Thursday, December 8, 2016

Review: Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

Blurb from Goodreads:
Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.

But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.

As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?
My Review:
About this book, Maggie Stiefvater wrote: "It was pitched as Indiana Jones meets Romeo & Juliet. The pitch was not wrong."  And honestly, this is why I wanted to read this!  Not only was the pitch not wrong, but this was very charming - a mix of adventure, romance, history and, of course, dinosaurs!  It was slightly rambling at times and maybe a bit too long but still super fun and descriptive.  The romance was slightly more prominent and mature than I expected (I still have a hard time figuring this to be YA and not middle grade given some of the other characterizations) but the action adventure story worked.  I was transported to the Badlands and was rooting for every archaeological find! This one would be a great Christmas gift for tweens, for sure!

Every Hidden Thing came out earlier this year and you can purchase HERE. I definitely recommend this one if you like historical, action filled YA and/or DINOSAURS!

For as long as I could remember, I'd been looking for things. As a boy it might be a warbler egg or the knuckle of an ox or the larva of a monarch butterfly. The thrill of the hunt, something lost now found. I'd kept shelves in my bedroom for my specimen boxes. They made me happy--but almost from the moment of the finding, that hunger rekindled and made me turn to something new, something more I needed to be discovering. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Spotlight: All in Fear | Out 12/1/16

Want something a bit different for the holidays? Horror has never looked this enticing! New release, All in Fear, is a gorgeous collection of horror tales from some of the hottest names in queer fiction. Be prepared to be titillated...and terrified.

All in Fear
By KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, J.A. Rock,
Steve Berman, Avon Gale, and Kris Ripper

Horror wears many faces, and its masks can be tantalizing. Some of the top names in queer fiction come together to spin their own versions of horror. Worlds rife with dark beauty and mystery, the familiar becoming terrible, creatures ethereal and alluring—and all bearing the gleam of love. Does hope lie along these grim passages or only doom? It will become clear. All in time—and all in fear.

Company by Roan Parrish
Nick Levy’s family is falling apart and he has no friends, but at least he can escape into the world of his favorite comic book series, The Face of the Vampire. Naturally, when the vampire in question shows up one day, Nick is enthralled. After all, what could be better than his own personal fantasy made real? Except that Nick isn’t exactly sure whether Michel is real or not. And when the arrival of a new boy in school promises romance, Nick sees a side of Michel he never could have imagined. This Michel is cruel, jealous . . . and he’ll do anything to keep Nick for himself.

Love Me True by Kris Ripper
Palmer's life is as good as it gets. Well, okay, so he hates his mind-numbing office job. But he's found a hot, smart, incredibly kinky guy. The sex is explosive. The power play is off the hook. And if he gets his way, Jon will soon be his husband.

When Palmer asks, Jon says yes. For the first time ever, Palmer thinks things might be really good. Sure, bad things happen in the worldto other people. But this is all he needs: Jon at the end of the day, in their bed, arms around him.

How could he have possibly been so stupid?

The Price of Meat by KJ Charles
Johanna Oakley will do anything to save her beloved Arabella from the cruelty of Mr Fogg’s madhouse—but ‘anything’ turns out to be more than she bargained for when she finds herself working for a man suspected of worse than murder. As Johanna is plunged from the horror of Sawney Reynard’s barber shop into the foul, lawless labyrinth at the heart of London, can she or anyone get out alive?

His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman
Joining Zeta Psi isn’t Steve’s dream, it’s his dad’s. Nevertheless his dad’s gift of the mysterious Bailey flask gets Steve an in to the frat house, and maybe his best shot at being accepted on campus. But the flask’s silver sheen may only be lighting his way into the darkness at the heart of the frat—and the darkness he’s learning is within himself. Steve wants to choose who he is, but choices are dropping like flies as he learns the true mystery of the Bailey flask. How does he give back a gift that’s also a curse?

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale




Beauties by J.A. Rock
When Dr. Lester Usole attends an event at AI developer Carnificiality, he’s introduced to Beauties: artificial beings designed to provide tailored sexual experiences for their human owners. Lester isn’t interested in sex—but he is fascinated by Ira, a Beauty too violent to be sold.

Lester convinces Carnificiality to give Ira to him. Lester has always wanted the chance to work with an adult AI, and around Lester, Ira isn’t violent. He’s strangely innocent, uncannily perceptive, and his company does much to ease Lester’s loneliness. Except something’s not quite right: Ira roams at night, even when Lester’s sure he’s locked Ira’s door.

Soon Lester is certain of only one thing: Ira has a secret. Something that will link their pasts and change the course of their future—if Lester is willing to face what’s on the inside.

Learn more on Goodreads.

Order it now: Publisher’s Site  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  ARe  |   Apple  |  Kobo

“An engaging anthology of queer fiction filled with monsters, mysteries, and menace.”  — Kirkus Reviews

About the Authors:

Steve Berman
Steve Berman loves to tell stories that are both queer and weird. He was a Zeta Psi back in his college days at and remembers being hazed. He survived and graduated and even earned a Masters Degree in Liberal Studies. He has written and sold over a hundred articles, essays, and short stories. His YA novel, Vintage, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award.

KJ Charles
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, and a cat with murder management issues. KJ writes mostly historical romance, mostly queer, often with fantasy or horror in there.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles, pick up book info and free reads on her website at, get the infrequent newsletter at, or join her Facebook group, KJ Charles Chat, for sneak peeks and exclusives.

Avon Gale
Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Connect with Avon:
Twitter: @avongalewrites
Sign up for Avon’s Newsletter:

Roan Parrish
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

Sign up for her Newsletter to receive updates about new releases, works-in-progress, and bonus materials like sneak peeks and extra scenes!
Twitter: @RoanParrish

Kris Ripper
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a little kid, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

The site:

The Facebook group: Ripper's Irregulars:

J.A. Rock
J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on:  
The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

From Goodreads:
Station Eleven meets The Martian in this brilliantly inventive novel about three astronauts training for the first-ever mission to Mars, an experience that will push the boundary between real and unreal, test their relationships, and leave each of them—and their families—changed forever.

In four years Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshi Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they’re the crew for the job by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation every created.

Retired from NASA, Helen had not trained for irrelevance. It is nobody’s fault that the best of her exists in space, but her daughter can’t help placing blame. The MarsNOW mission is Helen’s last chance to return to the only place she’s ever truly felt at home. For Yoshi, it’s an opportunity to prove himself worthy of the wife he has loved absolutely, if not quite rightly. Sergei is willing to spend seventeen months in a tin can if it means travelling to Mars. He will at least be tested past the point of exhaustion, and this is the example he will set for his sons.

As the days turn into months the line between what is real and unreal becomes blurred, and the astronauts learn that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. The Wanderers gets at the desire behind all exploration: the longing for discovery and the great search to understand the human heart.
This sounds AWESOME! The Wanderers is scheduled to be released on February 7, 2017, and I can't wait!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Monday, December 5, 2016

Review: The Chosen (Fredrika Bergman & Alex Recht #5) by Kristina Ohlsson

Blurb from Goodreads:
The brand new thriller featuring Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht of the Stockholm police. On a cold winter's day, a pre-school teacher is shot to death in front of parents and children at the Jewish Congregation in Stockholm. Just a few hours later two Jewish boys go missing on their way to tennis practice. A heavy snowstorm hits Stockholm and the traces of the perpetrator are few and far between. Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht are faced with one of their toughest challenges ever as they hunt for a killer that seems as merciless as he is effective. The leads in the investigation are many and diverse but in the end they all point to the same place: Israel. Someone or something called the Paper Boy keeps popping up in the police investigation. But who was he really? And could he possibly have resurfaced in Stockholm, now claiming new victims?
My Review:
Another atmospheric, wintry Scandinavian crime thriller/police procedural?! Yes, please. Although this one was my first in this series, it definitely could have been read as a standalone. There were probably some spoilers of past books but nothing so severe that I wouldn't want to read the earlier books. What I love about this genre is how equal it feels - there are so many women working in law enforcement throughout this genre and they are never treated as abnormalities or incompetent because they have a family.  Rather, they are important in solving crime, their opinions are listened to and acted upon and they are not novelties or quotas. This series surrounds two detectives in the National Crime Unit - Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht, who are partners in the Unit, and this particular book solved a very peculiar, complex and interesting set of murders. I was intrigued although this did get a bit too long and detailed.  I will be curious to read other books in this series and am definitely adding this to my ever evolving list of books in this genre

The Chosen comes out tomorrow on December 6, 2016, and you can purchase HERE.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Monthly Recap: November 2016

Number of Books Read
I am trying, friends but man, things are really grim for the U.S. Also, trying to not spend all my time obsessing over news caused me to read 23 books (including so many (comfort) re-reads but not including one DNF)! 

Every Hidden Thing
Death at La Fenice (Commissario Brunetti, #1)
Out of Bounds (Inspector Karen Pirie, #4)
Lost in Time (Blue Bloods, #6)
Bad Boy
The Hopefuls
Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, #5)
Virgin River (Virgin River, #1)
On the Jellicoe Road
The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods, #4)
Tell Me Three Things
Revelations (Blue Bloods, #3)
Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, #1)
Masquerade (Blue Bloods, #2)
Wrong Brother, Right Match (Anyone But You #3)
The Hating Game
White Lead
A Game of Chance (Mackenzie Family, #5)
Mackenzie's Magic (Mackenzie Family, #4)
Mackenzie's Pleasure (Mackenzie Family, #3)
Her Nightly Embrace (Ravi PI #1)
Breaking Point (Troubleshooters #9) by Suzanne Brockmann

The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, #5)  Breaking Point (Troubleshooters #9) by Suzanne Brockmann  On the Jellicoe Road  The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods, #4)  The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy  Mackenzie's Pleasure (Mackenzie Family, #3)
Revelations (Blue Bloods, #3)  Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, #1)  Masquerade (Blue Bloods, #2)  A Game of Chance (Mackenzie Family, #5)  Mackenzie's Magic (Mackenzie Family, #4)    
Highest rating
Not including re-reads, these were both 4 STARs!!
The Hating Game   Sweetbitter
Lowest rating
Just one DNF!
Bad Boy
Best read of the month
The Hating Game
Book which surprised me the most
Even though I read nothing but glowing reviews, I will still so charmed by this one!
The Hating Game
Fictional crush of the month
The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy
Three books I’m looking forward to reading next month
Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel         Walk Into Silence (Detective Jo Larsen #1) by Susan McBride        Someone like You (Oxford #3) by Lauren Layne
Monthly Recap
    How was your November? 
    Imagination Designs