Sugar & Gold (Dreamcatchers Book 2) by Emma Scott

Sugar & Gold (Dreamcatchers Book 2) by Emma Scott

Sugar & Gold Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Sugar & Gold by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Sugar & Gold is the second book in Emma Scott’s Dreamcatchers series, but as a standalone novel, you can comfortably read this amazing book without having read the first in the series (although I highly recommend reading How to Save a Life anyway—my review can be found here). Like the first book, this one contains what I’d categorize as a touch of paranormal. It’s so well-incorporated into the characterization that it doesn’t feel like a paranormal story though, so definitely don’t let that scare you off from reading if you’re not a fan of paranormal romance.

Nikolai Young was born with a gift he’d rather not have. His ability to know people’s emotions set him apart from a young age and caused his father to leave and his mother to think he had the devil inside him. He spends his life running from his ability, crisscrossing the country to keep his gift from overwhelming him. He plays poker to win just enough money to live off of and then moves on. Until he meets Fiona, the woman who calms the chaos of his gift.

Fiona Starling has a dream of moving to Costa Rica. The bright colors and lush greenery will help her escape her ugly past. She’s already begun rebuilding her life on her own terms, and a one-night stand with a tattooed stranger fits the bill of doing whatever she wants in the moment. Their physical connection is so strong right from the start that Fiona and Nik can’t seem to stay away from each other. But both of them have inner demons to deal with before they can find peace with each other.

I have yet to read a book by Ms. Scott I didn’t love, and this one was no different. It captured my heart right from the start with Nik’s poor, tortured soul just trying to find a little peace. I also loved sweet Fiona, so happy and carefree on the outside but with a difficult past she kept buried inside. The character growth in this book was a joy to watch. Nik and Fiona each had issues to come to grips with, and they knew they couldn’t depend on the other as their sole resource.

As with all of Ms. Scott’s books I’ve read so far, this story is full of passion and emotion. The author has a way of making you feel everything right along with the characters. I am a fan for life of Ms. Scott’s work and will be eagerly awaiting each of her new releases.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

Advertisements

Crossing the Barrier by Martine Lewis

Crossing the Barrier by Martine Lewis

Crossing the Barrier Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Crossing the Barrier by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Lily Morgan and Malakai Thomas couldn’t be more different as high school students. Lily is a clarinetist in the band, and Malakai is the star wide receiver of the football team. Their worlds don’t fit together. Yet when Malakai bumps into Lily and puts her in the hospital with a head injury, the two can’t get each other out of their minds. Lily has the ability to feel everyone’s emotions around her, and her ability to shield out this talent is lost after her injury. The growing attraction between these coming of age students is tested by the collision of the differences between their social circles, and Lily and Malakai must learn to navigate these potholes and fight to stay together.

Crossing the Barrier is a well-written coming of age story with great lessons for young adult readers. It provides an intense look at social stigmas and diversity. I loved the addition of Malakai’s racial mixture, that it wasn’t one hundred percent apparent but it did play a role in the story. The characters were relatively well-developed, and the attraction was set at a decent pace.

The story moved a little too slowly for me and contained a lot of cliché tropes: neither character having the guts to admit their feelings, getting interrupted when trying to talk about feelings, deciding something for the other character. Perhaps a young adult will relate better to these issues, but as an adult who enjoys reading Young Adult novels, this one just didn’t hit home for me. Some plot points were too over the top to be believable, and although I can set aside certain beliefs for fiction, the extremities of this story made me lose interest at times.

The paranormal aspect was minimal within the story, which made its inclusion somewhat awkward. Lily was able to feel the emotions of those around her, giving her somewhat of a truth barometer. After her collision with Malakai, she lost the ability to shield herself from people’s emotions, resulting in her being overwrought with emotions when in public. But this wasn’t tied to the plot too deeply until the end of the story, mostly as a setup for the next book.

Overall, the book just missed having any type of wow factor for me. The writing was good and it was edited well, which is something that is sorely lacking in many novels these days so that was a plus. It just didn’t have enough holding it together for it to make a positive impression.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

How to Save a Life by Emma Scott

How to Save a Life by Emma Scott

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of How to Save a Life by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Josephine Clark is scarred in more ways than one. Weeks away from graduating high school and starting out on her own, she meets Evan Salinger, the town freak. Evan has been labeled a mental case by the rest of the students. He claims to see things in his dreams he otherwise has no way of knowing, and Jo is warned to stay away from him. But Jo is a freak in her own mind, and the pair quickly find solace in each other, building a soul-deep relationship. With Evan by her side, Jo’s future looks a little brighter, until they’re ripped apart by circumstances outside their control.

Several years later, Jo is hanging on by a thread. When Evan finds her, the thread snaps and they have to go on the run from the law. Evan’s visions keep them moving in what he’s sure is the right direction, although things only seem to be getting worse from Jo’s perspective. It’ll take a lot of faith for them to finally be able to live the life they’ve dreamed of all these years.

How to Save a Life is a second chance romance with a bit of paranormal fueling the plot. Even if you’re not a fan of paranormal stories, this is one book you should take a chance on. The paranormal aspect is so well incorporated it feels like a natural part of Evan’s character. He’s just a regular high school kid who happens to have dreams that end up coming true. He intensely feels the visions, and they guide all his decisions in life. Because of their love—an emotion foreign to both main characters at the start of the novel—Jo is able to trust in Evan’s instincts even if she doesn’t understand them. The journey this takes them on is intense and thrilling, resulting in a book I couldn’t put down once I started reading it.

Both Jo and Evan are flawed characters, which made me love them all the more. Issues in Jo’s past have shaped who she is now, and it’s easy to understand why she doesn’t trust many people. Evan knows he can’t depend on anyone but himself, and he also understands there are sacrifices he has to make in order to reach his destiny. He has to trust his visions, even when he doesn’t fully understand them.

The romance between the two was well-developed even though it occurred over a short period of time. It was clear these two people were meant to be together, but the journey throughout the book made for a wild ride that kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting and hoping they would find their happily-ever-after.

Ms. Scott has a way with drawing out emotions to pull the reader into the world of her characters. Several times I was in tears over these characters. I highly recommend this book and will definitely read more by this author.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

Talent (Descended from Myth Book 2) by Erin McFadden

Talent (Descended from Myth Book 2) by Erin McFadden

Talent Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Talent by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Claire Montgomery is a Talent who doesn’t trust the very organization charged with protecting her. She is able to see into people’s minds and help correct things that are wrong, this Talent descended from the original nine muses. But when using her Talent, Claire develops headaches and other problems, and those around her are at a loss as to why. Now she’s about to be assigned her own Watcher from the Guardians, and she’ll have to figure out who she can really trust to keep her safe.

Porter McGavin has PTSD from serving in the military. He suffers alone, until he’s offered a position with the Guardians and he finally finds a place he fits in. When temporarily assigned to watch Claire, the two find an unexplained connection, but with Claire’s trust issues and Porter’s past coming back to haunt him, it will be a race against the clock to save both their lives.

Talent is book two of the Descended from Myth series and is a paranormal romance. Although a standalone book, there were some issues that were not fully discussed in this book, which may have been more thoroughly delved into in book one. Claire’s past was alluded to many times, and I had a general idea of what had happened to her, but there were missing pieces of information that might have rounded out my understanding of her character.

The first half of the book moved too slowly to hold my attention. The narrative was very telling, trying to catch the reader up on events that had already happened, and we learned about the characters through narrative rather than through actions.

Although the book got off to a very slow start, the second half was much more action packed and held my interest more. The plot was interesting, and I appreciated the connection between Claire and Porter and how their lives were intertwined once things got moving. The way all the pieces of the puzzle came together was satisfying and entertaining.

There were a lot of tense changes, which drew me out of the story, among other editing errors. Long paragraphs where one person’s dialogue was mixed with another person’s thoughts were also distracting. I had a difficult time visualizing Porter because the picture on the cover didn’t match his description in the book. My attention to the plot would have been stronger without these disruptions.

Three stars for this interesting paranormal romance.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

Guardian (The Guardian Trilogy Book 1) by Sara Mack

Guardian (The Guardian Trilogy Book 1) by Sara Mack

Guardian Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Guardian by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Overcome with grief after losing the love of her life, Emma Donohue tries to put her life back together with the help of her best friend, a new job, and the interest of new friend Dane. But James’ voice in her head makes her think she’s going crazy. When she sees James—really sees him—she has to decide if hallucinations are taking over her life or if what James tells her about himself is true.

Guardian is book one in The Guardian Trilogy and is a paranormal romance between Emma and a new love interest, Dane, after Emma’s boyfriend James is killed in a car accident. The premise of the story was enthralling. James appeared to Emma and explained how he became a Guardian and what that entailed while allowing him to visit her from time to time. But in visiting her, he was also witnessing her life and how she was moving on. Emma was consumed with guilt over James’ death, believing it was her fault, and also didn’t want to move on since she still loved James so much. She had some difficult decisions to make throughout the book.

Starting with James’ death, the book backtracked a bit through Emma’s memories to show how their relationship came about. A little too much information was provided while still not truly selling me on their great love. Little tidbits of paranormal activity were hinted at in the beginning, but the first part of the book dragged for me before things really got moving.

The story did pick up pace and keep me interested until the end, although I had trouble with the timing of the plot. The entire book took place over about three months, and Emma’s best friend was pressuring her to move on with another guy only a month after James’ death. Dane also was a bit too forward for my liking. He would say he didn’t want to pressure Emma and understood she was grieving, but his actions were entirely contradictory. I did see a bit more connection between Emma and Dane though.

There were some editing and formatting problems, but one thing that confused me more than anything was a major part of the paranormal aspect. When James was with Emma, he wasn’t able to touch her. Hands and bodies passed through each other, but then they were able to hold hands, put arms around each other, and kiss.

This was a solid plot that left the door open for book two of the series without a cliffhanger but had some definite room for improvement.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan

Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan

Mountain Charm Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Mountain Charm by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Do Appalachian Mountain witches really exist? That’s exactly what Dylan Thomas sets out to find out in the sweet love story, Mountain Charm. Sydney Logan has created another engaging plot, and you’ll be convinced that love charms and healers are real.

Angelina Clark casts a spell on her thirteenth birthday, just like her female ancestors before her have, to find her true love when she turns twenty-one. Unfortunately, by the time of her twenty-first birthday life has dealt her a sour hand and she no longer wants any part of the spell. She believes the attraction she feels to journalist Dylan Thomas isn’t real, and neither is his devotion to her.

But with Dylan’s persistence and her mother’s love, Angelina begins to realize that even if the charm played a part in bringing her love to her, it has no part in keeping them together. Dylan’s not perfect, and he has issues of his own to resolve, so they’ll need to work together like any other couple to make their relationship successful.

If you’re looking for a charming love story, look no further than Mountain Charm. This is another well-written tale with just enough family issues and outside interference to balance the sweetness. I loved that the hero wasn’t the run of the mill alpha male. He had flaws to overcome, making him more believable. And although the story was mostly focused on Angelina, Dylan also had family issues to resolve, adding depth to his character and the plot.

Ms. Logan is a master at happily ever afters, and this book did not disappoint. I look forward to reading more by her in the future.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

The Kiss: The Cotiere Chronicles Book 1 by Michelle Bolanger

The Kiss: The Cotiere Chronicles Book 1 by Michelle Bolanger

The Kiss Cover

Summary

Best friends since birth, Leisel Gottschalk and Baden Dietrich are months away from the ceremony that will unite them forever, until Baden learns that everything they’ve been told about their arranged union is based on lies. He knows he has to let her go, but getting her away from their family will cost them everything.

Koen Lockton is determined to make the most of his life. He’s just signed a recording and tour contract that will jump start his music career. With one year of school left before he hits the road, his life changes in a way he never would have dreamed when he hears Leisel Gottschalk’s laugh. But when she fails to recognize him for what he is, he knows something is terribly wrong.

Driven into hiding and divided by an ancient wrong, a forgotten race of people are nearing extinction. Old traditions and long held grudges will be exposed and challenged when one man risks it all to right the wrong he caused and three young lives are caught in the middle. Will they be strong enough to change the future and unite a broken people? All it will take is a single kiss, but are they willing to break her family rules?

Rach Lawrence Books Review

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of The Kiss by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

The Kiss is a clean paranormal romance about Leisel Gottchalk coming of age and finding her mate. Born without the sense of smell, Leis is afraid she will be unable to bond with best friend and intended Baden Dietrick when the time comes. Their people are near extinction and are depending on Leis and Baden to mate and reproduce, but Baden knows he and Leis aren’t really meant for each other.

The story is an interesting one, beginning with Leis trying to find feelings for Baden that just aren’t there. All her life she’s been told it’s her fault because she has no sense of smell, but the true problem is that Leis and Baden are being forced into something that isn’t meant to be. I loved the way the author contrasted Leis’ feelings for Baden with her feelings for Koen once he entered the picture. Certainly any girl would be attracted to Koen, the sexy musician, but Leis recognizes there is something different about the way she feels for Koen even when she can’t smell him like the rest of the females of her race.

Set in modern times, the book is about a supernatural race nearing extinction. I enjoyed the world the author created and how the Cotiere was able to live in everyday society without being discovered. The plot of Leis, Koen, and Baden having to fight against their own people lured me in and kept me reading. I liked the way the book was set up with a letter or snippet of information in the beginning of each chapter.

Unfortunately, there were quite a few errors, which drew me out of the story—things like incorrect or missing words and comma and apostrophe misuse. There were also some inconsistencies within the story, some actions that felt like the came out of nowhere, and some plot points that were forgotten at times.

I did enjoy reading the book but would love to see it better edited for grammar and content.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

Author Bio

Michelle Bolanger has been an avid reader all her life. In 2014 and with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to take the leap and publish her own books. The Kiss is her first full length novel and the beginning of what is to be a four book series titled The Cotiere Chronicles. Michelle is also a talented vocalist and amateur photographer. She enjoys going on cruises, cheering for her favorite professional hockey team, and falling asleep to the sound of auto racing on TV. Michelle lives in Ohio with her husband and two dogs.

The Tower (Psionic Pentalogy Book 2) by Adrian Howell

The Tower (Psionic Pentalogy Book 2) by Adrian Howell

The Tower Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of The Tower by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

At thirteen, Adrian Howell has already lived a full life as a wild-born telekinetic. He’s happy to be settling down in the heart of the new psionic city of New Haven. He freely joins the Guardians, hoping they’ll be able to help him rescue his sister from the Angels. But life as a Guardian means intense combat training of more than his telekinetic powers.

Terry is Adrian’s combat trainer, and she also becomes a friend—something Adrian doesn’t have many of. But the rigorous training makes Adrian uncomfortable. He has no interest in shooting a gun or being able to kill someone with his hands. Even more uncomfortable are his recurring nightmares, indicating something hiding inside his mind. Adrian will have to unlock his own secrets before someone he cares about gets hurt.

The Tower is book two in the Psionic Pentalogy series, and it starts right where book one left off. It’s a thrilling addition to the series, continuing on Adrian’s journey into the world of psionics as he learns how to use his powers and fights for what he believes in. While the main characters are young, the book deals with some death and killing, as Adrian lives in a world where he doesn’t get to be a regular kid.

Once again, I enjoyed watching Adrian’s struggle to make grown-up decisions when he was still just a kid. The author did a wonderful job of presenting Adrian’s attempt to be a normal thirteen-year-old and handle mature situations at the same time. He had to work through feelings for Terry in a normal young teen way while he was also struggling with his own identity. Adrian didn’t know who he really was, what he was capable of, or what normal was for him. He discovered all of this throughout the story. The addition of dealing with his feelings for Alia, his pseudo-sister, made for a wonderful emotional journey.

The plot was well thought-out, leaving little kernels throughout in a way that really made the reader think about the details. Although I knew who the betrayer was and why they betrayed the Guardians before it was revealed, the author did a good job keeping the suspense going. The story still came to a gripping climax, and it even had more issues to resolve and character growth beyond that.

This book is part of a series and best enjoyed when read in order, but enough background information was provided to be read as a standalone. The story had a satisfying conclusion while still leaving doors open for the next book in the series. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

Wild-born (Psionic Pentalogy Book 1) by Adrian Howell

Wild-born (Psionic Pentalogy Book 1) by Adrian Howell

Wild-born Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

At twelve years old, Adrian Howell discovers he has telekinetic powers. He can move things with his mind and blast holes in stuff. But what starts as a fun way to entertain himself and his younger sister turns into a curse when his family is attacked and warring psionic factions want Adrian and his powers for their own.

Not knowing who to trust, Adrian spends time on his own before being found by another wild-born psionic and taken into her family. There he meets Alia, a wild-born healer who can speak directly into people’s minds and who becomes like a little sister to him. Adrian doesn’t give up on finding his real sister though, and he and Alia wind up in a lot more trouble than they bargained for. He’ll need to keep his promise to protect Alia while also finding a way to save them both.

Wild-born is a thrilling young adult paranormal fantasy that had me glued to my seat. Although it is book one in a series, it is a complete story on its own that will compel you to read the next book. I quickly became attached to the main characters and look forward to reading more about their lives.

The story is definitely geared toward the young teen audience, but that doesn’t mean adults won’t appreciate it also. The main character is only twelve at the start of the book, and I enjoyed watching him feel his way through situations he had no experience with. Several times he got himself into trouble by just being the kid that he was, but he realized his mistakes and was able to learn from them like any kid should. The problem was that Adrian’s world was more life-threatening than most kids’, resulting in more dangerous situations.

The various powers exhibited by the characters were interesting, and I loved learning about the psionic world along with Adrian. Watching him piece together the way each power could be used in the situation he was stuck in was fascinating.

The dialogue felt a bit stiff sometimes with repetition of the name of the character being spoken to, but overall this was a minor issue in an otherwise great story.

I read this book along with my middle school-aged child, and we both truly enjoyed it and are looking forward to reading more of the series.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

By Sea (Supernatural Renegades Book 1) by Carly Fall

By Sea (Supernatural Renegades Book 1) by Carly Fall

By Sea Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

Brody Teller doesn’t have much left in life. As a former Marine, the government has demanded his silence and is forcing him to live a quiet life, hiding the fact that while on his last mission, an explosion left him with a supernatural power. He has a connection to the ocean—so much so that if he’s away from it for too long he becomes ill. When he’s offered a job that gets him out from under the government’s thumb while also putting him on a boat full time, he has nothing to lose and takes the job of Captain and security guard.

Rayna Lopez is trying to work her way up from her desk job in the CIA. But when her father asks for her help to protect her sister, Rayna accepts because family comes first. The sisters board a yacht to help keep them out of harm’s way while their father deals with her sister’s stalker. Rayna feels an attraction to Captain Brody, the man she was previously assigned to check on who she knows has a supernatural ability. But with their time short and danger lurking, starting a relationship is the last thing either of them can afford. Brody’s on the run from the government and Rayna needs to return to her government job, so they’re doomed before they even get started.

By Sea is a contemporary paranormal romance with a touch of military, some action, and some drama. The hero is a former Marine, and we see a bit of his past and the mission that ended his military career. There’s also involvement from a drug cartel. The hero and heroine have to work together to save Rayna’s sister in addition to their budding romance. The paranormal aspect comes in the form of Brody’s ability to control the water. Dolphins seem to flock to him and communicate with him, but his moods are also reflected in the temperament of the ocean.

The plot was interesting and had a nice mix between the romance, drama, and action, keeping me engaged and curious to know what was going to happen next. Brody’s supernatural ability was an interesting addition, although it didn’t seem to add much to the story. We were shown how it worked early in the story and little bits were carried through Brody’s point of view, but other than using the power once during the climax it didn’t have much impact on the rest of the plot.

Some parts of the plot didn’t quite fit and drew me out of the story. Rayna’s father was head of a drug cartel, which happened to be involved in Brody’s accident—a little too convenient and not really necessary. What really threw me was that Rayna could be part of the CIA without anyone knowing her father was the leader of the drug cartel. It was explained as not being listed on her birth certificate, but considering how she had continued contact with him her whole life, it wasn’t plausible that she could have gotten through a background check. There was also a specific reference to Rayna being denied an agency cell phone because of her family lineage, so someone must have known her link to her father. I was able to figure out the issue that led to the boat’s whereabouts being located without any problem, which dampened the climax for me.

While some chapters were short and choppy, some of the story focused too much on telling instead of showing, and there was too much repetition. Although told in dual points of view, the repetition came more from the actual narrative rather than overlapping scenes told by both characters. I also found the dialogue a bit stiff and unnatural.

Even with some editing errors that I found while reading, I mostly enjoyed the plot. Although part of a series, this book is a standalone. Three stars for this supernatural romance.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 bn-logo-80x80gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach