Once A Soldier by Mary Jo Putney (ARC)

This is one of my guilty pleasures… Romance novels. Because who doesn’t like some steamy storyline once in a while? It’s a pretty undemanding genre that allows for some shifty timelines and cheeky sappy dialogue. Perfect reads for both warm summer days and cold winter nights.

I read all manner of romance, but my favorite are the ones that are stamped mystery/paranormal/crime/thriller/fantasy/sci-fi (well, you get my point) as they most often have a story built around the relationship(s) that intrigues me and keeps me on my toes but still give me steamy scenes and that tingly lovey-dovey feel. Nora Roberts is one author who does this combination beautifully. Now I’ve found another author who does this really well.

Once a Soldier is a historical romance (bonus points) that takes place at the end of Napoleons reign. Will Masterson take one last mission before he intends to retire from the war to manage his estate and title. A mission that takes him to the little mountain kingdom of San Gabriel where he meets Athena Markham, the foreigner who acts as a governess to the princess of said kingdom. Together they must find a way to keep San Gabriel’s enemies from invading, whilst also coming to terms with their mutual attraction.

I received this copy from the publisher (Kensington Books) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. To see the pretty cover for this book, check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond (ARC)

I haven’t read that many books with a circus as a backdrop and having read this I don’t understand why, because this book was entertainment of the highest trapeze. Suspenseful with a hint of darkness, but an easy read and quite lovely all together. I loved every minute of this!

It’s about a girl named Moira who dreams of becoming a great magician, performing intricate showy illusions in Las Vegas like her father. There’s one small hitch though. Her father is not keen on the idea of his beloved daughter following in his footsteps, in fact, he won’t even give her a chance to show her skills and shuts her down every time she tries. So, when an invitation to the great Cirque American lands by her feet by accident she takes her chance and who could blame her?

The Miraculous Moira gets a shot at her dream. Little does she know there might be a reason her father was so adamant about keeping her away from magic all these years. Any magic at all…

This book is a stand-alone, though technically Girl in the Shadows is the second book set in this world. The first book published was Girl on a Wire. In retrospect I would have read Girl on a Wire first, because this story’s somewhat based on the first one and both revolve around the same artefact. It made me very curious about Jules, Remy and Dita from Girl on a Wire who Moira befriends upon arriving to the Cirque American, and their adventure.

BUT! This does not diminish Girl in the Shadows at all! So, if you have a chance to read Girl in the Shadows? Take it! 🙂

I received this copy from the publisher (Amazon Skyscape) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. To see the beautiful cover for this book, check it out on Goodreads or Amazon. It’s gorgeous!

The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

DSC_5704-01

I had my doubts about this series. I’ve read part of a trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout a couple of years ago where I LOVED the first book, was a bit put off by the second and couldn’t stomach the third. Then, at this year’s book sale in February I found the first book in the Lux series in the bargain section. I’m glad I did decide to pick up something by this author again.

The Lux series is delightfully well-balanced with action, romance and moral conundrums. The big plus being the consistency in writing and story through book 1-4 and they’re a solid 4 stars so far. I find that sometimes the first couple of books in a series is usually the best and the rest just kind of…degrades. Rarely to the extent that the books are unreadable, but they’re often not as interesting as the first one(s). For example, the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton and the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling. I freaking love these three, but the first books in either series is just genius compared to the ones that came later.

The first book introduces Kat who’s just moved to West Virginia with her mother. Kat’s life so far revolves around books and blogging about them (bonus points, right there). Having lost her father to cancer and with a mother that’s trying to stay afloat, she’s learned to take care of herself in her everyday life. She’s basically do an infusion of tumult, of the infuriating but hot neighbor variety. It’s just her luck the disturbed neighbor and his friendly sister are aliens. With baggage. Suspicious, two-faced government baggage.

There are five books in total and I have the Kindle version of Opposition waiting for me to read. 🙂

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

DSC_0227 (2)

The author Rainbow Rowell is a recent addition in my bookshelves. I hadn’t read anything by her before Fangirl, but I’d heard lots about her and been bombarded by pictures of her books on Instagram. Particularly Fangirl and Eleanor & Park. So you could say this was purely an insta-buy for me. I don’t have that many Contemporaries among my books, but it’s a genre that I’m beginning to love.

Fangirl is about a girl named Cath that upon going to college gets stranded by her twin sister in her own dorm room with a girl who, well, is not someone who Cath normally hangs out with. Cath isn’t the outgoing girl who her sister is. So when she meets her roommate and her boy(?)friend she’s stumped.

She prefers writing and reading to partying and socializing. Her life with her sister has so far revolved around the Simon Snow series, but Wren has outgrown their fandom and decides to strike out on her own. Thus leaving Cath to find her way disentangling from a fictional world that she’s spent years submerged in; reading fan fiction, writing her own and investing her emotions wholeheartedly in. What happens when life starts intervening in Cath the Fangirl’s life?

I loved this book. Though to be honest I was in “inhale-mode” while reading it and finished it in a day, which this time resulted in me having mixed feelings about Fangirl. I thought it was a great read, but not awesome, you know? I needed to take a step back and let it sort itself out in the back of my mind. I don’t know why, but sometimes this happens to me. It all becomes this weird tangle of story and feels and I can’t really sort them out right away. This was one of those books that has grown in hindsight, from great to amazing.

Fangirl is such a wonderful book and you won’t be sorry for picking it up.

If you’ve read this book, please feel free to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. I would love to hear them!

Stephanie Perkins trilogy

Screenshot_2016-02-26-19-28-14

“Ah, to be young and feel the bitter sting of love.” – Dumbledore

I love this YA trilogy from Stephanie Perkins. It embodies the feeling of falling in love, to find that one person who’s made for you, your true love. I’m talking about true love, not true crush or serial love-ships, but that individual that you know to your core is the one for you. The thought of leaving doesn’t exist, through rain or shine. It’s the two of you; past, present and future.

Of course these stories are about finding that person, so it’s not all sunshine and cakes. It’s just like human nature – a roller coaster where feelings like fear, insecurities and doubts are in play with the good ones. The characters have to fight to get to terms with them, make mistakes. It’s what makes the relationships stronger. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a hopeless romantic. I love happy endings. This trilogy hit all my buttons. Oh yeah, if you like YA and romance, you won’t be disappointed.