Ellison lost her mother at an early age. But since then, her father has found love again. He's happy and doesn't quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her mean daughters. When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father's mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her freedom. Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother and stepsisters' every whim and fancy. Stumbling into a chance meeting of Prince William during a secret visit to her mother's grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival. But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince once more? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother? As Ellison's power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, she will have to decide whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.
***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***
What’s Good: How about the opening line for starters- “Blood. The blood of my enemies drips down my forearms, fleeing the confines of the spaces between my fingers, traveling toward freedom on the cold, stone floor.” Got your attention, yet?
This is a very imaginative twist on the fairytale. Everything old is new again in this one. There’s a few homages to the classic version of the tale, but ain’t no fairy godmothers floating around here. Nope- what comes to Ella’s aid is far more disturbing and best left undisturbed. Author F.M. Boughan cites researching historical texts and grimoires on necromancy, and it shows. Well done!
The necromancy comes into play as part of the struggle between Heaven and Hell, the forces of Good vs the armies of Evil. Ella’s struggles with what she’s doing and why are valid and believable. As her power grows, she thinks she’s come to terms with the price of it, but then she realizes that price is greater than she’s willing to pay. But will she be strong enough to do so anyway?
There’s several twists on the tale that’ll keep you involved; it’s like a full-on rendering of the original Brothers Grimm version- you know, with the sisters cutting off parts of their feet in order to fit the glass slipper and whatnot. Often gory and gruesome, this one ain’t for the faint of heart.
What’s Bad: Ella’s also a bit of a dunce. The author does a good job of putting you inside Ella’s head and making her feel like a vibrant, three-dimensional character, but too many times in the story she never bothered to question anything or stop to consider the consequences of her actions. She’s got a book of demonology/necromancy in her hands, but never bothers to read any further than what she needs to get what she wants yet always wonders about the dangers of abusing such power… maybe ya ought to flip a few pages ahead and find out???
She’s constantly skulking about the house trying to sneak around her new stepmother and siblings trying to learn things, only to bump, bang into or trip over something, leading to another Steve Erkel moment, “…oh, did *I* do that?!?” After a while you can pretty much see when they’re coming up.
There’s a few WTF moments in the plot that threaten to derail things. The night Ella’s father disappears he gives her something before he leaves- literally placing it in her hand. Does she look at it right away?- no. When does she look at it? Right after she sneaks out of the house in the dead of night, crawls under the locked main gate, runs all the way through the village to her mother’s grave, calls out to her mother’s spirit, meets a mysterious stranger who protects her from some Things That Go Bump In The Night, and sees her back to the village. Only after she’s safely home again after all that does she actually OPEN HER HAND to see what it was her father gave her. *facepalm*
The disappearance of Ella’s father made almost as much sense as all that did. For storytelling purposes he had to be out of the picture, sure, but… his reasons made no sense. It’s the usual “I had to leave to protect you” nonsense, except that he’s the one who created the problem in the first place by marrying Celia and knew full well what was going on, so clearly the best solution was to leave a bunch of people- including his own children- who’ve no idea about any of it at the tender mercies of some seriously malicious individuals and hope for the best. *double facepalm*
What’s Left: an entertaining, if flawed, work that you’ll enjoy reading. If all the Fairy Tale Re-imaginings are starting to get stale to you, this one’ll be a bit of fresh air.
The Carolina Cold Fury hockey team is stacked with hotshots. But when a new player joins their ranks, he learns that even superstars can’t go it alone when it comes to love.
Lucas Fournier is only serious about one thing: hockey. The league’s fun-loving charmer, Luc is always up for a good prank or a great lay, and he has no intention of settling down. But being traded to the Carolina Cold Fury—and to play alongside his big brother, Max—is no joke. With another title in sight, the last thing Luc wants is to let his new teammates down. To succeed, Luc will need to keep his head in the game and the most . . . er, demanding member of his anatomy in check. But when temptation hits, Luc hits back harder.
Museum curator Stephanie Frazier has always put business before pleasure, which just about explains her nonexistent sex life. But when Stephanie meets Luc at a champagne-fueled gala, she finds herself flirting like crazy—and going home with the uninhibited athlete. For one night, she learns what passion is all about. She just never counted on the little surprise Luc leaves behind. And that’s when things really start to get . . . interesting.
Sawyer Bennett’s New York Times bestselling Carolina Cold Fury series can be read together or separately.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33593824-lucas
Purchase Lucas (Cold Fury, Book #8):
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2iWNW3m
Lucas by Sawyer Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is book #8, in the Cold Fury Hockey series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. To avoid spoilers, and for complete understanding of this sexy series - I recommend reading this series in order.
Stephanie is working in an interim position. At a major charity event, she meets someone who can change her whole life. If she has the courage to let him in.
Lucas meets Stephanie at an event. He is drawn to her immediately. They do not really have much in common. But neither can stay away....
This book makes me wish there are more starts to give. I really enjoyed reading this story, and it is an excellent add to the Cold Fury series. I literally laughed, while I cried reading this amazingly sexy book. I found the characters real, and very fun.
***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publisher in exchange for an honest review.
View all my reviews
About the Author:
Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released multiple books, many of which have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.
Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active daughter, as well as full-time servant to her adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or even better, both.
Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe.
Connect with Sawyer:
Sign up for Sawyer’s newsletter: http://sawyerbennett.com/signup/
“You're sleeping on the couch,” Willow said for the fifth time in as many minutes as she and Zane left their suite. He was busy texting, and she wasn’t sure he was even listening anymore. He used to be such a great listener. When they were younger, he’d never acted like he was above her, despite the fact that he was the star quarterback, lead pitcher, and eventually the prom king, and she was two years behind and as awkward as a foal on new legs.
“Are you listening to me?” she asked as they walked down the hall.
“Yes. I just got confirmation. You’re catering breakfasts for the set. Cool?”
“Yes, perfect. But did you hear what I said?”
She had almost backed out of their deal twice since she’d accepted. First when she’d seen the king-size bed, which really drove home their situation, and again when Zane had whipped off his shirt to change and her sex-starved body had buzzed to life. She was still a little nervous about the whole thing, mostly due to that second issue, but she felt a certain obligation to help him. Regardless of how arrogant he was, she’d never forget how tender he’d been with her when she’d given her almost-eighteen-year-old self over to him, and he was a true friend, even if they had a weird friendship. The truth was, even if he hadn’t done her that favor before college, she would have agreed to his plan. She liked him despite his insatiable appetite for women. He was everything she loved in a person and more. He was confident and funny, direct and thoughtful, and honest when it counted. Painfully honest. The exposure for Sweetie Pie Bakery was just the icing on the fake-fiancée cake. What a difference national exposure could make.
Zane shoved his phone in his pocket. “Yes. Sleeping on the couch. Got it. But you can’t blame a guy for trying.”
She laid her best damn-right-I-can stare on him and pushed the button for the elevator.
“Fine. I’ll behave. Jesus, Wills, you’re never this uptight when I visit.”
“You mean that five minutes twice a year?” Willow remembered how happy he’d been when he’d finally left town to pursue his dream of being an actor. He’d been bursting at the seams for a bigger life. But her “five minutes” comment wasn’t really fair. He never missed Ben’s birthday, and he almost always made it back for a few days over the holidays, even though his parents had moved to Florida right after he’d graduated from high school and left town. He’d been back a few other times when he was filming nearby. Even though she rarely saw him, their texts—and the fact that he was her first real love, even if he didn’t know it—had kept him in the forefront of her mind. Unfortunately, it also kept her heartbreak pretty close to the surface, no matter how deep she tried to bury it.
The Real Thing by Melissa Foster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Willow & Zane are the best of friends. He just has no idea how she feels about him. They have some seriously hot history. Now he needs her to help him out.
Zane tricks Willow into being a part of a charade. Be fake-engaged to me? Sure, like it is hard to pretend to be crazy about a guy she is head over heels for.
This is such an achingly sweet story with a real sexy twist. I absolutely loved it! I feel like this is the author's best work so far. I am excited to read more from the new Sugar Lake series.
***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publisher.
View all my reviews
Are you reading the right September books? Make sure the following titles find their way to your September reading schedule, and if you're in doubt check out the reviews from BookLikes bloggers below.
Out: September 5, 2017
Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale. At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone―has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother... more
Pitched as a feminist retelling, "Girls Made of Snow and Glass", doesn't disappoint in the least. Told in the alternative pov's of Mina, the stepmother Queen and Lynet, the snow Princess, this is a story that most surely will stay with the reader long after its read... What if there was more to the "tale" of the "evil" stepmother and her "naive" stepdaughter? What if there was a story of trying to break with one's past and one's sorrow? What if you only wanted to be loved, but never quite achieved that? How would you turn out with people trying to make a puppet out of you? This is the story of two women both trying to find out their true natures in a grey world . A world of snow and cold. And of bitter family ties... continue reading on the Susana "Lost in Fantasy Land" blog
Out: September 5, 2017
A modern American epic set against the panorama of contemporary politics and culture—a hurtling, page-turning mystery that is equal parts The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the Vanities.
On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons... more
This is some serious, epic Greek tragedy. At its heart is the question of “Can a man be both good and evil?” and yet it is also about the role of the storyteller and the unmasking of America. As always, his wordplay is a twisty, tangled delight, filled with a myriad of literary and cinematic references that gladdened the heart of this lifelong reader girl and degree holder of a Masters in Film Theory.
This is a long book, over the top in many ways, but so so clever. I was totally caught up in the lives of the Golden family – Nero and his three sons all cloaked in mystery that the intrepid Réné is hellbent on unraveling for his own artistic pursuits. And so, the narrator becomes part of the story... read more on the author Tellulah Darling's blog ->
Out: September 5, 2017
Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise... more
Out: September 5, 2017
Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications... more
What surprised me most about the book was how beautiful the language is. Le Carré writes with clarity and precision, capturing nuances of speech, thought and culture with deft touches that are evocative without being obtrusive. He moves skillfully from past to present, from lie to truth, from regret to rage, in a way that fully engaged my mind and my emotions. The premise of the book is a present day investigation into British security operations during the Cold War. It is told through contemporary interrogations by a rather loathsome lawyer, extracts from official, secret but not necessarily truthful records and intensely intimate memories of the retired spy from whose point of view the story is told. This is a strong spy story, full of intrigue and deception and betrayal but those are really just the vehicle for the true heart of the novel... continue reading on the Audio Book Junkie blog ->
Out: September 5, 2017
Thirty-six major contemporary writers examine life in a deeply divided America—including Anthony Doerr, Ann Patchett, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Hector Tobar, Joyce Carol Oates, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Russo, Eula Bliss, Karen Russell, and many more.
America is broken. You don’t need a fistful of statistics to know this. Visit any city, and evidence of our shattered social compact will present itself. From Appalachia to the Rust Belt and down to rural Texas, the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest stretches to unimaginable chasms. Whether the cause of this inequality is systemic injustice, the entrenchment of racism in our culture, the long war on drugs, or immigration policies, it endangers not only the American Dream but our very lives... more
Out: September 12, 2017
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community... more
Celeste Ng just raised the bar for everyone else. Litte Fires Everywhere upended my expectations - not with a plot twist or anything so flashy, but about halfway through the story she's writing suddenly becomes clear. In talking about books with friends, or with people at the store, I realize I can be overly critical about the things that I read. Even with a book I enjoyed I'll find a nagging fault, whether its overuse of certain words, a clunky character, convenient plot devices, a problem with pacing - something - to the extent that I wonder if I can even find a book that is simply a pleasure to read. Reading Little Fires Everywhere was like finally getting a good night's rest. The perfect read does exist, for me this was it.... continue reading on the Books Read, Not Necessarily Well blog ->
Out: September 12, 2017
International bestselling author Ken Follett has enthralled millions of readers with The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, two stories of the Middle Ages set in the fictional city of Kingsbridge. The saga now continues with Follett’s magnificent new epic, A Column of Fire.
In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and love. Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious conflict dividing the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England...more
Out: September 12, 2017
Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family. Forever. Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden... more
OHMYGOODNESS this book was 10/10 and I am so in love and I need the sequel now and you need to read it now. It's kind of like Divergent meets Ender's Game, and if anyone loved the Remnants series as much as I did, I have a feeling the sequels could have the same amount of philosophy.
And I could not put it down.
So nyxia is a substance found on another planet that can be manipulated in many ways, and that gives this book a fantastical element. But a realistically fantastical element. Like sci-fi with a bit of magical realism thrown in. It makes for a really unique plot that, though it incorporated elements of other books I've loved, was different to anything I've read before in many ways... continue reading on The Dilemma of Reading blog ->
Out: September 12, 2017
Lisbeth Salander is an unstoppable force: Sentenced to two months in Flodberga women's prison for saving a young boy's life by any means necessary, Salander refuses to say anything in her own defence. She has more important things on her mind.
Mikael Blomkvist makes the long trip to visit every week - and receives a lead to follow for his pains. For him, it looks to be an important expose for Millennium. For her, it could unlock the facts of her childhood.
Even from a corrupt prison system run largely by the inmates, Salander will stand up for what she believes in, whatever the cost. And she will seek the truth that is somehow connected with her childhood memory, of a woman with a blazing birthmark on her neck... more
Out: September 12, 2017
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy... more
A sci-fi book about a game that is part of everyday life AND written by Marie Lu, sign me in! I was way too excited about this book and I almost broke my phone when I get the e-mail saying I got the galley. Warcross is more than just a game, it is a way of live and is part of everyone's daily life. Emika Chen is an orphan with rainbow hair (that detail was too cool not to be mentioned) who is trying to earn some money by tracking down illegal players. But her life is about to change completely. The idea of Warcross is amazing, not that it has never been done before, but I liked how it was handled. I am almost sure that this kind of game will happen someday and we may be closer to it than we think... continue reading on the Line Bookaholic blog ->
Out: September 19, 2017
When anything can be owned, how can we be free. Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane. Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand... more
Out: September 19, 2017
Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life. Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart. At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela. But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos... more
Once upon a time I read a Patrick Ness book, and it pissed me off so much I threw it across the room. In the years that have followed he has since published numerous books that have sparked my interest, but I always ended up giving them a pass - first impressions matter. When I managed to get my hands on an advance copy of this book (Thank you, Harper!) I was dubious, but curious. I'm so glad my curiosity won out - this is one of my favorite reads so far this year... continue reading on the Folding Paper & Spilling Ink blog ->
And what are you September picks?