Book Stop – ARC Review – Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing (Seven Range Shifters #2) by Kait Ballenger

Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing by Kait Ballenger

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publsihed: June 25, 2019

Series: Seven Range Shifters #2

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

  • I received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review.*

    3.5 Stars rounded up. Full Disclosure I have not read book 1 in this series but I felt like this book held its own pretty dang well. There are hints and its pretty obvious which characters book 1 is about, and honestly any info that was revealed about book one and its plot acted more like a teaser to me, really ramping up my interest enough for me to go search out book 1. That being said book 2 was more than satisfying. The world here is simple enough and bits and pieces of information are thrown in to give enough world building that I never felt lost despite not having the full world build from missing book 1. I would say the only downside of not having read the first in the series before this was when certain characters made their entrance there was almost a sigh of relief from the book, like some imaginary audience in the background had just been waiting for them to show up and I felt like I should love these characters but I didn’t know why lol.

    Cowboy Shifters am I right?! Its like the best of the Western Romance genre combined with the best of the Paranormal romance genre! I would say that you can’t go wrong with this combo… but I’ve seen it happen before. Lucky for me this author does it all kinds of right! We have our Cowboy, MMC Colt, with a secret/mysterious past leading his pack but terrified of loosing it, and our Rogue shifter FMC, Belle, with a tortured loner past searching for a home and pack of her own. In this story Shifters are fighting against Vampires (the yucky evil kind not the sparkly kind.) Vampires have found some sort of scientific serum that will allow them to enslave the wolves they think, but in order to make the serum work they need a pure blood wolf shifter. I will say that the downside of this story line is that the author never really went into details about the Vampires plans and this aspect of the story was secondary to the romance plot line. I feel almost like this was done on purpose as the story continues and maybe these reveals will come later in the series? I would definitely have liked a breakdown though.

    Colt stumbles across Belle during a vampire battle. Belle is on the run after being captured, she is linked with a rogue shifter gang as their Medic. Yes she is a doctor, yes she chose to heal them because she couldn’t in good conscience not perform her duties as said doctor… but that doesn’t make her evil like them.. does it? Colt believes it does, but he is hiding his own past that comes so close to Belle’s its uncanny. Colt’s biggest fear though is loosing his pack due to his past, Belle’s biggest fear is never being accepted by a pack due to her past. These two take the reader on journey about letting fears go, acceptance, and love to last a lifetime.

    I like how there isn’t any “destined mate” going on here. Though I like that also, it was refreshing to just see people opening up old wounds and really growing close to each other without all the insta mate stuff happening. I’m thoroughly intrigued by where this series is headed and I’m already “The Rogue’s” biggest fan even though we only got like 3 paragraphs about him.. I’m feeling him and Maeve but I’ll have to read further to see if my fantasies come to light! Enjoyable straight forward romantic read!

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Book Stop – ARC Review – Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Published: June 25, 2019

Series: The Beast Charmer #1

Genre: NA, Fantasy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I requested and received a copy of this via NetGalley and the publisher SourceBooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review

4-4.5 Stars! What a fantastic ride. This whole concept was right up my ally. Beast charmers, Shadow Assassins, and forbidden romance all twisted up with intrigue and maybe even a little prophecy, all these things were bound to suck me up and they of course did just that. I kept getting so many video game vibes from it. Being a gamer, especially in my younger days, I played so many games where beast tamers, and charmers were actual roles that could be played and so I had such a sense of nostalgia with this book. Even some of the newer games I’ve played like “Monster Hunter World” had some really intense similarities. I love loved this concept! Really the possibilities are endless here when it comes to the different creatures and what they can do. It would take an incredibly vast imagination to tackle something like this. It was very unique and enjoyable read.

FMC, Leena, is a beast charmer, a person who can use their very nature to sooth and tame certain beasts and collect them. Yes this was Pokemon ~esk but really they aren’t going out taming beasts in order to battle them and become the best in the world… Leena tames beasts to give them a good home in the beast world, to love them, and to keep them from those that would misuse them. After being cast out of her homeland after some shadiness and backstabbing, Lenna is living a life in exile dreaming of the home she has lost and spending all of her time trying to get back home. Unfortunately for Leena, the past she has left behind is still hunting her, and now has recruited an immortal assassins guild to do the dirty work. These assassins complete their task or forfeit their own lives in the process. Leena with the help of her beasts thwart the first assassin, and strike a deal with the leader of the guild, NOC. 4 Beasts in exchange for her freedom… Noc and his most trusted 3 guild members journey with her to collect the beasts all the while Noc plots to betray her in the end. That is until Noc starts to fall for her… but Noc has his own curse. One that literally kills everyone who loves him so for Leena to ever have any feelings for him Noc must pay a price. One he had decided already he wouldn’t pay. All the while Leeena’s enemies from home are plotting and planning..

I think, for me, the only thing that was missing was the world building and backstory. There is enough here to picture the scenes so that’s not the issue. But there was not enough for a real understanding of the world itself and how we have gotten where we are. There are vague mentions of a backstory that may or may not really influence the future so I’m thinking that the author may have left this vague so as to go into it later. I would have really liked a little better understanding of what was happening in the world tho. It would have explained why the people in it were making the decisions that they were making. I just didn’t understand really why the antagonists were after Leena.. what was going on in the world that they thought they needed to destroy her to save themselves? I understand not wanting the truth to get out but there was something else going on that we really just didn’t get into enough for me personally.

All in all this was a phenomenal concept that I hope I get to visit a lot in the upcoming years. Super great time!
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Book Stop – ARC Review – Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press

Published: June 18, 2019

Series: Shadow of the Fox #2

Genre: Fantasy, YA

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


3.5-4 stars. Ahhhh, Lets just say I’ve been ruminating on my review for as long as I dared. I’m on the fence.. not because I didn’t like but because I did and at the same time I didn’t get the answers I wanted here in book 2. So now I’m here we are on the cliff edge.. again… still wanting answers from book one and now having to wait till next year? to get the answers. Gah. I love the anime feel and it definitely continues into book 2 of the Shadow of the Fox series. However, now that I think back on my anime experiences.. I remember several times in which it took an entire season in order to defeat one monster. I’m hoping that is not the case here, I feel like our characters are having more and more problems heaped upon them and hope is but a speck on the horizon, or an almost forgotten memory. Like there is some deja vu of hope here.. Got me all twisted!

In the second book, Yumeko’s journey continues to the Steel Feather temple but her heart is set on saving Tatsumi. Yumeko’s dreams are haunted by a white fox who says he can teach her the way to save Tasumi, but the cost is so great. The journey is quite perilous and there was quite a bit of action and intrigue but at the same time Tatsumi is getting farther away. Hakaimono it seems has some ideas of his own and he wants nothing more than to be free of the sword. He teams up with the master of demons with a deal to get the scrolls for him even though demon’s cannot summon the dragon, if the Master will free him from the sword. Yumeko has also been summoned by the Shadow Clan the head Diva herself. It seems there is dissension in the shadow clan revolving around the lost Kage Tatsumi and the Lady wants Tatsumi saved if possible and returned back under her thumb. All the while Yumeko’s entourage grows closer together, and begin to face the trial after trial including which priority is more. Saving Tatsumi? Saving the Empire? Saving the world? The pieces are being arranged if only we knew who the main players would end up being.

The ride has been really great but I need some info stat! I really want answers about Yumeko’s past. Who are all these players? I really loved how in this book Yumeko’s magic got to come out and play for bit. I would LOVE to see more of that. Show us what a Kitsune is really capable of and why they are one of the most revered spirit messengers in Japanese culture. There are just so many mysteries and book 2 just rode us along and didn’t answer any of my questions. As a messenger of the gods shouldn’t she be a tad more on the BAD A side? Bring it! I can’t wait to see where the next book takes us!

*I received an AR copy of this via NetGalley and the publisher Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.*
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Book Stop – ARC Review – The Night House by J. C. McKenzie

Probably need to start start a list.. I am forever starting lists and never pulling all my lists together. Anyways.. this book needs to go on the list of Stand-alone’s that I really wish were a series list .. This is my note to myself and others lol.

The Night House by J.C. McKenzie

Publisher: Backlit Publishing

Published: March 22nd 2019

Genre: Sci fi, Fantasy, Paranormal, NA/Adult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


3.5-4 stars. This was a really intriguing read, with a real unique start. Magical apocalypse + aliens + BAMF FMC assassin.. I mean whats not to love about any of these things. I have to say that I’m really disappointed that this isn’t a series starter.. It had everything there to set up for a series but then kind of abruptly wrapped everything up at the end. At the end I was really hoping to do some research and find that there are some other sequels or a saga or some companion novels but I haven’t found anything yet. Maybe in the future?

We start with our FMC Taya, during a magical apocalypse. A portal has opened and a magical wave comes through and basically incinerates most of the population of earth. As Alien lords come through the portal to round up whoever is left for slavery Taya fights tooth and nail for survival. Attacking the Alien supply carts etc. During one raid everything goes wrong and Taya ends up captured with a choice. Slavery, or 1 year of training with her captor to become the Lord’s right hand woman and assassin with the bonus that she will be killing other aliens from the other houses as necessary. Taya makes her choice and learns more and more about the humanoid race that came through the portal, she learns all about their culture and history. When more and more truth surfaces though Taya must end up choosing the life she has been fighting for or the life she has made.

Really rich world here with tons of potential and honestly I feel like we have just barely scratched the surface. I can’t help but want to know more. The characters had great chemistry though I kind of wish that each individual had a little more depth. I’m on the holding out side that this author is going to take this farther. Either way this book was really good and totally worth the read.

I requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the Publisher Backlit PR in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Stop – ARC Review – The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter – The Binge is real 5 STARS!

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publish Date: June 25, 2019

Series: The Forest of Good and Evil #1

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*I requested and received an AR copy of this via NetGalley and the publisher Harlequin TEEN and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. Tons of thanks for letting me read and review this book Gena Showalter is one of my favorite authors.*

All NIGHT BINGE! Well, you see… what had happened was… I, like an idiot, decided to start this before going to bed.. I should know better, I really should. This is not your typical ever after, it was heartbreaking, gut wrenching, infuriating, and the chemistry between the characters like to scalded my fingertips! This book had one of the most unique takes on a prophecy that I’ve read before keeping the reader guessing till the very end on who’s who, and rooting for the characters with every emotion on the scale.

This is one of those books where the prologue really threw me, not sure why it threw me so much but after that prologue it was almost impossible to focus enough to really fall into the start of the book. I think it had more to do with my ADD than anything as I just couldn’t get the prologue out of my mind and reconcile that brief glimpse we got with the start of this book. So that being said, it was a little difficult to sink into this story, not because of the world building itself but because the backstory was hard to reconcile until further into the story. After a few chapter’s though I was so incredibly hooked that there was no “putting the book down.”

Everly Morrow, our FMC, has been raised in the mortal dimension with no idea that she is a fairy princess, nor does she know that on the day or her birth a prophecy was made tying her fate to a fairy tale. In this case the tail of Snow White. Growing up with her twin sister Hart who is beautiful, communes with animals, and is her greatest and only friend. Everly would do anything for Hart and her family. Her world turns upside down as both her and her sister find out they have supernatural powers. Everly communes with mirrors, unfortunately her power must come from a source because she is a sorcerer decedent.. in this case her source becomes her mother and since she is unable to control her powers her mother ends up dead. In a letter to her daughters Everly’s deceased mother reveals Everly is in fact not her daughter and now she must venture to the land of her birth to find answers and thwart a prophecy as well as meet her true family. This book is absolute evidence that Evil isn’t born but made.. nothing goes right for Everly she gets the short end of the stick in almost every situation. The only good thing, meeting the prince. But isn’t prince charming supposed to love Snow White? All the trials reveal each player in the game, all except the Evil Queen. It can’t be Everly, but if not Everly then who… Maybe everything isn’t black and white because not everyone can be all good, all the time…

The chemistry between Everly and the prince was off the charts, steamy, beautiful and heartbreaking. I just can’t even. This journey was epic but never boring and the twists and turns really made for an incredible ride for the reader. It was just sooo good. I can’t wait to see what other fairy tales are tied in!
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Book Stop – ARC Review – Finale by Stephanie Garber

Finale by Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publish Date: May 7, 2019

Series: Caraval #3

Genre: Fantasy, YA

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Finale was more than just the ending to a magicians game, it was the game of survival and a pick and choose between love, life, or power. Never before have I read a book in a series that instead of being riveted by the book itself I imagined the author writing it. My imaginings took me on a wild journey for book 3 here, in which the author started a series and the story becomes possessed and now the author has to fight to get the story to both come out onto the page as well as shove all the excess back in. All the while the author is battling the “beast,” the story is throwing idea after idea out at the author in attempts to distract her. Until finally she gets everything out she can, barely obtaining her well fought victory feeling exhausted and drained. For me this series has evolved in a manor that goes along with my above imaginings. Book one is calm and seductive luring you into the world just like it did for the author. Book 2 the possession becomes evident and the author is ready for the battle but the distractions being thrown into her mind keep winding up in the story creating a wild ride and mashup of things not seen in book 1. Then there is book 3, which seemed more like a last ditch effort and hail mary pass in an attempt to reach some sort of conclusion or finish line without tripping on any plot holes along the way.

Despite the book coming to a nice conclusion for the series I still feel a little rode hard and put up wet. The suspense created between the constant back and forth for all the characters as well as never knowing who is on top of the pile was quite exhausting for me. I also felt like in book 3 here all my “loves” from book 2 regressed into a hotmess mashup. Tella who in book 2 displayed a strong, driven, heroine personality regressed to naive, wishy washy, pawn here in book 3. Scarlet… in her attempts to become more like Tella causes even more chaos and through everything in this book I just kept thinking.. We have a book about Scarlet, we have a book about Tella, now we need a book where they and all their collected allies in the game tackle a problem together and learn to trust each other despite all the lies in the first 2 books.. Unfortunately this is not what happens. There really never was a “Eureka” moment. It was just every man for himself till the end basically. I felt like this was the book that should have brought everyone together meshed them cohesively and created some extra depth and for me it came up a little short.

The story itself was still enjoyable but it just lacked some finality that with a name like Finale should have been made a little more evident. I mean have they really wrapped anything up? I mean honestly? I feel like we are basically in the same spot as where book 2 left off but with a tad more “agreeable” characters, and some choices that should have been made back at the end of book 2 finally decided upon. I ended up just being disappointed that it still feels like we aren’t at a true end.

I requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the publisher Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Book Stop – ARC Review – Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

Publisher: Macmillan-Tom Doherty Associates For Teen

Published: May 7th 2019

Series: Dark Shores #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Supernatural

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*Requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the Publisher Macmillan-Tom Doherty Associates for Teen in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much for the opportunity to read and review this work.*

So I was completely sold by this blurb.. hook, line, and sinker… Super entertaining read with a really riveting premise. I have to say this wasn’t what I was expecting, and it did take me a bit to really become invested. This story really has some amazingly in depth and super original backstory and I honestly if there had just been more of it straight out of the gate I think this might have caught me up a little sooner.. There are also some really deep currents running here that we have just barely touched the surface. Some times a slow revealing backstory adds to the intrigue and mystery of the story and other times it just makes me antsy to get some info so I can make things make sense.

I was expecting more sea “scenes” as well as more of the supernatural aspect but the focus of this book was definitely character and relationship development focused which for me was a little disappointing because I think I was definitely leaning toward wanting more of the action/adventure vibes, rebellion etc. The author spends a lot of time developing both the characters and the character relationships which is great in the stand point that you get to watch as the main characters grow and slowly broaden their horizons; however, this also slowed down the plot a lot because it seems our characters, especially our FMC, are completely stubborn and really put up a loooonnnggg fight. So by the time the story ended I felt like we really hadn’t made all that much progress for a “check point.”

Teriana, our FMC, makes a mistake trusting a childhood friend with secrets that aren’t hers to tell and endangering not only her own people but people across the world as well, because these secrets end up in the hands of the West who will stop at nothing but world dominion. In Teriana’s world West and East must always remain separate and her people. The people of the sea keep them that way. Now Teriana must lead the West to the East in order to save her own people even if it damns her soul. Marcus, undefeated in the West, must lead his legions to the East because he has no choice. Black mail and deception are being used against him and in order to protect his family he must do as he is told.. he belongs to the legion.. orders are his life. The West is unprepared for what they have stepped off into however because the pagan gods worshiped by the rest of the world are way more real than myths and legends and it seems everyone may have stepped off into a war between them…

It boils down to this, there is so much more going on with this story than what the author chose to focus on here in book one. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, at least for me. The good is that I am super pumped to continue this series and get all the information and reveals that were just barely skimmed here in the first book. The bad is that alot of books that don’t put enough “skin in the game” in book one often times lead me down a plot hole road of disappointment. So for future books in this series I’m hoping for more nitty gritty and way more of the whole supernatural aspect to the story and less back and forth between main characters. What little we did get here in this story was enough of a sneak peak to keep me glued to the pages the entire book wanting more. Can’t wait for book 2!
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Book Stop – ARC Review – Vampire Hearts by Katie M. John

Vampire Hearts: Book One of Bathory Academy by Katie M. John

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

Publish Date: July 27, 2018

Series: Bathory Academy #1

Genre: Older YA, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think 3-3.5 stars for me. The premise and the uniqueness of the backstory really made the book for me. I am loving how really rich the world building is here, pulling together some of the oldies with a whole lot of newbie made for a really great read. The very clever and subtle name drops made me feel like I belonged. I had no trouble sinking right into the world and scenes and honestly there was enough going on that I remained invested from cover to cover; however all that being said it really did take us a while to really get anywhere and by the end of the book I really don’t feel like we made a lot of progress plot wise. If we really break it down there was a back and forth of scenes that instead of keeping up moving forward kept us kind of stagnant throughout the first book. This is interwoven with backstory and some reveals here and there as well as introduction to new characters so I never really felt bored but I can definitely see where the repetition of certain actions could loose some readers.

Alex, our MC, has just found out he is a born vampire (inter generational – meaning his parents were not vampires but the gene passed to him from his grandfather.) Rushed off to Bathory Academy school for supernatural, Alex is thrust into a hierarchical Vampire system that doesn’t quite sit well with his millennial upbringing nor his hero complex. He also is having a hard time with self acceptance, refusing to feed. Scarlet our FMC is the darling of Bathory Academy, also with some “revolutionary” views herself. Scarlet comes with her own drama and has conflict with how she was raised and her belief system herself. Alex and Scarlet have a somewhat instant connection which slowly reveals itself to perhaps being more than just fate. As Scarlet becomes a target from a religious group hell bent on destroying all vampires especially those from her line, and the Supernatural community becomes embroiled in more and more turmoil as the fascist system they have been living under for centuries reaches closer to a breaking point, the students at Bathory Academy as well as Alex and Scarlet must come to realize their parts in the future of supernaturals as well as deal with this mysterious connection.

I think we are store for a healthy amount of problems as the students aren’t in possession of all the information like the teachers/adults. The withholding of information always causes issues and drags a story out longer than necessary so I’ll have to keep that in mind for when the next book comes out. All in all though I thought this was an interesting and entertaining read and am looking forward to book 2 hoping we really get somewhere there.

I requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the Publisher BooksGoSocial in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Stop – ARC Review – Ignite by Donna Grant

Ignite by Donna Grant

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Expected Release: April 30, 2019

Series: Dark Kings #15Dark World #35

Requested and Received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the publisher St. Martins Press, in exchange for an honest review.

I felt this book was a solid 3 stars for me. I want to start off by saying this book does not work very well as a stand alone it is number #15 in a series and so has 14 books worth of back story and experiences that the characters have gone through, as well as 14 books worth of buildup of an ongoing secondary plot line.

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Book Stop – ARC Review – House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Expected Publication: August 6, 2019

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the Publisher Random House Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to read and review this work.



4.5 stars.. Whew I’m pretty sure this kind of blew me away. I’m still reeling, sitting here wide eyed and shell shocked. I was not expecting this fantasy with its bits of darkness, hints of horror, and touches of madness. Mind trip… that is what this book was. I went into this thinking it was going to be a simple retelling of a childhood tale but this is more Grim than fairy.. Maybe even more Grim than Grim themselves. I actually had to untwist my mind before throwing together this review. The anxiety and suspense almost put me down…

In this dark reinvention of the tale of The 12 Dancing Princesses the author Erin A. Craig brings hints of horror to a classic fairy tale. Annaleigh, our FMC, watches as yet another sister is given back to the sea. Its a curse the townspeople say.. First her mother and then 3 of her elder sisters, all have died under suspicious circumstances. Annaleigh is determined to find out what is going on and save the rest of her family. As she makes some discoveries everything seems to be leading toward dead ends literally. Not only that Annaleigh has noticed her younger sister making really disturbing drawings, and seeing things.. and now Annaleigh has started seeing them too. Being led to a dimensional doorway “of the gods” the remaining sisters turn towards balls and dancing all night long to distract themselves from the life of mourning they have been cursed to live. Annaleigh though, must unravel the mysteries surrounding her sisters deaths, as well as break this curse before her sisters dance themselves all to death… or maybe its all in her head…

There are some really intense scenes in this book some of which are incredibly heart pounding. The author definitely has talent for twisting things back and forth on top of each other until you can’t tell which way is up and you end up ass over ankles. I’m not sure if I’ll ever want to reread it again.. because once was enough for me to remember forever…
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