Apr 21, 2018

Spotlight & Excerpt: Over Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellison

Hi there! Today on the blog, we have something different and exciting -- a spotlight and excerpt on a book all about awesome, badass lady pirates, courtesy of author Jennifer Ellison! So without further ado, let's get into it!

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Title: Over Raging Tides
Author: Jennifer Ellison
Publisher: Kindle
eBook, 239 Pages
Published March 2018



Summary: The pirate crew of the Lady Luck lives by many rules, but chief among them is this: they do not allow men on board. That’s a rule that quartermaster Grace Porter is willing to break when a shipwrecked young nobleman offers her information of an omniscient map, stolen from his warship by an enemy vessel. Until now, the map was only the stuff of legend… but with its help, Grace may finally be able to hunt down the Mordgris, the sea monsters who stole her mother away from her. Unfortunately, some members of her crew have other plans...To find the map and face the Mordgris, Grace will have to confront her past, put the Luck between warring nations, and uncover treachery aboard the ship. And ultimately, her revenge and the destruction of the Mordgris will come at a hefty price: the betrayal of her crew. Grace promised them they wouldn’t regret this. She just isn’t sure that she won’t.

EXCERPT

“Leave him!” The captain’s voice is a hoarse shriek echoing over the waters. The crew on her longboat release startled grunts as she darts to the side of the longboat. “Grace! I said, leave him.”

My jaw hardens. I won’t. 

I’m closer to the door and the boys, and that counts for something.  Despite the Mordgris’s speed, I make it there first. 

“Help me up,” I demand. Wordlessly, the older boy complies, dark eyes wide, and I scrabble back on my hindquarters, tugging at my belt, just in time.

My pistol wavers as I level it at the Mordgris’s head. The threat is meaningless. The gunpowder is wet, rendering the gun useless, but I chance that the Mordgris know only that these objects kill. That they’d work just as well to blow away their gods-be-damned heads as mortal ones. 

I swallow hard, never having been this close to one before. It’s wholly unsettling to feel seen and held in a gaze when a creature’s eyes are consumed by the pitch black of a night sky. The Mordgris has gray skin, stretched tight over cartilage where a nose should be. Its teeth are rows upon rows of needles as it hisses at me, backing away, webbed claws raised as it sinks into the water. My hands are shaking, but I don’t dare lower my weapon until I can no longer see its silver sheen beneath the water.

Only then do I holster it.
“Thank you,” comes the voice behind me, and I start. Locked in a silent battle of wills with the Mordgris --- who would attack or withdraw first? --- I had nearly forgotten the boys that had spurred me to action in the first place.

“Don’t thank me yet,” I reply grimly. Captain Ilene’s crew rows toward us, her eyes murderous.

We have plenty of rules on the Lady Luck. But chief among them is this:

We don’t take men on-board.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Ellision was born and raised in South Florida and lives in perpetual fear of temperatures below 60F. She spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn't find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. 
*If you sign up for her newsletter, you get a free short story!

We'd like to thank author Jennifer Ellison for being awesome enough to reach out and allow us to do this spotlight post! This book seems super awesome and badass, so if it isn't on your TBR yet, it definitely should be!

Interested in learning more about the book? Click on the Goodreads link above!


Apr 20, 2018

Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson


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Title: Truly Devious
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Hardcover, 416 Pages
Published January 2018


Summary: Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place" he said, "where learning is a game." Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

I've been a Maureen Johnson fan (both her writing and her Twitter account) for the longest time, so, needless to say, when I found out about Truly Devious, I automatically knew I wanted to read this book. I mean, a creepy, disturbing murder occurring at a secluded boarding school and then trying to be solved by a student there? I'm a huge dark mystery fan, so this book seemed like it was right up my alley. And trust me, once I started reading, I realized that it really was. I absolutely tore through this book and I couldn't put it down, because I kept wanting to know what would happen next. This book seriously hooks you and doesn't let you go -- just like the tantilizing Ellingham mystery.

I really enjoyed Stevie's character -- she was definitely my favorite in the book. She was quiet and curious, mysterious and also really intelligent and sarcastic in a way that only Maureen can write characters -- I don't know if this is just speculation or not, but I definitely saw traces of her humor in Stevie! Speaking of humor, I also really liked Nate's sarcastic, dry humor. There were several times while I was reading that I had to stop and take pictures of some of the lines in the book that made me laugh out loud and I absolutely had to share them with my boyfriend. Maureen also threw in some personal jokes that made sense after having followed her on Twitter for so long, like Stevie's parents supporting a "racist, fascist bigot" and a few mentions about the Zodiac Killer, which was a possible nod to her hilarious Tweets about Ted Cruz.

Something else that I really enjoyed about this book was the way that there were so many different elements and mysteries that were unfolding at the same time without feeling overwhelming or confusing. Not only was Stevie trying to figure out the Ellingham case, but she was also trying to figure out Hayes and David and Ellie and all of her new friends. And how life worked at Ellingham. And clues for each different curiosity slowly started to pop up, and eventually there was a lot going on in this book, but all of it hooks you in without seeming crazy or confusing -- it's hard to explain without reading the book yourself, but it just works.

I really liked the alternating stories in the present and the past that also took place. This book has two "points of view", so to speak, even though it's told entirely in third person -- in some chapters, you are peeking through back at what happened at Ellingham when the case occurred. And in others, you are witnessing Stevie navigate life at Ellingham in the present. The contrasts and the similarities are interesting to witness, as well as knowing some personal, first-hand events about the case that Stevie may not have necessarily known or experienced herself while trying to solve the mystery. It's a nice way of keeping the reader in the know all the time, and I really enjoyed exploring that.

There was absolutely nothing I disliked about this book. I have nothing to say in the critique department, because this book was great and I'm already starting to push it on everyone I know, because it's just that good. And the ending left me with so many eager questions that I can't wait to have explored in the sequel!

And you guys. There were seriously so many plot twists in this book that I wasn't expecting and it made the story all the more gripping and I seriously sat down all day and read over 300 pages in one sitting just because I couldn't stop flipping the pages!

Overall, I absolutely loved Truly Devious. I couldn't put this book down, and the mystery captivated me from start to finish. If you're looking for a chilling mystery to capture your attention, this book is definitely perfect for you. Put this book on your TBR immediately -- you won't be sorry! I already can't wait for the second book next year!





Apr 19, 2018

Review: In a Jam by Cindy Dorminy

Title: In a Jam
Author: Cindy Dorminy
Genre: Romance, New Adult
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication Date: April 10th 2018
*A digital copy of In a Jam was received in exchanged for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions where my own* 


Summary:

Andie Carson has to do three things to inherit her grandmother’s lottery winnings—sober up, spend a month running her grandmother’s Georgia coffee shop, and enter homemade jam in the county fair. If she can’t meet those terms, the money goes to the church, and Andie gets nothing. She figures her tasks will be easy enough, and once she completes them, Andie plans to sell the shop, take the money, and run back to Boston. After a rough breakup from his crazy ex-fiancée, Officer Gunnar Willis decides to take a hiatus from women. All he wants is to help make his small town thrive the way it did when he was a kid. But when wild and beautiful Andie shows up, Gunnar’s hesitant heart begins to flutter. Gunnar knows that Andie plans to leave, but he’s hoping to change her mind, fearful that if her coffee shop closes, Main Street will fold to the big-box corporations and forever change the landscape of his quaint community. But convincing her to stay means getting close enough to risk his heart in the process. Even though Gunnar makes small-town life seem a little sweeter, Andie has to decide if she’s ready to turn her world upside down and give up big-city life. One thing’s for sure—it’s a very sticky situation.


If there is one thing that anybody should know about me is that the country, country music, small towns and country boys are among some of my favorite things and right now Gunnar Willis is at the top of the country boy list. Though contemporary romance novels aren't much of my thing the synopsis of this book drew me in. In a Jam is one of those hidden gems of a book and I am so glad I had an opportunity to read and review this book. In a Jam is a pretty short read, that I finished about three hours into a six hour car ride upstate to take my sister to visit her dream college and it was a story that was stuck in my head for the reminder of my care ride there, and the six hour car ride back. 

Though I can't relate to Andie on many things I can relate to her from the fact that she is a city girl. Andie spent a good chunk of her life living in Boston and away from the small town that she had come from. After her Grandmother's death Andie is faced with a choice, abide by her Grandmother's wishes and inherit her millions of dollars in lottery winnings or stay in the dark hole she is spiraling down. Granny's conditions seem pretty simple: Sober up, run her coffee shop and enter the jam contest at the county fair. Andie thinks this is all simple enough until she meets Gunnar and discovers that maybe living small town life won't be as bad as it seems. 

There were so many moments in this book that I laughed or giggled at. Andie is sassy and has a quick sense of humor and then Gunnar just says things that make you want to melt and be envious of Andie (.... Not me of course...) In a Jam is told in dual prospective. I was fun being in both characters head, I liked that we get to see the reasons why they are hesitant to peruse anything with each other, and then the switch on when they decide what the decision is going to be. Getting Gunnar's POV gives the reader the opportunity to learn more about his past and things that he wasn't open with Andie about additionally. Cindy included a wide cast of characters in this book and the character development and chemistry between all the characters give this novel not only a small town feel but a feel of family as well. 

With summer coming up and people looking for books to read while lounging by the pool or on the beach I am going to be pushing this one hard. It was so sweet (pun intended) and fun and something quick. It will leave you grinning from ear to ear long after you read the last page. 

Thank you Cindy for the review copy and the chance to read In a Jam!