Series I Need to Start

There are a lot of series I need to finally start. I have the first books from various series just sitting there on my shelf. Let me know in the comments which one of these I should definitely read next!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

1. We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1) by Hafsah Faizal

we hunt the flame by hafsah faizal
Picture from Goodreads. Buy on Amazon.

Goodreads rating: 3.8/5

This is one of those books that was inside one of my book subscription boxes. I don’t even know which one, because it was so long ago. It has decent reviews on Goodreads, but I just haven’t had the time.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

2. The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

city of brass book one of the daevabad trilogy by s.a. chakraborty
Picture from Goodreads. Buy on Amazon.

Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

I’ve heard so many great things about this one. It has been recommended to me over and over by all Fantasy lovers, but somehow I’ve put off starting it. I’ve seen the excited posts on Instagram from those finally getting their copies of the third book in the series The Empire of Gold, which was just released June 11th.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

3. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

Picture from Goodreads. Buy on Amazon.

Goodreads rating: 4.25/5

I know, I know, have I been living under a rock? Somehow I grew up with Harry Potter and not Percy Jackson. Now that the new T.V series is about to be released, I really need to get to reading these.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

4. The Bromance Book Club (The Bromance Book Club, #1)

the bromance book club #1 by lyssa kay adams
Picture from Goodreads. Buy on Amazon.

Goodreads rating: 3.95/4

I’ve had friends who have read this one and really enjoyed it. I need to start it soon when I’m in one of my light romance moods. The reason I put a lot of these series off is because I’m a major mood reader and I have to be in the right kind of mood.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

5. Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

ninth house alex stern #1 by leigh bardugo
Picture from Goodreads. Buy on Amazon

Goodreads rating: 4.07/5

I love Bardugo’s YA/Fantasy series, so when I saw she was publishing an Adult/ Fantasy I pre-ordered it immediately. I then decided not to read it due to some trigger warnings about rape. I had a friend who read it some time later and she said that the rape scene was not too descriptive and it was necessary to the story. The book has been sitting on my shelf since then, and it probably will be until Bardugo announces a sequel, because she has so much on her plate that I doubt she has even written one.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

6. Get a Life Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1) by Talia Hibbert

get a life chloe brown by talia hibbert
Picture from Goodreads. Buy on Amazon.

Goodreads rating: 3.85/5

I recently added this series to my TBR after reading some glowing reviews on Instagram. I really like the premise of the story, and that the main character Chloe makes a list that she thinks will help her “get a life.” I’m interested to see if she will follow through with her list. The second book in the series Take a Hint Dani Brown was just released June 23. I hope I can catch up with this one soon.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

One of Us is Lying

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

one of us is lying by karen m mcmanus

Author: Karen M. McManus

Series: One of Us is Lying, #1

Published: March 30, 2017

Pages: 361

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Mini Review:

This was a very fast paced and entertaining read. It had me guessing who the killer was for a while. I also really enjoyed the audio book because it’s voiced by four different characters. It was interesting learning about the story from different perspectives, and not knowing what kind of information was being withheld from me. It was also refreshing and fun having four unreliable narrators.

My favorite character was Nate, I loved his humor and the way he handled the cards he was dealt in life. I also thought Addy had a very impressive character arch, and she went from being one of my least favorite characters to my favorite at the end. I highly recommend this book to fans of books such as A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and YA/Thriller/ Mystery fans. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, One of Us is Next, which was published January 7, 2020.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂

The Boyfriend Project

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the boyfriend project by farrah rochon
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Farrah Rochon

Series: The Boyfriend Project, #1

Publishes: June 9, 2020 (Book of the Month early release)

ISBN: 1538716623

Synopsis from Goodreads:

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

My Mini Review:

I think the world would be a better place if more people reached out to help others.”

I really wanted to love this book. I thought the whole boyfriend project idea was a nice concept and I was excited that there would be more books about the other women involved in the story. It gave me a lot of Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test vibes, and I loved those books. But by the middle of the book, the story became annoying and repetitive. The characters still couldn’t make up their minds about whether they should date or not, and by the time they did the relationship and feelings felt rushed and unrealistic.

With that said, I did enjoy the developing friendship between the three women, and the fact that they were supportive of each other’s decisions and accomplishments. I liked that they were not catty and did not bring each other down; despite having met under such unusual circumstances such as being cheated on by the same man. Rochon also successfully tackled hard issues such as racism, sexism, and discrimination in schools and in the work place. I also enjoyed the criminal aspects of the story, as well as learning about coding and app development. Overall, this was an okay read and I would recommend it if you are looking for a light romantic escape, but don’t go in expecting anything new or life changing.

This was my first Book of the Month pick. If you want to try out Book of the Month for $10 including shipping, consider using my affiliate link. I get a free book credit every time someone signs up with my code 😊

https://www.mybotm.com/a2308v5zzsm?show_box=true

If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂

Serpent and Dove

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

serpent and dove by shelby mahurin
Serpent and Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Published: September 3, 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

Series: Serpent and Dove, #1

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

My review:

In her deeply captivating debut novel, Mahurin explores themes such as parental abandonment, survival, and religious zealotry. Having failed to read the synopsis or any information about this book before I began listening to a sample of the audio, I received two happy surprises right away. The first one was that one of my favorite narrators, Holter Graham, is the voice of Reid. The second was that this story includes the “enemies to lovers” trope, one of my favorites, and in this one the characters are actually forced to marry each other.

I started listening to a sample of the audio book and it was over way too soon. Naturally, I ended up spending one of my audible credits on the full book right away. Therein ensued a battle between having to live my life and absolutely having to listen to the book at all times. The plot was fast paced and engrossing. The magic system was fascinating, and I enjoyed the clash between the witches and the Church. The romance aspect of the story was not rushed, and the slow build-up filled me with anticipation.

Lou quickly moved up to the top of the list of my favorite heroines. I found her to be a strong and compelling main character. Reid’s efforts to keep Lou contained were very endearing. He soon figured out that there is not “handling” or “controlling” Lou, she was an unstoppable force of nature. He lovingly called her a “heathen” in his head. I did admire his stubbornness which sometimes bordered on pigheadedness, and his knack for being loyal to a fault. Coco and Ansel were my favorite side characters. Both of them fierce and loyal companions to our main characters.

Serpent and Dove is a 2019 Goodreads choice nominee. The next book in the series, Blood and Honey, is set to be published August 31, 2020. I honestly cannot wait to see how Mahurin ties the loose ends she left at the end of Serpent and Dove, and I also wish for more background and scenes including Ansel and Coco. I recommend this book to all YA/ Fantasy fans who love a good mix of magic and romance.

Ivory

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Ivory by Lola Dodge
Ivory by Lola Dodge

Author: Lola Dodge

Series: Manhattan Ten, #1

Published: October 22, 2019

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

If Ivory’s fellow flight attendants whisper that she has ice in her veins, they’d be right. She’s spent years ruthlessly suppressing her dangerous ice powers, pretending she didn’t grow up wild on the tundra.

Her legendary coolness has held solid—until a crazed attacker snaps her composure, unleashing her ice beast and blowing her cover. And she’s not sure if the man who defuses the situation is any less dangerous.


When Panther’s trans-Atlantic catnap is interrupted by Ivory’s ice spear through his mark’s gut, he doesn’t hesitate to claim her as one of the Manhattan Ten. It’s the only way to shield her from prosecution. It doesn’t hurt that the Nordic beauty puts his inner cat on the prowl.

Panther tempts Ivory in every smoldering way, but to let him melt her resistance is a risk she can’t afford. But when her past rises up to claim her, Pan is caught in the crossfire…and the only way to save him is to let the beast claim her, body and soul.

Disclaimer: I was given a free review copy of this book via Netgalley and INscribe Digital, the Publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

My Mini Review:

This story was fast paced and to the point like a novella should be, but without leaving any major plot holes. I enjoyed the introduction to this group of “Supers” who have familiar super powers such as mind reading, shifting, and ice, but yet their story is told in a new and futuristic setting. I loved the modern take on Super heroes, as well as the adult romantic aspect of it. I enjoyed the chemistry and slow building romance between Ivory and Jag. Even in a novella, the romantic aspect did not feel rushed which is always a plus.

The book was short enough to read in one sitting, and there was enough action and suspense to keep me hooked throughout. There was a serial killer involved, which offered a very interesting and unique twist on the super hero trove. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in this series, and finding out more about the other Supers and what their stories are. Mostly, I want to figure out who the killer is. I would recommend this novella to all Adult Fantasy readers who enjoy a quick, fast paced, action packed read.

Warning: This book includes explicit sexual content.

Darkdawn

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

dark dawn by jay kristoff
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Thomas Dune Books

Series: The Nevernight Chronicles, #3

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A ruthless young assassin’s journey for revenge comes to a stunning end in the conclusion of this acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy.

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?

Fear was Can’t. Fear was Won’t. But fear wasn’t ever a choice. To never fear was to never hope. Never love. Never live…Part of having is the fear of losing. Part of creating is the fear of it breaking. Part of beginning is the fear of your ending. Fear is never a choice… But letting it rule you is.”

Darkdawn

My Mini Book Review:

I’m doing a mini book review on this because there is no way I can put ALL my thoughts about this series into coherent sentences. How do I review a series like this one? These books made me cry tears of happiness, of sadness, frustration, and despair. In short, they made me feel everything a good series should.

I did pick Darkdawn up a couple of times to read it in September, but I ended up putting it down twice. First, I did not expect the religious aspect of the books to take center stage in the story, and that is always a turn-off for me. Second, I read so many dark books in September that I felt like I needed some happiness in my life. I finally got my hands on the audio version (the narrator Holter Graham does an amazing job), and this helped me get through it. Once I got through most of the setting up part, I could not stop listening.

I loved all the characters in these books. I fell in love with all their stories and I was proud of their growth throughout. I came to respect Mia and her strength and perseverance, and how she was set on revenge, but not willing to cross certain moral lines. I liked the side stories, the humor, the colorful cursing, and yes even the footnotes. I’m sad that this series has come to an end, and I cannot wait to see what Kristoff comes up with next. If you are a fan of dark Fantasy, read these!

The Monsters of Music

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

The Monsters of Music by Rebecca F. Kenney
The Monsters of Music

Author: Rebecca F. Kenney

Publishes: October 30, 2019

Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing

ISBN: 1693557754

**If you want to buy this book, please consider clicking on the link above and supporting a fellow blogger at no additional cost to you**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A darkly romantic gender-swapped modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, with a scarred Muse girl, a rock-star boy, and a singing competition. For fans of The Wicked Deep (Ernshaw), Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones), American Idol, or The Voice.

Mel must share her creative magic or be driven mad by it. But finding her first protégé isn’t as easy for her as it is for most Lianhan Sídhe (muses of Celtic myth). Though the women of her race are naturally beautiful, she carries horrifying scars across one side of her face, inflicted by her mother’s obsessive boyfriend. And Mel isn’t only interested in pouring her creative energy into a man; she wants to use her musical genius herself, too. But the laws of the Lianhan Sídhe, and her own savage appearance, stand in the way of her ever singing onstage.

To relieve the painful pressure of her magic, Mel latches onto Kiyoji, a boy with a beautiful voice, and coaches him through a televised singing competition. But neither of them are prepared for the power of their connection, or for the new kind of magic that happens when the two of them sing together.

Fans of Holly Black’s contemporary fantasy books (Tithe, Valiant) or Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely will enjoy this dark, offbeat retelling with a hint of cyberpunk and a dose of Celtic mythology. The novel celebrates a broad range of music from various decades.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

My Review:

I was a bit hesitant to read this book, because in the past I hadn’t enjoyed other books where the author attempted to mix music into the story (Example: “Wintersong” by S. Jae-Jones, which this book kept getting compared to). I should also say that I’ve never read or seen Phantom of the Opera. But I should not have worried, because the musical aspect in this book blended seamlessly into the story. Maybe it was the more modern setting, the simple precise wording, or the well-known songs that are mentioned, but I really enjoyed the blend of magic and music and I found the story very unique and alluring.

I liked reading the book through all the different points of views. It’s mainly told through Mel’s POV, but it switches to Kiyo, and many of the others as well. Each character had their own unique voice and perspective, and I could always tell when a new point of view was introduced. I liked that Mel was a flawed main character, and that we get to see her change and evolve throughout. Her dark side was a good contrast to Kiyo’s naivete and innocence. Also, the love aspect between Mel and Kiyo did not feel rushed. There was no “insta-love,” and they took their time getting to know each other. My favorite character was Prince, the cat.

I found the miscommunication between the characters in the middle of the story a bit annoying. It was at a point in the story where I felt there was already enough conflict going on, and I kept thinking “Just talk to each other!” Also, there were some unanswered questions and small plot holes when it came to the magic system. I don’t do spoilers, but there is something that happens as a result of Mel using her magic, and I was waiting for a good explanation but never got one.

The world building was well done. I could definitely picture this old school and its many rooms and passages in my mind’s eye as I was reading. The characters were well described, and I felt like I had a good grasp on what they all looked like. Overall, this was a great fast paced read, and I would recommend it to all Fantasy/ YA fans looking for a great story full of enthralling magic, music, and a new modern take on Phantom of the Opera.

The Whisper Man

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the whisper man by alex north

Author: Alex North

Publisher: Celadon Books

Published: August 20, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Sometimes writing can help heal you.”

The Whisper Man

My Review:

This was the perfect spooky October read. The creepy factor wasn’t helped by the fact that I listened to the audio book on my way home from work every night at three in the morning. My road home is sparsely lit and full of ominous trees casting shadows on the road. By the time I finally parked on my driveway and pressed pause there were usually goosebumps up my arms, and I was reluctant to walk into my dark home. I admit the raspy voice the narrator makes for the “whispers” he hears really freaked me out.

I really enjoyed the suspense in this book. I listened to it on my way to work as well, and it was hard to stop listening once I arrived. I wouldn’t call it an action-packed book, but it definitely had its thrilling moments, and it had other moments when I found myself wanting to scream at the characters. It was like I was watching a scary movie, I kept saying things like “Don’t do that!” like the characters could somehow hear me.

I liked the different points of views in the story. It worked really well to be able to see the investigation and action develop from the minds of all the characters involved. I especially enjoyed getting into the mind of the killer, it’s always interesting to see what motivates people to commit these kinds of heinous acts.

My favorite character was Jake, the little kid. I felt like his thought process and narrative was so genuine and realistic for a child his age. I also liked how smart and bright he was, he reminded me of my own kid. I recommend this book to all Suspense/ Thriller fans. It was the perfect read to get into the October mood.

Red, White and Royal Blue

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Author: Casey McQuiston 

Published: May 14, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

ISBN: 1250316774/9781250316776

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramablefriendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Maybe there’s more than one dream for you, or more than one way to get there.

June

My Review:

This book was absolutely hilarious. The puns, the analogies and the wit had me laughing out loud the whole time. I kept see this book everywhere on social media alongside raving reviews. I’m happy I finally decided to read it. I also liked the historical background of the story, as well as all the letters from previous gay men and women in history that were provided. I enjoyed the idea that this type of political change could ever be possible in the United States as well as England. Mostly, I would love to live to see the day when there is a sitting female President of the United States.

I kind of fell in love with Prince Henry. I believe this was inevitable because his character is so likeable, and Alex’s descriptions of Henry were so full of affection…eventually. At first, they’re mortal enemies, and this enemies to lovers trope is also one of my favorites. I liked Alex as well, although his personality was a bit too much at times, which I think he was also aware of which helped a bit. I could also have done with a bit less angst, pining, and introspective musings from both of them. I did love all of Alex’s Harry Potter references, he took “The Prisoner of Azkaban” with him on one of the flights and I was in love with him too then 🙂

Not only did I love Henry and Alex’s relationship, I also really enjoyed how they interacted with June, Nora, Pez, and Bea. My favorite minor character was June, I liked how down to earth and supportive she was. Another minor negative for me was I thought the ending was a bit dragged out and I could’ve done without a lot of that. This book had me wishing we actually lived in a world where political changes like this could be possible, it had me thinking maybe they are within our reach. Love is love. 

A bit of a warning, the sex scenes were not SUPER explicit but there were some details mentioned as well as a lot of language used. It’s not as much detail as I’ve encountered in other books, but it’s there, so be warned. I apologize for how many times I wrote the word “love” in this review I just really really enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a feel-good Contemporary Romance, I highly recommend this one.

The Institute

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

My bookstagram

Author: Stephen King

Publication date: September 10, 2019

Publisher: Scribner

ISBN: 1982110562

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

My Review:

No one writes like Stephen King. The characters in this book all had great character arches, even the minor ones. King can weave a whole backstory, and establish a unique personality for each one of his characters with only a few carefully worded sentences. Each character had a purpose and they were all somehow interconnected.

Luke was a great kid, he reminded me a lot of my own kid, so bright and kind and full of life. My favorite side characters were Kalisha and Nicky, but I did love all the kids. I felt for them. Now that I’m a mother of two I find that this happens to me more and more with stories involving children and I have been avoiding them, but I will endure anything for a good Stephen King story.

This story had me in the literal edge of my seat. It got my foot tapping, my breath catching, and my heart racing, like only a good thriller can. My only negative was that I felt like all this action and suspense was building up to something monumental, but the actual ending felt a bit anticlimactic. But to me it’s about the journey, not the ending, and the journey was amazing. I recommend this book to all Stephen King fans, old and new, and anyone that wants to read a good thriller/suspense.