It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

Narrator: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: It Happens All the Time: A Novel by Amy Hatvany
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages) •Audiobook (9 hrs and 49 mins)
Genre: Fiction
Published By: Atria Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Audible
I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

two-half-stars

I am sorry if my thoughts on this book offend an rape survivor but this book created some strong emotions in me and I felt really unsettled and unsatisfied with this book’s ending. I get that the author was tackling a sensitive subject but I didn’t quite agree with certain things. I needed time to reflect so I can write my review with sensitivity, yet honesty. I do not feel like I can be honest without victimizing people who have already been brutalized. So I will keep my words brief.

The book starts off with a history of how young Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks became friends complete with their various family dysfunction. I believe the author was trying to lay foundation of what drove Amber and Tyler. This background led me to connect with Tyler and not so much with Amber. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong. First I want to start off by saying Rape is just a horrible crime. I am not interested in victim blaming or justifications, however I do believe alcohol abuse does change the situation. I am not blaming Amber at all, but I am saying that Tyler wasn’t in a clear frame of mind to be making sure he “got” consent first. In addition, I do not agree that Tyler, whom the author had painted as a nice friend, just turned into a this monster so fast and the reader is to believe that he would take advice for a father whom he has despised just so he can avoid dealing with devastation his actions wrought. I do love that Amber talked to both her parents and they stood by her. The fact that they embraced her immediately and validated her was everything. Her parents seemed to be really good parents unlike Tyler’s parents.

I didn’t like the hypocrisy in the end with Amber committing a crime, but it’s viewed with “understanding” and it’s okay that Tyler covered her actions up because I guess Tyler owes Amber for his part in hurting her.

At the end of the day, I hope all rape victims get counseling and have a support for their healing. .This book was hard to review but it make me examine my own beliefs on the topic. I hope to learn more about how to help victims.

Ezi

If Not for You (New Beginnings #3) by Debbie Macomber

Series:
Narrator: Khristine Hvam.
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: If Not for You by Debbie Macomber
Series: New Beginnings #3
Release Date: March 21st 2017
Format: e-ARC (432 pages) • Audiobook: 10 hrs and 46 mins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Ballantine Books
Purchase Links:  Amazon US Audible

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she’s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not—and her parents’ worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who’s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn’t exactly Sam’s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam—who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived—Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital—even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.

Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam’s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she’s come to love.

three-half-stars

This book was in the usual Debbie Macomber style. A nice contemporary romance with ordinary and relatable characters. While you may not love the characters, they typically remind me of people I know. It’s like watching a Saturday afternoon show on Lifetime. In fact, this one would make a good movie.

Beth Prudhomme and Sam Carney were set up on a blind date by mutual friends (Nichole and Rocco from Book 2: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On) and that first dinner was a disaster. Both of them came to the date with preconceived notions, so nothing really clicked for them. One the way home, Beth got into a car accident and Sam was one of the first people on the scene. Beth’s misfortune paved a way for Sam to connect with her in a new way. As Beth recovered, Sam came to visit and keep her company in the hospital. They began looking
forward to spending time together.

I thought it was sweet that Sam kept coming to check on Beth, but I had issues with both of them. How could a grown twenty-five year old teacher be so completely under the mother’s thumb? Beth seemed to be a sixteen-year old girl at times where Sam had the jaded attitude made him seem really old. Sam had a painful experience with a woman, so he swore off love and relationships. Yet, he went to visit Beth every chance he got because he just wanted…what exactly did he expect?
Each character seemed to be the opposite of their counterpart. Beth as sweet and flexible, Sam was gruff and inflexible. Beth’s mom Ellie was pushy and judgmental while Beth’s dad seemed like he took things lighter and respected the autonomy of others.

I liked Sam but didn’t feel like his past gave him a pass to be so mean and unforgiving. I had a harder time liking Beth because she was pretty weak as a heroine, yet nosy as hell with other people’s issues. Her mother was annoying and rude. I am glad Beth’s dad was in the story to balance out the mother’s prickly personality. It’s obvious that Beth wouldn’t even live on her own if not for her dad.
I liked the side story of the Aunt Sunshine, which ended well after 30 years. I also had issues with their communication or lack thereof, but it did end well, so I had to be content with that.

Overall, the story was a pleasant read and I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Ezi

Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep

Series:
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Snared by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #16
Release Date: April 25th 2017
Format: e-ARC (400)
Genre: Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy
Published By: Pocket Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & NobleSna

If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

four-half-stars

This installment was one of my favorites in the series. It continues this new mystery of Gin’s mother Eira Snow and her involvement with the Circle. I love this series and I love the characters. Each book holds my interest because they are action-packed and the mystery Gin Blanco has to solve always keeps me thoroughly entertained.

Book 16 started immediately as Gin was spying on Hugh Tucker in her attempts to unravel the clues left behind by Fletcher Lane. Even while eavesdropping, Gin and Finn can’t figure out the identity of the leader of “The Circle”. But they are getting close. First, the gang has to help Jade Jamison, a local mob boss, because the Lipstick killer kidnapped Jade’s little sister Elissa, the little sister of Jade.

What I love about this author is the way she weaves a story using the past simultaneously with the present. I feel as though Fletcher is alive because he is so instrumental in all of Gin’s escapades. Either that or Fletcher was one hell of a sage because he was light years ahead of his time when it came to predicting what his protege would need in the future. Finn seemed to be much better emotionally than the last couple of books after the betrayal by his mother Deidra Shaw. He was back to trading witty repartee with Gin. I found myself chuckling a lot in this book. The snarky delivery by the Spider makes her one of my favorite heroines. She’s sassy and smart-alecky but she always gets the job done.

This book was definitely top 3 best installments in this series. If you love the past books, this one is the same but continuing this slow revelation about the Circle. I’m hoping the leader of the The Circle is as fierce as the legendary fire elemental, Mab Monroe, because no other villain has measures up. I’m looking for a crime lord who will make the Ashland quake in their boots.
Ezi

Blog Tour for SNARED Author Q&A with Jennifer Estep

Series:
Source: Let’s Talk! Promotions, Netgalley

Jennifer Estep Q&A:

1) Will there be more from Mab Monroe’s family tree?

JE: As of right now, I don’t have any plans to bring in anyone else from Mab’s family, but if the right story idea or character came along, I would consider it. I do think it would be fun to do a novella from the point of view of someone connected to Mab. So we’ll see what happens as Gin’s story progresses and I write more in the Elemental Assassin series.

2) Is it possible that Finn has a half sibling somewhere?

JE: Anything is possible, but as of right now, I don’t have plans to give Finn a sibling. I think he is plenty interesting enough all on his own. LOL.

3) What is Gin’s hope for the future? I mean, she takes classes, she loves to run the Pork Pit…I just feel like fighting crime may not be her end game.

JE: I think Gin is a little torn about that. On one hand, I think that she just wants to run her restaurant, hang out with her friends and family, and have a normal life. On the other hand, I think that she knows that she has found her calling battling bad guys and helping people who can’t help themselves. So maybe the goal for her should be striking the right balance between those two things.

4) Could Gin ended up working for Ashland PD along with Bria?

JE: At this point, I don’t see that happening, but I’ll never say never.

5) Why doesn’t Bria have the same powers as Gin? How are the elemental powers transmitted (From mom to child, or father to child or both?) Why didn’t Finn inherit his mother’s elemental power?

JE: Bria has her mother’s Ice magic, whereas Gin got both their mother’s Ice magic as well as their father’s Stone power.
I tend to think of magic as sort of like a genetic or family trait. So if one parent has blue eyes and one parent has brown eyes, the kids could have either blue eyes or brown eyes, but if both parents have blue eyes, then the kids will most likely have blue eyes too. So depending on what kind of magic their parents have, the kids could get magic, get only part of it, or not get any o fit at all, which is why Finn didn’t get his mother’s elemental power.
Happy reading, everyone!

Publisher: Pocket Books
Price: $7.99
Release date: April 25, 2017
ISBN: 9781501142277

Purchase links:
Amazon:Barnes & Noble:Books-A-MillionKoboiBookGoogle PlayAudible

Giveaway!
There’s a tour-wide giveaway for copies of SNARED and a $20 Amazon gift card! Open to US residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OTc1MWMwNDJjY2FiNWQzMTA5YWRiNGY2Y2YyMDEyOjE=/?

 

This entry was posted in Review.

Phoebe Sounds It Out by Julie Zwillich

Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Phoebe Sounds It Out by Julie Zwillich
Release Date: April 15, 2017
Format: e-ARC Pages: 32
Published By: Owlkids Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble

Meet Phoebe. Unfortunately, her name doesn’t look quite like it sounds. At school, her classmates practice writing their names, but Phoebe struggles. Her teacher tells her to “just sound it out.” Phoebe doubts herself and procrastinates before resolving to try. Readers are privy to her funny, endearing interior monologue and little-kid rationale as she writes the result: FEEBY.

Told in a relatable, introspective voice, this school story conveys the feelings and worries of a 5-year-old and supports learning about sounds and letters. Readers will see from Phoebe’s fellow kindergartners’ attempts that everyone makes mistakes, and that we can take pride in effort and not just perfection.

LEVELING
Grade Range: Pre-K–2
Fountas & Pinnell: J
Reading Recovery: 17
Lexile: AD 590L

COMMON CORE
RL.1.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9
L.1.1,1b,1e,1f,2,2a,2b,2d,2e,4
L.1.4b,4c,5,5a,5b,5c,5d,6
RF.1.1,2,2a,2b,2c,2d,3,3a,3e,4
SL.1.1,1b,1c,2,3,4,5,6
W.1.3,5,6,8

My 7 year old son read this book to my 5 year old son. They had a different reaction to this book than I did. My youngest was tickled most about Phoebe’s boots. He enjoyed the book and he said that Phoebe sounding out her name reminding him of the Gingerbread man because he thought the first letter should have been “J”.
My big boy thought the book ended too fast. He wanted to know how the teacher helped Phoebe with understand about spelling her name. He also had more comments about the boots and Phoebe’s phonetic issues.

My overall impression was this book that it seemed a tad disjointed. It started off about boots, but then turned into kindergarten kids spelling their names. I actually didn’t think much about the boots. It was actually a distraction. I also didn’t understand the introduction of the second teacher Ms. April who enjoyed music. It didn’t fit. It didn’t seem to flow what I felt was the main theme of the book, which I loved. It was a joy following the steps Phoebe took as she worked to write her name. I would have liked the author to concentrate on the name, and how certain words have a phonetic sound different from the actual spelling. The boots thing could have been a separate story. My kids found that aspect entertaining.

My rating for this book would have been a 3-star, but my kids thought it was a 4-star book. Thus, I will settle in the middle. My youngest did ask me to read it again tomorrow, but he wants to wear his boots when I read it.
So clearly, my son related to Phoebe’s footwear.

*Special Thanks to Owlkids Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars

Ezi

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen OakleyNarrator: Candace Thaxton, Jonathan Todd Ross, Kirby Heyborne
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Format:  e-ARC (366 pages)
Published By: Gallery Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble •  Books-a-million iBooks Indiebound

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…

And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…

An evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart, Close Enough to Touch is perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

three-half-stars

This book had a really interesting premise but it took me two-thirds of the book before I truly got invested in the characters. It was written well but there just wasn’t a connection with the main characters for most of the book. The beginning was like 2-3 stars and the second half was 4-stars.

As a three year old toddler, Jubilee Jenkins developed a rare skin allergy that made touching other humans deadly. Her mother went to specialist after specialist before abandoning her to marry some rich guy in another city. After a kiss in high school almost killed her, Jubilee grudgingly acknowledged that her life was meant to be different from others and without skin to skin contact.

When her mother died and her step father withdrew financial support, Jubilee was forced to find a job to pay for her own bills. She got hired at the library which placed her around people. Once Jubilee saved a little boy Aja from drowning, Jubilee was introduced to Eric Keegan, Aja’s father who slowly opened Jubilee’s heart to a future of happier possibilities.

I like that Eric Keegan wasn’t this hero that made everything better. He had his own messed up situation and was trying to figure out his own life. Eric’s drama made everyone including Jubilee made her face some things from her past as well as make some decisions about her future.

I like how the author used the library and reading as vehicle of communication to allow the characters to understand each other. I felt the most for the young boy Aja. He was clearly in pain and I just wanted to hold him so tight. It was after Aja and his X-men comments that I truly plugged into this story.

Colleen Oakley didn’t write a clean, smooth, cheesy story. It was a slow burner where the individual journey overshadowed the romance, which was okay with me. The writing in the first half dragged but the second half was more touching (pun intended). Overall, it was a good read.

*Special Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight: by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #11
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Pages: 352 • Format: eARC
Published By: St. Martin’s Press
Purchase Links:
AmazonBarnes & Noble

A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah…demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all.

three-stars


Utterly Frustrated.

As a fan it hurts me that every freaking book is now a cliffhanger. I use to be the biggest advocate for this series, and honestly I just feel letdown as a fan of the series. I get so sick and tired of little info being put out each book that pertains to the big showdown at the end of whenever and then bam cliffhanger. It’s now book 11, what are we waiting for? It’s super convoluted, and I just find myself frustrated at best to describe it. I put in my time, money, energy and love into this series. I think about how the series started, and yeah nothing was set in stone, but so much information is being put out at each book that I’ve lost focus on what the end game was. It seems like a lot of filler information, and nothing set in stone for a finale of epic proportion and what I feel like we were lead to believe. I mean at this points, it just seems like it’s never going to end. I don’t see the ending in sight. I know it’s bad for me when it’s not even funny anymore, and I just want the book to end. Trust me, I’m mad.

**Sighs**
Charley and Reyes continue to do the back and forth not talking, talking, not trusting, trusting each other. It’s annoying. It’s also annoying that Charley has to continuously ask what she can do, and never try anything first. She never attempts things on her own when it comes to her powers. I know Reyes is the know how when it comes to this stuff, but damn Charley the foolishness has to stop.

I didn’t really gain anything by this book. A few scenes satisfied me, and of course I love seeing the gang together, but it’s the second book since Beep was born that we still don’t see them interacting with her. I KNOW they aren’t suppose to but, the Charley from books 1-5 would have moved heaven and hell to see her child. Atleast it’s what I think. I’m getting tired of Reyes doing the same posturing he does every book. Ya’ll know I love me some Reyes Alexander Farrow, but I think him and I are almost at our end. As I type this, I know I’m not mentally strong enough to quit the series until I know it’s over.

I miss the old formula to this series, and sometimes I feel like it’s this long because it’s a money train. That’s the angry side of me, and I hope it’s not the case. I really wish we can get back to the investigating and an end game. I feel like this group of people has been through enough, and nothing else needs to shake them. What I didn’t need was another cliffhanger. Yet we can’t get everything we ask for.

About Darynda Jones

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.

The Protector (Sons of Texas #2) by Donna Grant

The Protector (Sons of Texas #2) by Donna GrantSeries:
Narrator: Carly Robins
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: The Protector by Donna Grant
Series: Sons of Texas #2
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Format: e-ARC Pages: 305
Audiobook Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
Published By: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Purchase Links: Amazon USBarnes & Noble • • Books-a-million iBooksIndiebound

When his aunt and uncle are murdered and his father has been kidnapped, bad boy Marine Force Recon captain, Cullen Loughman teams up with the one woman who turns his world upside down.

Everything’s hotter in Texas…

When Marine Force Recon Captain Cullen Loughman learns that his father’s been kidnapped, he will do whatever it takes to find him. In order to achieve his mission, Cullen will need to team up with the best of the best?someone who just happens to be the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on…

This isn’t the first rodeo for ex-Air Force pilot Mia Carter. Still, Cullen’s bad-boy good looks and charm are distracting her from duty. . .and it appears that the feeling is mutual.

As Mia and Cullen make their descent into a dark, dangerous world, their attraction reaches the boiling point. But is their desire worth the risk when a ruthless enemy is waiting in the wings?or will their Lone Star love conquer all in The Protector?

three-half-stars

In book 2, the action picks right up from where book 1 ended and should definite be read AFTER book 1. The Loughman sons are still trying to find their dad Orrin, but the author is revealing more of Orrin’s character. Again, I am baffled as to how everyone loves Orrin, except for the people who should hold him closest to heart. But his three sons are working together to locate him and protect the biological weapon Orrin secreted away.
This installment focus on the youngest brother, Cullen, who is a marine force recon captain. It was revealed in book one that Cullen wasn’t close to Wyatt and Owen because they kept him out of the loop during the tragic event that changed their lives. So as the brothers formulated their plan to find their dad, Cullen was tasked with talking to the pilot who was one of the last people to see Orrin before he was taken.

When Cullen met Mia, the ex-Air Force pilot, he felt an instant pull to her. But his gut also told him that she was hiding something. Cullen set out to figure out what Mia was hiding and if it was connected to his father abduction.
I liked this story as much as I liked book one. The pace was similar and plot was just as intriguing. The readers finally learned what the biological weapon is and the devastation it can possible wreck on the general population. IT IS BAD!!! Thus, the Loughman brothers resolved to make sure the secret organization, the Saints, do not regain possession of the formulated bio-agent by splitting up. I also like the idea that each brother is taking their own journey towards their father and hopefully towards reconciliation.

Cullen appeared to be the less angry brother and Mia was a great match for him. She was smart, brave and resourceful. She could hold her own so Cullen respected her contributions to the mission. He also seemed to settle somethings that have been weighing on his mind regarding his family’s fragmented relationship and his future as a military officer. Cullen and Mia had chemistry and work well together, so the romance was pleasurable. The action continued and the author fleshed out the enemy a little more. I am still looking forward to getting more illumination on the Saint and in extension, the people who betrayed Orrin.

We learned more about Orrin and I enjoyed the action regarding his captivity more than Cullen and Mia’s road to romance. The author also set up a subplot romance between Orrin and the doctor Donna who was treating him while he was held prisoner. This second book also ended in a cliffhanger and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Ezi

About Donna Grant

Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, three cats, and a dog.

Wake of Vultures (The Shadow, #1) by Lila Bowen

Series:
Source: Netgalley
Wake of Vultures Book Cover Wake of Vultures
The Shadow, #1
Lila Bowen
Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy; Fantasy
Orbit
October 27th 2015
audibook; e-book
342
Netgalley

This story started off really promising with the introduction of the heroine Sixteen-year old Nettie Lonesome. She was a biracial girl living on a ranch with a couple she called Pap and Mam. According to Pap and Mam, no one including her biological family wanted this half black, half native American girl, so they took her in and tolerated her.
One day, a visiting man attacked Nettie at the ranch and when Nettie stabbed him, the man turned into ash. This opened her eyes to a whole other world of lurking monsters such as vampires, chupacabras, skinwalkers (shapeshifters) etc and altered Nettie’s understanding of her world.
Nettie runs away from the ranch and joins a new Ranch, the Double TK, but lives there as a man named Rhett. After a series of events sends her running away, Nettie begins her true destiny hunting monsters, most specifically the Pia Mupitsi (the Big Cannibal Owl) rumored to steal babies and turn them into monsters too.
I am not sure how I feel about this book. In the beginning, I thought I would be taking a journey with a girl who lived as a man because she didn’t like what women had to do to survive if you were poor like her. Those women worked in saloons, or were basically subservient to mean drunken men like Pap. Nettie knew she never wanted to be treated with so little regard, so she chose to live as a man. But soon after she arrived at the Double TK, the story shifted to a paranormal story with Nettie as the chosen hunter or the special one. So, it became less about Nettie, the teenage girl trying to figure herself out in her community, to Nettie the one prophesied to destroy an evil monster, the Pia Mupitsi.
The subplot that I was most interested in pertaining to Nettie’s gender identity issues as well as her establishing her own way as a rancher breaking horses. That plot took a backseat to the search for the supernatural monsters. The story just veered off for me and I didn’t have the same enthusiasm as with the first part of the story.
I was never able to decide if Nettie was truly transgendered or was she living as a man because in that time period, women were at the mercy of men. The audiobook was enjoyable and the reader was treated to the history of Nettie which made her current mindset more understandable.
I wish the author had split these into two books, letting us know Nettie as a girl first. She was smart, resourceful and suspicious of everyone.  Definitely an interesting western and how far someone women went to protect their virtue or even. There were many themes in this book so perhaps it’s a situation of treating the reader on too much.
I just don’t know how I feel about the paranormal aspect about this book. It’s definitely not the traditional PNR. I thought there was excellent writing and the author put forth a lot of research. It was clever, creative and imaginative. The second half just didn’t click with me right now .

<i>*Special Thanks to Orbit Books via Netgalley for the ebook given in exchange for an honest review