Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Oxblood (Victoria Asher #1)Oxblood by AnnaLisa Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oxblood is one of those books where I did not necessarily love everything that happened at the end, but, the author took a great risk and still wrote a great book. I received an early release copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Of course, I would be drawn to this book since it took place mostly in Italy. It is the story of Vic who receives a package from her brother who is studying abroad in Italy for a few months. The contents make her realize that her brother, Gil, is in trouble. When she does not receive her nightly email from him she gets on the first flight to Italy to look for her only living family that she knows. When she arrives at the last hotel she was able to trace him to she finds out that everything with Gil was not what she thought and she becomes involved in the same trouble in which Gil was involved and she meets Ian, the leader of a secret agent group called Rogue.

As much as I would like more on Italy, this is a thriller with a lot of action. It does a great job with characterization. Vic speaks and acts in a manner that the reader can understand why she might be called Vic instead of her full name of Victoria. You can imagine what Ian sounds like with his British accent. We do not spend a lot of time with her brother Gil, however, we do learn so much about him through Vic's eyes and memories. The reader can understand why they are so close and why Vic cannot stand by and wait for someone else to find and help her brother. But, she gets involved in something that is a lot more dangerous than she realizes.

If there were anything the book was lacking it would be that the book does not give much information on Italy, but, this is not a bad thing since it was not intended to be an armchair travel mystery. It does a great job of allowing the reader to see where each scene in the book happens, so it stages the scene very well. There is a great mystery and a lot of great fight scenes. The story line is plausible and Vic does not magically kick butt and suddenly know how to do the things that the agents can. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dial Em For MurderDial Em For Murder by Marni Bates
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dial Em for Murder was a great, action-packed YA thriller with a really good play on book names. I received an early release copy through Edwelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Emmy is a 16 year old high school student who is obsessed with becoming a romance book author. She daydreams about characters she creates and rewrites real life situations in how she can envision them in a romance novel. She has two best friends, Audrey and Ben, with whom she shares everything with, even her unstable home life. She lives with her mom and her string of live-in boyfriends that come and go quite often, to the point where sometimes she is more the adult than her mom.

Em is busy working on her most recent romance novel at a Starbucks and steps away from the borrowed machine where she is working to order a drink. Unfortunately, she witnesses a man walk off with her drink and being the gutsy girl she is marches over to ask for her drink back. This begins the start of Emmy's troubles. The man did not accidentally take the wrong drink. He is trying to get her attention to warn her about what is about to happen to her life. This leads to a crazy chain of events where Emmy is thrown into several life and death situations. To remain safe she begins attending a secure private academy a few hours from home where things do not go quite like she planned. But, she is one step closer to one of her goals in life, finding her father. Now I have to wonder one thing. How long do I have to wait for the next installment in this series?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Loving RoxieLoving Roxie by G.G. Vandagriff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, it's Florence, Italy. Who wouldn't love to read a book based in Italy? I know that is what attracted me to it. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review from eBooks for Review. Roxie and her friend who has just lost her husband and is suffering another personal loss, Georgia, decide to go to Florence, Italy looking for healing when they have a particularly bad session at their group therapy meeting. They check into an awesome family owned B&B and meet some great people, Beta, the owner of the B&B and her son, Cosimo, and Stefano. It turns out that Roxie is also suffering from a personal loss. The problem is she is not quite able to name the loss. It's right at the tip of her memory but, she cannot reach it. Of course, the problem is she really does not want to reach the memory.

Stefano, a professor, and researcher at two universities in Italy. He and Roxie seem to have hit it off but, Roxie is not stable, but, Stefano is really interested. The reader is drawn into the ups and downs of Stefano trying to find a way to possibly build a life with Roxie, but, so many questions arise. Will Roxie go back to the US? Can she get through the trauma she has obviously suffered and let Stefano in so they can possibly be a couple?

One of the best parts of this book is the imagery of Florence, Siena, and the Tuscan countryside. I will be visiting all of these places in a couple of months and Loving Roxie just drew me in and made this book even better for me. There are some really heavy topics handled in the book, and the author handles it very well. The reader is able to still enjoy the beautiful parts of the book even with all of the dark topics that are handled. I am definitely interested in seeing more from this author.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Murder in TimeA Murder in Time by Julie McElwain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seriously amazing book! Kendra, an FBI agent who finds herself 200 years in the past, not in her own country, but, in England, in the countryside. A serial killer is at work and this is before Jack-the-Ripper and before there were organized police forces. No Scotland Yard! I actually did not request a copy of this from NetGalley because I did not think it would work for me. I don't read a lot of historical mysteries or romances. I was worried about the time travel piece of it, but, Julie McElwain does a great job with it. The characters were excellently developed. The mystery was exciting and progressed well and had a wonderful buildup that keeps the reader on edge. What really strikes me is that the brilliant FBI agent from 200 years in the future did not just show up and solve the crime and nail the perp because she was more advanced than the people she was surrounded by in the past. I would definitely buy the next book in this series and cannot wait for it to be released! Just a great book!

Shadows in Death by J.D. Robb My rating: 5 of 5 stars Is it possible for an author to be 51 books into a series and still have those book...