The Accidental Assassin by Nichole Chase

The Accidental Assassin by Nichole Chase
Series: The Assassins #1
Published by CreateSpace on November 28, 2014
Genres: Suspense, Love, Romance
Pages: 354 : Paperback edition
Source: Purchased on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London. When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try.

Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list.

As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?

Nichole Chase’s books always take me on such a fun ride (usually through Europe which is always a huge plus) and there’s romance along the way! Oh my! I loved her Royals series, and thought I would check this one out next and I’m so glad I did. Ava has got to be one of my new top favorite characters; she’s got so much spunk and attitude (plus loves to curse? Um hello, how can you not love her?) and she gets to run from life-threatening situations with a hot hunky British man at her side.

In all seriousness though, I did love this book. I’m not usually drawn to assassin style novels, but through a little romance in the midst of it all, and you’ve got me hooked! Owen’s character was so dark and mysterious, but once we got to know him, along with Ava, he showed his true side and that was an awesome experience as well.

The only thing I can wish for now is a sequel or spin off! I want to go exploring with these characters a little bit more and find out what’s in store for them next!

(I also appreciated the nod towards the Royals series by mentioning their country and one of its characters. Super cool!)

The Heiresses by Sara Shepard

The Heiresses by Sara Shepard
Series: The Heiresses #1
Published by Harper on May 20, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 320 : Hardcover edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
Add to Goodreads

You know the Saybrooks. Everyone does. Perhaps you’ve read a profile of them in People or have seen their pictures in the society pages of Vogue. Perhaps while walking along that choice block on Fifth Avenue, you’ve been tempted to enter the ornate limestone building with their family name etched into the pediment above the door.

The only thing more flawless than a Saybrook’s diamond solitaire is the family behind the jewelry empire. Beauties, entrepreneurs, debutantes, and style mavens, they are the epitome of New York City’s high society. But being a Saybrook comes at a price—they are heirs not only to a dizzying fortune but also to a decades-old family curse.

Tragedy strikes the prominent family yet again when thirty-four-year-old Poppy, the most exquisite Saybrook of them all, flings herself from the window of her TriBeCa office. Everyone is shocked that a woman who had it all would end her own life. Then her cousins receive an ominous threat: one heiress down, four to go.

Was it suicide… or murder? In the aftermath of the tragedy, the remaining heiresses—Corinne, the perfectionist; Rowan, the workaholic; Aster, the hedonist; and Natasha, the enigma—wrestle with feelings of sadness, guilt, and, most of all, fear. Now they must uncover the truth about their family before they lose the only thing money can’t buy: their lives.

Ah, Sara Shepard. Your novels are so predictable and follow the same patterns, yet I’m pulled in every time. I read the Pretty Little Liars series years ago when it first came out, and haven’t revisited it since, but I do know this follows distinctly that same style.

We’re introduced to a slew of characters right off the bat and for a little while I had a hard time keeping everyone in place, but after awhile it got easier once I figured out which one’s I connected to the most and which one’s I started to suspect had played a hand in all the tragedies that were going on in the Saybrook family.

While I didn’t see the plot twist at the end coming (or who was the culprit for that matter) most everything else was trashy and predictable…and I LOVED it. I’m not really sure what it is with my fascination of these books (i.e. Gossip Girl, The Clique, etc.) that take these very rich and privileged characters and throw them all these impossible and improbable situations to deal with. Maybe it’s the whole idea of wanting to read about something that you don’t have. Whatever the case, if you don’t like trashy novels like that I wouldn’t really recommend this for you.

It is an easy read though and I plowed through it in just a couple of days. And I, grudgingly, hope there is going to be another one soon since this one sort of left me with a cliffhanger! Can’t wait to see what will happen next!

The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist (Review & Giveaway!)

The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist
Series: The Opal Mask
Published by Running Press on October 28, 2014
Genres: Love, Romance, Royalty, Mystery, Intrigue
Pages: 368 : Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

In the year since she was betrothed to the crown prince of Kyrenica, no one has suspected that the Masked Princess has been a decoy. That Elara, the secret twin sister, has been pretending to be

Princess Wilha all along. The royal family has kept Elara’s identity hidden from the world, and for the girls, swapping lives has not been easy. Galandra is quickly declining, and the sisters continue to be a pawn in the Guardian’s ever-changing endgames.

 

But the stakes rise when Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, takes the Galandrian throne after their father’s death, and he reveals the girls’ deception to Kyrenica’s royal family. Viewed as traitors, Elara and Wilha realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country. However, with only one crown and one throne to overthrow, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, the next savior for their people.

The sequel to the Princess in the Opal Mask.

About Jenny:

Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn’t, but Jenny-Lundquist-Author1they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world’s whiniest cat.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Pinterest | Goodreads

 

This review is spoiler free!

Jenny Lundquist has done it again with another decadent and thrilling novel in the Opal Mask series! Right from the beginning we are thrown back into this (sometimes terrible) world of deception and intrigue. I really liked how Elara and Wilha seemed to have matured and a bit older in this novel, whereas before they were more unsure of themselves. I mean who doesn’t love some kick-ass leading female characters?

Galandria (still loving that name) is thrown in turmoil and tons of civil unrest as the royals try to figure out who to trust and who to keep close to them. Despite how decadent the name sounds, Galandria itself is pretty much in shambles as the citizens are scrambling together to find basic necessities for themselves, while keeping revolution and uprisings at the forefronts of their minds.

I wish there could have been more at the end, but the epilogue sort of sated my appetite for that. Is it too much to hope for another novel in the series? It would be interesting to see the story from Andrei’s point of view a little more, since he is as conflicted as his sisters. Definitely a 5 out of 5 star book!

 

Giveaway Details:

(1) Winner will receive a $25 Amazon or Barnes &Noble Gift card and a set of THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK and THE OPAL CROWN. US Only.

(4) Winners will receive a set of THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK and THE OPAL CROWN. US Only.

 

Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

theopalcrown

Tour Schedule

Week One:

10/20/2014- Tales of the Marvelous– Review

10/21/2014- The Reading Nook Reviews– Interview

10/22/2014- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

10/23/2014- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

10/24/2014- The Paige-Turner– Review

Week Two:

10/27/2014- A Backwards Story Interview

10/28/2014- Bibliophilia, Please– Review

10/29/2014- Stories & SweetiesGuest Post

10/30/2014- Jessabella Reads– Review

10/31/2014-  Me, My Shelf and I Guest Post

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
Series: The Opal Mask
Published by Running Press on October 22, 2013
Genres: Love, Romance, Royalty, Mystery, Intrigue
Pages: 352 : Paperback
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Add to Goodreads

Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price. . .

Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria’s royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face—including Wilha herself.

When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks.

I picked this up pretty much solely for the cover alone, but boy am I glad I did! Not only is the cover gorgeous, but the story itself is so much more in depth than I thought it would be!

We are brought into this often unfair world of Elara and Wilha, as they are surrounded by the opulence of castles, beautiful dresses and masks, and jewels. I loved reading the descriptions of all of the items, but more than that I loved how the story takes us on this journey of self-discovery for the girls.

Despite the fact that there is a boat load of royalty in this book, I thought it was interesting to see how the girls dealt with the situations very differently in a very real manner. I felt that these characters, while doubting themselves, were both very strong and could easily walk off the page and exist in the real world.

If you’re going to read this settle in for a long night because you will not want to put it down! And I can’t wait to start reading the next one! Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year!

Rogue Angel #2: Solomon’s Jar by Alex Archer

Solomon’s Jar by Alex Archer
Series: Rogue Angel
Published by Graphic Audio on March 1, 2007
Genres: Action, Adventure, Mystery
Pages: 360 : Audio CD
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Add to Goodreads

In the second installment of Alex Archer’s Rogue Angel saga, which features protagonist Annja Creed (spiritual descendant Joan of Arc and her fated successor as “champion of the good”), the intrepid archeologist sets off to find Solomon’s Jar, an invaluable biblical artifact that King Solomon allegedly used to entrap the numerous demons he used to build his temple in Jerusalem.

With the help of her enigmatic mentor, a centuries-old man named Roux, Creed sets off to verify if the Jar — believed to be forever lost at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea — was in fact recovered. Following leads from Peru to the Netherlands to Israel to Brazil, Creed struggles to stay one step ahead of gun-toting factions (including Russian mobsters, English cultists, and the fanatical followers of a charismatic kabbalist) bent on finding and exploiting the Jar’s supernatural powers. But once Creed locates Solomon’s Jar, will its intrinsically evil powers influence her resolve to do God’s will?

I’ve come to realize that I love listening to these audio books more than reading the actual book itself. There’s just so much more adventure thrown in and Graphic Audio does all these great sound effects as well which really add to the story. I guess there slogan “A movie in your mind,” is the best way to describe it.

As for this story itself, I didn’t like this Rogue Angel as much as previous one’s that I’ve read. I felt there was way too many fighting scenes thrown in and not a lot of historical focus on Solomon’s Jar itself, let alone the hunt for it. I guess I just wasn’t that impressed with this ghost writer’s way of writing.

Annja herself though, the main character, stays as kick ass as ever and continues to string me along on her adventures. I cannot wait to start listening to the next one in the series!

The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire by Iain Reading

The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire by Iain Reading
Series: The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire #1
Published by Self Published by the Author on April 1st, 2014
Genres: Action, Adventure, Mystery
Pages: 303 : Paperback
Source: Received from the author for an honest review
Add to Goodreads

This first book of the Wizards of Waterfire series tells the story of Memphis Grey, a teenage girl with an extraordinary secret. Born with a special gift to summon and control the elemental building blocks of nature – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – Memphis and the other members of her ancient guild of wizards have the power to shape these elements and use the resulting energy to weave a form of primordial magic.

A seemingly ordinary group of friends on the outside, Memphis and her fellow wizards gather each week to practice their magical skills at the local shopping mall where a clandestine set of stairs leads to a secret room hidden at the top of a decorative lighthouse. Only those in the know can recognize the distinctive image of the lighthouse as a clue to a hidden reality lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world. Hiding in plain sight, each lighthouse marks the hidden meeting place of one of the guilds of the elusive Wizards of Waterfire.

But despite their remarkable powers none of them are immortal and after tragedy strikes in a flash of screeching tires and twisted metal, Memphis and the others watch helplessly as their whole world starts to fall apart right in front of their eyes. Faced with the prospect of having to disband their guild unless they can find a new member to join them, Memphis and her friends set out to recruit Flynn, a handsome and mysterious new student at their local high school. He is the perfect choice to restore the elemental balance, but when things don’t turn out quite as planned they find themselves swept along on an amazing journey that takes them to the ancient and magical places of the Waterfire guilds, uncovering dark secrets and long-forgotten histories as they go, until finally hurtling them toward a dramatic confrontation with another of the five ancient guilds – the mysterious and powerful guild of the EarthAir wizards.

Iain Reading never disappoints me with his novels! He has dipped into new waters with this new fantasy series and I say to Mr. Reading never look back! This was such a fantastic novel to a start of a series and I cannot wait to see what he will crank out next.

I was so pulled into the world he built surrounding these wonderful characters. I have said before that Iain Reading creates characters that feel so real you could walk down the street and run into them.

Anyways, the Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire was fantastic! I loved the mix between adventure, mystery, and of course the magical abilities of these extraordinary characters and how they could been the elements to their will. Usually when I hear of a series that has to do with elements and magical abilities I am dulled to sleep, but this was the complete opposite! My eyes could not move across the pages fast enough to find out what was going to happen next! So many plot twists and turns and I was on the edge of my (figurative) seat!

A great novel overall and I can’t wait to see what Iain Reading will pump out next! I await his next novel with much impatience! 🙂

Rogue Angel #1: Destiny by Alex Archer

Destiny by Alex Archer
Series: Rogue Angel
Published by Graphic Audio on February 1, 2007
Genres: Action, Adventure, Mystery
Pages: 360 : Audio CD
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Add to Goodreads

An ancient order tied to the Vatican . . . A blood fortune buried in the caves of France . . . A conspiracy of power, greed and darkest evil . . .

Archaeologist and explorer Annja Creed’s fascination with the myths and mysteries of the past leads her to a crypt in the caves of France, where the terrifying legend of the Beast of Gevaudin hints at the unimaginable. What she discovers is shattering: an artifact that will seal her destiny: a brotherhood of monks willing to murder to protect their secret; and a powerful black-market occultist desperate to put his own claim to centuries-old blood money. Annja embarks on a high-tension race across Europe and history itself, intent on linking the unholy treachery of the ages with the staggering revelations of the present. But she must survive the shadow figures determined to silence her threat to their existence.

I listened to the audiobook version of this whilst on vacation and it was fantastic! The company that produces the audiobooks for this series throws in extra things like background effects and music, different people to voice different characters, and so much more! The story felt so real because each character sounded so different and distinct and the situations they were going through also felt more realistic with all the real sound effects. I highly recommend checking out the audiobooks if you are unsure if you want to start this series!

Anyways, as for the story itself: phenomenal! I read another book later in this same series and decided I wanted to start from the beginning and go through the whole series.

Our main character Annja Creed is such a kick ass! She’s strong and fierce and doesn’t take crap from anyone. She is also extremely resourceful and smart and add that all to the fact that she’s this super cool archeologist is just a cherry on the top.

The story itself was really interesting too. I really like that these books incorporate a ton of history and real facts so that you have a better understanding of what is going on. I also like that there is a certain sliver of fantastical elements throughout the story to push it over the top as a really wonderful novel.

I honestly can’t wait to read the rest of this series. Each book is so well done and distinct that you can certainly read them on their own, but I can’t wait to see how little things will add up or appear again later on!