written, I felt like I was inside the world. I was with Eyelet, trying to find her father’s invention. I was with Urlick, fighting with himself to trust Eyelet with his secrets.

From the beginning, I was engrossed. I wanted to know more; to understand the world that Garlick invented. The first thing I noticed was the meshing of beliefs in the world. For instance, they are predominantly scientific in thought. However, they have superstitions. People accused of witchcraft have their throats slit, dipped in wax, and hanged. Garlick makes the Salem Witch Trials a walk in the park with that imagery.

Right from that scene, I knew that the horror elements were going to be there. I was going to be reading a book with grit and action.

Eyelet is an interesting character. She’s strong willed, intelligent, and has a smart ass humor to her. Urlick doesn’t look like a male lead, but he his own next to his enigmatic female counterpart. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with.

I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book. The pages couldn’t load up fast enough for me. I smiled whenever a disturbing moment appears in the book (I love being freaked out). I really liked this book.

If you love action, adventure, gears, steam, poisonous fog, crazed cannibals or even spectral monsters (yes, those too): this is your book. There is some romance too, but it takes a back seat to let the awesome seep through like a vapour.