Sunday, 24 March 2019

Stacking the Shelves ★ 3

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

Welcome to my third posting of Stacking the Shelves! I know, I can't believe it, but I'm scheduling things ahead so I'm not scrambling about and I can give you darling readers more content, except for my reviews, I'm working on that.
I'll be sharing a few of my recent acquisitions here every Sunday and if you want to join in the fun, you can click the meme banner or either link above and get all the info about Stacking the Shelves.
As always, clicking each book cover will take you to its Goodreads page and I'll give you the Goodreads synopsis with each book because I care about you and the books. I'm a total book pimp.

Hacker Exposed by Linzi Baxter
Bridget never expected to see Alex Ross again after her father stole from the Ross family. When Alex contacts Bridget, it isn’t to catch up. He needs her help! 
Bridget Boggs carries a lot of guilt over what happened to Alex Ross and his family. She had been good friends with the Ross boys until her greedy father lost part of the Ross family’s savings in a pyramid scheme. He went to jail, and Bridget and her family changed their names and went into hiding. 
Bridget imagines that Alex and his brothers feel just as betrayed as she does by her father’s criminal acts. When she meets Alex again as a young hacker and the owner of White Hat Security, he has something more important to talk about than her father’s transgressions. A million dollars has been stolen from his company, and Alex needs Bridget’s help to track down the culprit. 
Alex has certainly grown up since they last met. The man looks like a Greek god, and Bridget can’t help but be attracted to him. As she digs deeper into the theft from Ross Enterprises, Bridget doesn’t need any more distractions. This is a more dangerous job than either Bridget or Alex expected. The thief is willing to go to incredible lengths to evade the police, and the two amateur sleuths may find themselves caught in the crossfire.

I picked this one up when I saw that she was an Orlando-based author who was headed to the Space Coast Book Lovers Convention and Hacker Exposed looks interesting! I like supporting local, so hey, look, LOCALS SUPPORTING LOCALS. Y'all can expect to see this sometime in my future reviews!

The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay
A romance bookstore owner finds her own happily ever after with a single dad in a new romance series from the New York Times bestselling author of Every Dog Has His Day.
Ryder Copeland is an accomplished architect and one heck of a father...not to mention tall and sexy. He's everything a hero should be, and Lord knows, Maisy Kelly has read enough of her great-aunt Eloise's romance novels to recognize one when she sees one. But like all fairy tales, Maisy can't help but wonder if this Prince Charming is too good to be true...
Ryder is drawn to the shy, curly haired professor who hires him to convert the Victorian house she's inherited from her aunt into a romance bookstore. Attracted to a woman for the first time since his divorce, Ryder finds himself wishing for a future with Maisy that he knows is impossible. Ryder has never wavered from his plan to leave the small town of Fairdale, North Carolina, so he can give his daughter the life she deserves. But suddenly he's not so sure. And the closer he gets to Maisy, the harder it's going to be to walk away...

I won an ARC of The Good Ones in a giveaway and it's on my review schedule and after the review is published, it's going to be packed with some other romance review copies I have on the shelves and shipped off to my grandmother who's up on a snow-covered mountain in Vermont. {Shoutout to Franklin County, Vermont!}

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
New York Times bestseller now in paperback, this dazzling beginning to the Shattered Realms series is indispensable for fans of Cinda Williams Chima and a perfect starting point for readers who are new to her work. Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series, this is a breathtaking story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.
Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now he’s closer than ever to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. Can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?
Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the ruthless king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

I've been meaning to get a copy of this for a while and now it's a trilogy and, well, I had to see how good it is. I'm lookin forward to finding out what the Shattered Realms series is all about!

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.
In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.
Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.

When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.
But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .

That's right, folks! I'm stepping out of my normal repertoire and diving into a space opera. I actually do love sci-fi as much as I love fantasy, I'm just really picky about my sci-fi. It has to be well-written or, well, I'll be a spoiled brat and complain about it for months. Kind of like the Q stories on Star Trek, annoying nonsense that's there and we're forced to endure the existence of them but we don't acknowledge them because they're horrible and they shouldn't exist.  

Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury
Sixteen years ago, rebellion swept the galaxy known as the Belt of Jewels. Every member of the royal family was murdered--down to their youngest child, Princess Anya--and the Union government rose in its place. But Stacia doesn't think much about politics. She spends her days half-wild, rambling her father's vineyard with her closest friends, Clio and Pol.
That all changes the day a Union ship appears in town, carrying the leader of the Belt himself, the Direktor Eminent. The Direktor claims that Princess Anya is alive, and that Stacia's sleepy village is a den of empire loyalists, intent on hiding her. When Stacia is identified as the lost princess, her provincial home explodes into a nightmare.
Pol smuggles her away to a hidden escape ship in the chaos, leaving Clio in the hands of the Union. With everything she knows threading away into stars, Stacia sets her heart on a single mission. She will find and rescue Clio, even with the whole galaxy on her trail.

I was sold on this book when I saw it described as Anastasia in Space. Um, yes, please?! Sign me up! And that is how I came to be the owner of a digital copy of Last of Her Name. Because I've been total Anastasia trash for decades.

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

I'm in love with this book. The synopsis. The cover. The premise. Just bury me because I am dead. I bought a copy myself, but I also received an autographed copy in the post and I'm still not sure how it came into my possession. I blame all the new medications. I'm having a lot of books showing up in the post that I don't remember requesting or entering giveaways for. I mean, I'm not complaining but, one day, I'm going to die under a stack of books that have mysteriously shown up in my post box.

I hope y'all enjoyed this trip into my book collection. I'm going to be speedreading my way through my TBR trying to catch up with my Goodreads Challenge because I can't believe it's almost April already!! Anyways! Let me know if we're book-twins or if I accidentally added to your TBR. I'll see y'all next time and until then, have a happily ever after!

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Down the TBR Hole ★ 3

Down the TBR Hole is a bookish meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.
Down the TBR Hole 411
Down The TBR Hole is a meme that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there.Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!
It works like this:
• Order on ascending date added.
• Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
• Read the synopses of the books
• Decide: Keep it or should it go?

We're back again with Down the TBR Hole! I hope you enjoy the journey, please fasten your seatbelts and remember, if I add to your TBR, you cannot summon any demons to curse me. We're all in this TBR spiral together. If you've noticed the new graphic, yes, I did away that colourful disaster I created on the fly and made this lovely one from a stock photo. It has lilacs! Yes, I did make matching graphics for everything. I match and you have no idea how pleased my OCD is with this new development. I'll be going back later and editing things so I'm totally matching throughout the memes but I'm lazy.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
I've been in love with GPF for months, I've got a beautiful copy on my shelf and one on my kindle and I haven't opened either because I'm terrified it won't be as amazing as I believe it to be. I have issues. This is staying on my TBR and, hopefully, it will make it onto my 'read' list soon!

The Post-It Note Affair by Justine Avery
I think I one-click added this to my TBR, thinking it was similar to a book I'd read on WattPad that I adored. Unfortunately, it's not and it doesn't really sound like a book I'd enjoy. I'm going to remove this one from my TBR.

Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
A romance with an asexual biromantic leading lady? I'll even say 'please' and 'thank you' for this one! I'm keeping this one on my TBR!

I actually forgot about this book and I'm so mad at myself for that. I'm keeping this one on my TBR and hopefully, I'll be able to pick up a copy somewhere along the way!

Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this via Goodreads Giveaways, but I was 8 chapters into it when everybody started comparing it to Romeo & Juliet and y'all do not know the level of hate I hold for Romeo & Juliet. So, I stopped reading it because I started hating the book just for that comparison. I recently passed it on to a deserving high school bookworm so it has a good home and someone with no real access to money or library (no address, no card), has a book. I'm removing it from my TBR, but I have a kindle copy so I'll probably end up reading somewhere along the way.

Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay
Okay, #fatgirlconfession time. I added this for the synopsis and the cover. I thought this was a chocolate heart encased by a white chocolate heart. Please, judge me. Anyways, the synopsis is really weird, a world of cyborgs and one human and a glitched cyborg develops a fascination with the human? Is it love? Is it an error in the code? I still need to know so this is staying on my TBR.

Out of The Ice by Ann Turner
This still sounds like something I'm probably going to fall in love with so it's going to stay on my TBR and I'm going to go find a copy! I have no self-control.

I'm just pulling a plug on this journey down the TBR hole, because I'm not removing much of anything. Today has been counterproductive! Facebook crashed, Instagram crashed (do you know what day I put this post together?), and my autoposting program, Hootsuite also crashed because it's Facebook-owned. Nothing has caught fire, nobody has died, but my stress level is sky-high and I just want to curl up with a big bowl of ramen. Until next time, readers, have a happily ever after!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Top Ten Tuesday ★ 2

Look! I made a pretty lilac graphic for this and it is gorgeous!
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to The Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
How it works:
I assign each Tuesday a topic and then post my top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join me and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information. You’ll find the schedule of upcoming TTT topics below so you can plan ahead. I’ll post a Linky here on the blog each week so you can link up your post (if you want). If you don’t have a blog, post your picks in the comment section below! Have tons of fun talking books and getting to know your fellow bloggers!
NOTE: If a weekly topic is listed as a “freebie”, you are invited to come up with your own topic. Sometimes I will give your topic a theme, such as “love”, a season, or an upcoming holiday. That just means that you can come up with any topic you want that fits under that umbrella.
 - Jana of The Artsy Reader Girl

Books on My Spring 2019 TBR List

Welcome to my second foray into the book meme that is Top Ten Tuesday! This week's topic is Books on My Spring 2019 TBR List. I'm not working off of a seasonal schedule. My system consists of sticky notes in my planner so I can change my mind on a whim. And I do, a lot. But, I'm going to give you a look at my planner's TBR list. It's basically my 2019 TBR Definite Reading List. Also, when I saw the prompt for this week, I actually had to ask Cortana if it was Spring already. Shockingly, it's true. Tomorrow is the first day of Spring!

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...


I'm trying to conquer my fears of books not holding up to my high expectations, I've been in love with The Kiss Quotient for a very long time. A romance where the female protagonist is an aspie and the author is as well? And there is Asian representation in the book because the author is Vietnamese? Y'all. I actually cried when I heard about this book. There are books with main characters like me and they make me so happy that I cry! So, yes, I own a copy, but I'm terrified it isn't as amazing as I think it is. (There should be a name for this, if there is and you know it, let me know) But, I am working on it by putting this down in my planner!

City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender
Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic—and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling.

Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training.

Laura, a new team member, has stayed alive longer than most. Now, she’s the last—and only—sweeper standing between the city and a massive infestation.


I stumbled across this when I was going through one of my insomnia periods and the cover just kills me. Then, I won a pick-your-book giveaway on Twitter and look what's sitting on my shelf and it is just as gorgeous in person, y'all!

Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

As a Motorcycle Club member and firefighter, Ian Walsh is used to riding the line between the good guys and the bad. He may owe the Club his life, but his heart rests with his fire station brothers...and with the girl he's loved since they were kids, Rory Sorenson. Ian would do anything for Rory. He'd die for her. Kill for her. Defend her to his last breath-and he may just have to.

Every con in the Rockies knows Rory is the go-to girl for less-than-legal firearms, and for the past few years, she's managed to keep the peace between dangerous factions by remaining strictly neutral. But when she defends herself against a brutal attack, Rory finds herself catapulted into the center of a Motorcycle Club war-with only Ian standing between her and a threat greater than either of them could have imagined.

Did y'all think I stopped with the Katie Ruggle love? No! I just needed a break because I was wanting to move to the Rocky Mountains and find myself a life out there too! I'm only, like, 40% kidding.

The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets
From the national bestselling author of Breaking Wild, here is a riveting and powerful thriller about a woman whose greatest threat could be the man she loves.…

Marian Engström has found her true calling: working with rescue dogs to help protect endangered wildlife. Her first assignment takes her to northern Alberta, where she falls in love with her mentor, the daring and brilliant Tate. After they’re separated from each other on another assignment, Marian is shattered to learn of Tate’s tragic death. Worse still is the aftermath in which Marian discovers disturbing inconsistencies about Tate’s life, and begins to wonder if the man she loved could have been responsible for the unsolved murders of at least four women.

Hoping to clear Tate’s name, Marian reaches out to a retired forensic profiler who’s haunted by the open cases. But as Marian relives her relationship with Tate and circles ever closer to the truth, evil stalks her every move.…


I won an ARC of The Last Woman in the Forest from a Bookish giveaway and as you're reading this, I'm scheduled to be reading it but who knows what I'm actually reading given what's going on. But I'm really looking forward to reading The Last Woman in the Forest. It sounds like a book that would have been right up my alley before I got stuck in a book rut a few years ago. Let's wait and see!

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other... 

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...

The Wedding Date was actually one of my very first requests to read as an official blogger and reviewer and I was approved for it. But it was via Penguin First Reads and I was told that my kindle app would read a PDF. It didn't. It showed it and it let you zoom in on it and it was not me-friendly. So I couldn't read it. BUT! I swore I would. And I've got a copy of the book and here I am scheduling it and everything.

Tiger Eye by Marjorie M Liu
He looks out of place in Dela Reese's Beijing hotel room- exotic and poignant, some mythic, tragic hero of an epic tale. With his feline yellow eyes, he's like nothing from her world. Yet Dela has danced through the echo of his soul and knows this warrior will obey her every command.

Hari has been used and abused for millennia. But he sees, upon his release from the riddle box, that this new mistress is different. There is a hidden power in Dela's eyes- and with her, he may regain all that was lost to him. Where once he savaged, now he must protect; where once he only knew hatred, now he must embrace love. Dela is the key. For Dela, he will risk all.

Okay, so I first stumbled across this series when I was ummm 16 or so in a used bookstore and I had to buy it because my last name is actually Liu too and Margaret and Marjorie are similar and it was just really funny to me. So I bought and loved these books, but I haven't read them since I was 19. I think I'm due for a reread, don't you?

Here is what happens when your mother dies.

It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart.

That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.

Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.

I recently got news that I'll be receiving a review copy in the post so I'm going to be adding this darling into my schedule somewhere along the way. Somewhere.

Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep
Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

I received this as a review copy, read it, got really distracted by being shoved in an MRI tube. I'm rereading and reviewing, so be on the look out for that one!

The Start of Something Good by Jennifer Probst
An enriching story of family ties, broken hearts, and second chances from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.
When Ethan Bishop returns to the Hudson Valley, his body and spirit are a little worse for wear. As a former Special Forces paratrooper, he saw his fair share of conflict, and he came home with wounds, inside and out. At his sisters’ B & B and farm, he can keep all his pain at a safe distance. But quiet time isn’t easy when a fiery woman explodes into his life…
It’s business—not pleasure—that brings Manhattan PR agent Mia Thrush reluctantly to the farm. Tightly wound and quick tempered, Mia clashes immediately with the brooding Ethan. Everything about him is irritating—from his lean muscles and piercing blue eyes to his scent of sweat and musk.
But as the summer unfolds and temperatures rise, Ethan and Mia discover how much they have in common: their guarded histories, an uncontrollable desire, and a passion for the future that could heal two broken hearts. But will their pasts threaten their fragile chance at a brand-new future?
I actually signed up for the release tour of the third book in this series and didn't realise it wasn't a standalone. So I'm reading the series! Y'all can tag along for the ride.

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick
A librarian's discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime in the delightful new novel from the international bestselling author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.
Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people--though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she's invisible.
All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend--her grandmother Zelda--who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda's past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.
Filled with Phaedra Patrick's signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heartwarming and poignant tale of how one woman must take control of her destiny to write her own happy ending.
I'm attempting to step outside the box with my books. This looks like something I'd enjoy, so I requested it and lookit, I got it. And I also found out the test results on Zeus at the same time. Things backslide. But it's out next week and I'm reading and buying it. And review will be coming! Look at me, getting things done!

Okay, y'all. I'm off. This was fun and laborious, I hope y'all enjoyed a peek at my schedule. How do y'all say 'schedule'? I say shed-yule, but my family says 'sked-jule'. I don't know why I'm weird, but I am.
Until next time, have a happily ever after!

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Review of Specter by Lacey Dailey

Specter by Lacey Dailey
Circuit #1
Published 3 October 2018

Two years ago, I joined an organization that was so top secret not even the FBI could locate us.

As a hacker, I teetered on the edge of right and wrong every single day, breaking the law to make the world around me a better place.

I knew how dangerous my work at Circuit was. I knew I could get caught one day and wind up behind bars for the rest of my life.

I didn’t care.

And then the packages started to show up on my doorstep. One after another. Never the same gift twice. Never the same day.

I warned my team, tried to get them to prepare for a takedown. They didn't seem as concerned as I was to learn my identity as Specter had been compromised.

I prepared for everything.

And then Sage Maddison appeared with one of the packages, snow-white hair and eyes filled with fear.

I was not prepared for her.

I bought Specter on one of my Amazon book-buying sprees and was planning on reading it during one of my testing trips to the medical centre because it sounded interesting enough to occupy me but not so much that I wasn't aware of what all was going on around me. And then, back in January, Ms Dailey reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing it. Why not? So I said sure! And that's how we wound up here, readers. I figured that since the FTC is the great and powerful governing agency, I should make it clear, I already owned the book, the review was requested, and I'm all about the open and honest policy, someone give me some coffee or a cookie the size of my fat head.

I managed to get through Specter, but I had a difficult time with it. Specter isn't without its good points but, I'm sorry, this won't be a very favourable review, I'm cranky, one of my dogs is being put to sleep next week and I had an unhappy book experience. I honestly had a hard time getting truly into Specter, but it was a passable 'remise en bouche' for between my usual books and that's about it.

I was delighted by the synopsis, a romance involving a hacktivist group that fights for the greater good and the whisperings of suspense? Yes, please! But it fell short. Specter was basically a bit of a light fluff novella dressed up as a contemporary romantic suspense novel. This cleared my mind up so I've got it ready for my next book. Hence the phrase, 'remise en bouche'.

I liked the cuteness of Wren and Sage and their 'sunshine' bit and all, but I also wanted to gouge my eyes out with the heaping yellow pile of overly cute because it basically made light of everything that people who have PTSD and anxiety live with. Sage goes from having debilitating C-PTSD and anxiety issues and then, within the short timespan that occurs within this book, she's suddenly fine for the most part? I'll sit back here with some Ativan for her future psychological breakdown because that's a pretty picture you're painting but that doesn't happen. I'm 30 years old in June and I've been dealing with C-PTSD and severe anxiety since I was a toddler. It is a hellacious nightmare and it doesn't get solved with some splash of colour and thinking about some cute boy, hero or not.

Now for some characters. We have POC and we have LGBT+ characters which had me seeing sparkly rainbows of joy there for a hot minute and I did enjoy the gay best friend. But the characters of Specter came off rather flat and one-dimensional. We get tossed some cute tidbits, which I liked, but then we just float back to obscure-ville and I was so frustrated. We get vague references to so-and-so and their not-relationship and nothing really happens there, just a couple jokes and a reference to it. Yes, I know, series, future book, yada-yada, but it was annoying as all get-out to get a really juicy note about a character and then have very little interaction between the main characters and this character. If you're building a series, build the characters throughout the series, that way your books are actually tied together and not just using the same cardboard figures over and over again.

This is suposed to be contemporary romance, no grandeur or anything, right? But Circuit has an FBI agent as one of their members who has somehow managed to pass all the security measures the FBI has in place and hasn't earned any suspicions from their co-workers because they're so good. But when everything goes to hell in a pretty handbasket, said agent is right there with the circuit members, pulling strings and making sure nobody's arrested or anything? Just no. If he were to do this in an official capacity, flashing a badge, getting somebody out of a holding cell, in a weird situation, his superiors would be pulling him into an office to find out the whosits and whatsits at the very least, at worst, his connection to Circuit would be discovered and he'd be facing more criminal charges than his Circuit compatriots would be because of his position within the agency.

Now, if you still want to check this book out, I want to forewarn you and post a couple content warnings here. Without posting spoilers, I want to caution anybody who might have issues reading about recurring references to drug use (including forced administration), repeated sexual assault, kidnapping, and death through gun violence. None of these things occur as a scene in the book but are heavily referenced throughout the book, I did find one reference scene a bit disturbing personally and that's why I'm being extra careful with this content warning.

Overall, I'm giving Specter 2 stars because I can see there is a good story in there somewhere, but it's still waiting to come out. I'm hoping the next book has some major improvements all around, and yes, I'm still going to read the next one just to see if it does improve.

The best place to find Lacey Dailey is with her nose in a book. She’s a sucker for a good love story and a happy ending that has her swooning. When she’s not obsessing over giving her own characters a happy ending, you can find her in the dance studio empowering young dancers and giving out tons of stickers. Thanks to her mother’s pizzeria, Lacey can make a delicious pizza. 

When she’s not putting on her dance shoes or inhaling a slice of pizza, she’s in front of her computer binge watching romantic comedies and penning stories with love so powerful, it’ll last a lifetime. As a recent graduate of Central Michigan University, Lacey intends to keep inspiring people through dance and lots and lots of words. She currently lives in Central Michigan surrounded by her family and unpredictable weather. 


In light of last week's events, this review is dedicated to Gun Control because I'm so tired of guns. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence  Everytown for Gun Safety   International Action Network on Small Arms (I have a very long list of charities bookmarked to feature and these were the first gun control ones I saw)
Hug your loved ones, smile at strangers, let people know they're amazing. Until next time, have a happily ever after.

Stacking the Shelves ★ 2

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

I'm going to be taking part in the weekly book meme, Stacking The Shelves, because I seem to be acquiring a lot of books and I want to share all the books. I'll be sharing a few of my recent(ish) acquisitions here every Sunday and if you want to join in the fun, you can click the link above and get all the info about Stacking the Shelves.
As always, clicking each book cover will take you to its Goodreads page and I'll give you the Goodreads synopsis with each book because I care about you and the books. I'm a total book pimp.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets
From the national bestselling author of Breaking Wild, here is a riveting and powerful thriller about a woman whose greatest threat could be the man she loves.…

Marian Engström has found her true calling: working with rescue dogs to help protect endangered wildlife. Her first assignment takes her to northern Alberta, where she falls in love with her mentor, the daring and brilliant Tate. After they’re separated from each other on another assignment, Marian is shattered to learn of Tate’s tragic death. Worse still is the aftermath in which Marian discovers disturbing inconsistencies about Tate’s life, and begins to wonder if the man she loved could have been responsible for the unsolved murders of at least four women.

Hoping to clear Tate’s name, Marian reaches out to a retired forensic profiler who’s haunted by the open cases. But as Marian relives her relationship with Tate and circles ever closer to the truth, evil stalks her every move.… 

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia
Her heart has to break before it can open.

When star soccer player Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend’s dark secret, she confronts him―and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton’s knee―and maybe her dream of going pro―is shattered. Everyone is talking: Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth, even if no one believes her.

He has to let someone in before it’s too late.

With her future on the line, Peyton goes to stay with her uncle in a small Tennessee town to focus on her recovery. Dating is the last thing on her mind―until she meets sweet, sexy Owen Law.

But Peyton doesn’t trust her heart, especially when she senses that Owen is hiding something. When their secrets are finally exposed, Peyton has to decide if love is worth fighting for.

Meet Me in Outer Space by Melinda Grace
Smart and unflinching, this #OwnVoices debut contemporary novel stars an ambitious college student who refuses to be defined by her central auditory processing disorder.

Edie Kits has a learning disability. Well, not a learning disability exactly, but a disability that impacts her learning. It isn't visible, it isn't obvious, and it isn't something she likes to advertise.

And for three semesters of college, her hard work and perseverance have carried her through. Edie thinks she has her disability under control until she meets her match with a French 102 course and a professor unwilling to help her out.

Edie finds herself caught between getting the help she needs and convincing her professor that she isn't looking for an easy out. Luckily for Edie, she has an amazing best friend, Serena, who is willing to stitch together a plan to ensure Edie's success. And then there's Hudson, the badly dressed but undoubtedly adorable TA in her French class who finds himself pulled into her orbit...

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Meet Me in Outer Space is a sweet, heartachingly real story of love and college life by debut author Melinda Grace.

Nolan Grant is sixteen, gay, and (definitely) still a virgin. He's never had a boyfriend, or even been kissed. It's not like Penn Valley is brimming with prospects. And when his big sister stages an elaborate “prom-posal” so Nolan can ask out his not-so-secret crush, Nolan freezes. He's saved from further embarrassment by bad boy Bern, who, for his own reasons, offers to fake-date Nolan.

Nolan thinks it's the perfect way to get Daphne off his back and spend the rest of the year drawing narwhals, tending to plants, and avoiding whatever died under his bed a few weeks ago. What he doesn't think about is Bern's ex-girlfriend, who seriously wants to kill him.

Okay, that's it for this episode, y'all. I'm off to the DMV tomorrow to transfer my license over to Florida because I apparently need a state ID to chaperone field trips. Whoops! Talk amongst yourselves, I guess?