Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Review: Her Wish by Sophie H. Morgan

Her Wish by Sophie H. Morgan
Series: Playboy Genie, Book 1
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9781250129215
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

This playboy has finally met his match…

Charlie’s sick of Genies. Too beautiful, too sure of themselves, too “celebrity”. And way too eager to grant wishes in the worldwide Lottery that entices mortals into buying tickets in the hope of winning their desires. Charlie would rather walk naked through Times Square than buy a ticket. Unfortunately, her friend springs for one in Charlie’s name – and it gets picked. She refuses to get sucked in and has no qualms about saying so to the famously arrogant, devilishly handsome Genie at her door. Sexy Blue Eyes will just have to take no for an answer.

Jax Michaels would love to take no for an answer. As the most famous Genie on the East Coast, known for his sex appeal, his cheeky interviews, and his roguish style of granting wishes, he only has to turn to the next in line to find a willing partner. After all, every woman wants him – except, apparently, Charlie Donahue, who throws back his charming words, sneers at his calculated grins, and refuses to even consider wishing. Jax isn't a fool. He’s prepared to wash his hands of this infuriating, appealing female…until his Handler informs him that quitting is not an option. And if he can’t talk her into wishing, Jax will have to try playing a little dirty.

Forget Powerball – I totally want a ticket to win a wish from one of Sophie H. Morgan’s Genies! Her Wish is a fresh and fun paranormal romance. I loved Ms. Morgan’s whole concept of celebrity Genies, the corporation that employs them, and wishes being granted to weekly lottery winners.

Charlie believes in hard work, not wishes. And when her best friend buys her a lottery ticket and Charlie wins, Charlie would rather chew glass than make a wish. Unfortunately for her, Jax Michaels – the Genie who is supposed to grant Charlie her wish – can’t let her just skip out on her wish. On the surface, the stunningly gorgeous, oh-so-charming Jax who has women throwing themselves at his feet is everything Charlie despises. But when he keeps popping in, the two actually start to get to know one another and the real fun begins. I loved that Charlie threw Jax for a loop by being unimpressed with his looks, charm, magic, and celebrity.

Charlie has her reasons for not wanting a wish, and though it took a while to learn her reasons, I understood why it was too personal for her to immediately open up and share with Jax. As for Jax, I – like Charlie – wasn’t immediately bowled over by him because he was arrogant as could be. This actually worked really well for the story, because it gave me a chance to start liking Jax alongside Charlie. There’s more to Jax than most people see. Most people don’t look past his looks or charm, just like most people don’t look past Charlie’s “plain Jane” looks and acerbic wit. Both of them are smart, flawed people who come into their own over the course of the story and their personal journeys had me as engaged as their romance. Charlie and Jax make an excellent couple and I found it difficult to put Her Wish down because the chemistry they had was so appealing. Even when they’re fighting, sparks fly and they’re equally matched. Jax and Charlie simply work on every level. They don’t instantly fall in love. Heck, they don’t even instantly fall in lust. Their love story is a natural progression as they come to know each other and I just loved that. It’s not smooth sailing for these two. Their strong personalities, differing views, and Charlie’s old wounds and insecurities mean that it’s a bumpy road to happily ever after, but it’s a road well worth travelling.

Her Wish is the first book in Ms. Morgan’s Playboy Genie series and I’m can’t wait to delve further into the world of the Genies. I was fascinated by the bits and pieces of WFY that we got to see and the Genies who worked there. I’m definitely hoping future books show us more of how WFY works. There are also a couple of supporting characters, both magical and mortal, who I’m really hoping get books of their own one day. Jax’s Handler, Luka, Jax’s assistant, Josh, and Charlie’s roommate, Kate, added extra humor and heart to the story and helped make the world come alive.

Her Wish is unique, fun, and as charming as Jax himself. I adored Jax and Charlie’s romance and I can’t wait to read the next Playboy Genie story, His Command.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Review: Mind Over Matter by Nora Roberts

Mind Over Matter by Nora Roberts
Publisher: Silhouette Special Releases
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781488027062
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

David Brady needs a star for his documentary on paranormal psychology. When he finds out theatrical agent A.J. Fields has a psychic for a client, he’s thrilled. However, A.J. is reluctant to let her client work with the smooth-talking producer who’s obviously a skeptic. David can tell that A.J.’s icy exterior is just a front. He’s determined to discover what secrets she’s hiding…but he might just find more than he bargained for!

In Mind Over Matter a hardworking theatrical agent meets her match in a producer who isn’t afraid to knock down the walls she has around her heart. A.J. Fields has worked for years to become one of the most successful agents in Hollywood. She’s smart and has a spine of steel, so when David Brady wants to use psychic Clarissa DeBasse – A.J.’s most important client – in his new documentary, A.J. isn’t about to be bowled over by the handsome producer. Sparks fly immediately between A.J. and David, but A.J. doesn’t mix business with pleasure and those walls she has around herself are because she has been hurt repeatedly in the past. I liked the combination of strength and vulnerability in her and author Nora Roberts made it understandable why A.J. would be reluctant to open her heart to David. David is used to being demanding in his work life and noncommittal in his personal life, but the longer he’s around A.J., the more he finds his attitude toward relationships changing. She isn’t at all his type, but of course she knocks him for a loop. The two of them play off one another really well professionally and personally. Because they’re both hard-headed and flawed, they make mistakes in their burgeoning relationship, which I actually liked because it added a level of realism to the story.

Mind Over Matter was first published in 1987 and while there are things that date it (fashion, technology, some attitudes, etc.), for the most part it holds up really well. The style of this book isn’t as smooth as Ms. Roberts’s later work – the swift point of view changes took a bit of getting used to – but it’s still an enjoyable read and the romance is satisfying. All in all, I found Mind Over Matter to be a good comfort read fans of Nora Roberts are sure to like.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I'm a huge historical romance fan and I have a confession to make: I've never read one of Tessa Dare's books. I don't even know how I've gone so long without reading her work, as her books sound flippin' fantastic. My plan this summer is to fix that gap in my historical romance library and my Waiting on Wednesday pick for this week - The Duchess Deal - sounds like the perfect place to start. It's the first book in Ms. Dare's new Girl Meets Duke series and it sounds right up my alley :)

Title: The Duchess Deal
Series: Girl Meets Duke, Book 1
Author: Tessa Dare
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 22, 2017

Book Description (from Amazon):

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…
Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.


But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Royally Romanov by Teri Wilson

Royally Romanov by Teri Wilson
Series: The Royals, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781501160509
Release Date: July 17, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

In this charming modern day retelling of the 1956 classic Anastasia, a museum curator falls for a mysterious man who may or may not be a long lost heir to Russia’s imperial Romanov dynasty.

Finley Abbot is organizing the most prestigious art exhibit of her career at the Louvre museum—a retrospective of art from the House of Romanov. But the sudden appearance of Maxim Romanov threatens to turn her into the biggest laughingstock of the art world. When she finds herself falling in love, she realizes there’s even more at stake than her career. How can she trust a man with her whole world when he can’t remember a thing about his past?

After suffering a violent blow to the head, Maxim’s only clue to his identity is a notebook containing carefully researched documentation in his own handwriting indicating that he is the sole surviving descendant of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, previously thought dead in the murder of her family during Russia’s Bolshevik revolution. His struggle to put the mysterious pieces of his past back together leads him to Finley. At first, she’s convinced Maxim is nothing but a con artist. But there’s something undeniably captivating about the beautiful, brooding man who claims to be searching for his identity—something Finley can’t quite bring herself to resist. When he reveals a secret about one of the imperial FabergĂ© eggs in the collection, she accepts he may actually be telling the truth. But as soon as Finley and Maxim act on their feelings for one another, Maxim is confronted with evidence that calls into question everything he’s begun to believe about himself.

Teri Wilson takes the modern legend of Anastasia gives it a fresh twist in Royally Romanov. I adored Maxim and Finley’s story – it’s sweet without being cloying, fun, romantic, and fast-paced. Add in the mystery surrounding Maxim and whether or not he’s the grandson of the Grand Duchess Anastasia and you have one addictive story.

Finley loves her work as assistant curator at the Louvre. Her upcoming exhibit on the Romanovs could help secure her a much-coveted promotion, but her hard work is threatened by the arrival of Maxim. Maxim has just recently been brutally attacked and the head injury he suffered wiped out his memory. All he has are a few clues which lead him to believe he is the grandson of the Grand Duchess Anastasia. If his claims are true, then all the art Finley has borrowed from various museums for the exhibit would belong to him, which would ruin the reputation of the Louvre and make Finley unemployable. Maxim has to be a con man…right?

Ms. Wilson does an excellent job of updating and putting her own spin on the Ingrid Bergman/Yul Brynner classic. I watched Anastasia right before starting Royally Romanov, and though it feels almost blasphemous to say, I actually preferred Finley and Maxim’s story to the film that inspired it. Finley and Maxim are both incredibly likeable characters who have both suffered trauma and their meeting is the catalyst for each to come into their own. The two of them have excellent chemistry and though they fell in love rather quickly, their romance charmed me so much that I didn’t care. I loved watching them work to put the pieces of Maxim’s identity together, and I enjoyed how Ms. Wilson kept me guessing as to whether or not Maxim is a Romanov. There’s just the right amount of intrigue mixed with romance in this story, and that makes it very difficult to put the book down.

It’d be remiss of me to write about Royally Romanov and not mention the backdrop of Paris. Ms. Wilson brings Paris vividly to life and I just itched to hop on a plane and visit the places she described, particularly the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Royally Romanov shines in every scene set in the famous bookstore and Finley’s love of the place and – more importantly – her love for literature shines through and grabbed my heart.

Royally Romanov is the second book in the Royals series, but it is a standalone. Unless things change in the third book, Royally Roma, Royally Romanov, and Royal Wedding are connected by theme rather than characters. After finishing Finley and Maxim’s story, I cannot wait to read the next Royals book because I just love how Ms. Wilson reimagines classics. Royally Romanov made me smile and sigh, and I just plain adored Finley and Maxim’s romance. It’s the perfect escapist read.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: Busted by Sydney Somers

Busted by Sydney Somers
Series: Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ASIN: B06XRKGP5X
Source: Previous Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon

Hockey star Jackson Knight has a hundred reasons not to return to Promise Harbor, but none of them are good enough to get him out of attending his best friend’s wedding. Even with a career-ending knee injury, every puck-bunny in town will be gunning for him.

Worse, getting a pair of cuffs slapped on him at the bachelor party could ruin any chance of getting back in the game, even as a coach. Unless he can convince the arresting officer to smooth things over—by going to the wedding as his date.

Hayley Stone figures posing as Jackson’s girlfriend is the least she can do to salvage his reputation. Plus, having a man with a toe-curling smile on her arm will keep her ex off her back.

What starts as a simple plan to deflect small-town pot-shots unexpectedly becomes a sizzling night that hits Jackson like a full-body-check to the heart. Now he’s determined to prove that she’s the best reason of all to come home—for good.

Former NHL star Jackson Knight would rather be anywhere else than Promise Harbor, but standing up as best man for your friend’s wedding isn’t exactly something that can be done remotely. Jackson needs to keep his image clean in order to land a new coaching job, which is why it’s not exactly good news that he finds himself in handcuffs the day he returns to his hometown. Now he’ll have to make nice with the cop who took him in. It’s not such a hardship, since Detective Hayley Stone – former bad girl and the sister of Jackson’s best friend – captivates him like no puck bunny ever has.

Hayley has worked hard to overcome her wild child past, and the last thing she needs is people giving her a hard time cuffing the hometown hero. When Jackson proposes she be his date for his friend’s wedding, Hayley agrees. After all, it’ll keep her ex off her back and the puck bunnies off his. What she doesn’t count on is the attraction between her and Jackson that threatens to knock them both off their feet. Jackson’s not the kind of man to stay in Promise Harbor and Hayley’s roots are deep in the town. Can they get involved in a no-strings affair without risking their hearts?

Busted is charming, sexy, and a blast to read. Hayley and Jackson have excellent chemistry in bed and out and it’s that chemistry that made this story such an engaging read.

Jackson is the hometown boy who made it big before a car crash ended his hockey career. He’s floundering in the beginning of the story and it was pure joy to watch him find himself and become the man he’s meant to be while in Promise Harbor. As for Hayley, she ran a bit wild as a teenager and has worked hard to make a name for herself as a cop. She’s dedicated, smart, and caring, but Jackson knocks her off her stride a bit. The two of them fit one another like lock and key, and their shared history makes for an easy connection and a seamless slide from friends to lovers. That being said, author Sydney Somers doesn’t make things easy on them. Jackson and Hayley have such different visions for the future that a happily ever after isn’t guaranteed. They both will need to figure out what they want and what they’re willing to risk if they hope to get that pitch perfect romance ending.

Busted is the third book in the multi-author Promise Harbor Wedding quartet, and if you don’t mind some minor spoilers for the other books, it can be read as a standalone. The series as a whole is excellent, but Jackson and Hayley are definitely two of my favorite characters. They’re funny, endearing, and, quite simply, the kind of people you wish were real so you could be friends with them. I loved them together and their love story is so incredibly entertaining I can’t wait to read it again.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the previous publisher (Samhain Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library, Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: YA Fantasy/Futuristic Ash and Quill Cover
ISBN: 9780451472410
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…

The fight for the soul of the Library is on in Ash and Quill. Rachel Caine takes readers on an electrifying journey as Jess, Morgan, Khalila, Dario, Thomas, Glain, Santi, and Wolfe escape the threat of Library soldiers only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, the heart of Burner territory. The Burners would rather die than submit to library control and censorship, and Jess will have to bargain with them in order for he and his friends to even have a chance to survive. And our heroes’ bargaining chip is a big one: the idea and knowledge of how to build a printing press – a chance for people to read free of the Library’s ever-watchful eye.

I’m hesitant to say too much about the plot of Ash and Quill for fear of spoiling the story. The danger the Burners present is only the beginning of what Jess and his friends will encounter over the course of this story. Suffice it to say there is never a dull moment in this book. Now that they’re openly rebelling against the rot that threatens to destroy all that the Library could be, it’s open season on our beloved heroes. Though their love of books and knowledge still shines, everyone’s hope and optimism must give way to practicality if they even have a shot at surviving and bringing change to the world. It was interesting to see how all eight heroes have changed since the beginning of the first Great Library book, Ink and Bone, but it also saddened me (as it should) to see them strain under the weight of their burden. Everyone has their own unique personality and because I’ve come to care for them over the course of the series, it was nearly impossible for me to put Ash and Quill. I both love and hate that Ms. Caine makes it impossible to know if the characters I’ve come to adore will all make it out alive. They definitely won’t make it out unscarred and I love that there were no easily overcome obstacles in this book. Their quest to save the soul of the Library carries real weight and thus makes it easy to become invested in their fight.

Jess, Morgan, Khalila, Dario, Thomas, Glain, Santi, and Wolfe are the heart and soul of the Great Library series and the growing bonds of friendship and love are tested throughout Ash and Quill. Those intertwining bonds are what tugged on my emotions the most and highlight how much our heroes have to lose. That being said, the world the characters inhabit is just as important to the story, and Ms. Caine’s worldbuilding continues to be phenomenal. When I started this book I was excited to see what this world’s version of Philadelphia would look like, and Ms. Caine didn’t hold back in bringing the tragic world of the Burner stronghold to life. The images that come to life in this story are both beautiful and bleak, and just plain made me love Ms. Caine’s writing.

Ash and Quill is the third book in the Great Library series and it definitely cannot be read as a standalone. The series reads like one massive story, so don’t skip reading Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire. The only problem I have with this series is that I hate having to wait for the next book. Ash and Quill ends with one heck of a cliffhanger and I’m dying to know what happens next!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Review: Royally Roma by Teri Wilson

Royally Roma by Teri Wilson
Series: The Royals, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Contemporary Romance Royally Roma Cover
ISBN: 9781451659634
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

In this enchanting retelling of the classic Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, a royal prince tries to escape his hectic and rigid life and ends up leading a young graduate student on a chase through the Eternal City.

Julia Costa is too busy trying to complete her PhD while also holding down a full-time job as a private tour guide in Rome to keep up with celebrity gossip. So when she crosses paths with a real, actual prince, she mistakes him for a client and takes him on a daylong tour of the city.

Intrigued by the idea of spending time with someone who obviously has no idea who he is, and delighted at the prospect of a day free of royal obligations, Niccolo La Torre, Crown Prince of Lazaretto, acts on impulse and assumes the role of Julia’s client. He swears to himself that he’ll return to his royal duties after only half a day…but he’s having the time of his life.

Until Julia presents him with the bill. Since he snuck out of the hotel without so much as a dime, he tries to escape, only to discover that she won’t let him out of her sight until he can pay her back. She’s determined to get her money…and perhaps more from the handsome stranger she’s fallen for.

Royally Roma is an energetic, charming read. Teri Wilson consistently writes great modern-day retellings and her take on Roman Holiday had wonderful nods to the Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck classic while still maintaining its own identity.

Put aside your disbelief and enjoy a modern day fairytale where a dutiful prince in dire need of taking a break from cleaning up his brother’s messes impulsively takes off and explores the wonders of Rome with his beautiful American tour guide. I held off on writing this review for a couple of days because I was a bit torn about this book. Nico and Julia are both likeable characters who brighten up the page when they’re together. I loved how Ms. Wilson made Rome come alive on the page as Julia and Nico zipped from place to place. Even the more serious moments of Royally Roma couldn’t dampen the story’s sunny appeal. That being said, what took the book down a few notches for me was the romance. I really liked Nico and Julia together and given the whirlwind nature of the source material the breakneck speed of the romance wasn’t an issue for me. What did bother me was that Nico starts out the story keeping his identity a secret from Julia and this goes on for so long that it did make the romance a bit hard to swallow. If their falling in love had been a bit more drawn out or if Julia had gotten to know all of Nico’s character for more of the book, then I would have been more satisfied. You can have either a whirlwind romance or a secret identity, but both together is a bit much. Added to that the ending was abrupt and left me wanting more. If there had at least been an epilogue I would have satisfied. Even with these issues I found Royally Roma to be a lively, charming story and I’m looking forward to reading the next Royals book.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Review: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: YA Fantasy/Futuristic
ISBN: 9780451472403
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn't safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control...

In Ink and Bone readers were introduced to a world where the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed. Now The Library is its own entity, spread all over the world. It sounds amazing…until you look beneath the surface. The Library controls the dissemination of knowledge, stifles innovation, and with brutal efficiency takes down anyone who seeks to escape its control. In Paper and Fire Jess and his friends have had their eyes opened; they see the rot within the Library. But there’s no such thing as an easy escape, even if one of their own wasn’t trapped in a gilded cage and another hidden in a secret prison. The clock’s ticking for Jess and all those he cares about: if they don’t find a way to break free of the Library’s hold their time will soon run out.

Paper and Fire takes us deeper into the incredible world of the Great Library that Rachel Caine introduced in Ink and Bone. Like Jess and his friends, I absolutely love what the Library could be, if greed and power hadn’t corrupted it at the highest echelons. The joy and love of learning is muted in Paper and Fire because the world has taken on a more sinister tone. Most of the book is centered around Jess, Glain, Dario, Khalila, Morgan, Santi, and Wolfe all doing their part to search for Thomas, their friend and a brilliant young inventor taken captive by the library for coming up with an idea for a printing press. With the wonder of discovery gone from the story, this book was a bit less exciting than its predecessor. I still really enjoyed it and the threats against our protagonists (especially the imminent threat to Morgan) made my gut clench at times, but the book suffers a bit from being a bridge book. We don’t learn much new about the characters either, and not even my mad love for Wolfe and Santi could blind me to the fact that there wasn’t much character growth to balance out the slow momentum of the plot. It’s a fairly slow read for most part and I’m honestly at a loss for what to say about story because it didn’t get truly interesting until the end. There’s nothing wrong with the book and I did enjoy it overall, but I wasn’t dazzled by it like I was Ink and Bone.

I cannot talk about the last part of the book without spoiling the story, but it’s where Paper and Fire shines the brightest. When everything comes together Ms. Caine’s writing is captivating. The action, adventure, and danger coalesce into a thrilling conclusion that had me eager to dive into the next Great Library novel. So while this book had some ups and downs for me, I still absolutely love the world Ms. Caine has created and I cannot wait to see what happens next in Ash and Quill.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Review: Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn
Series: Heroine Complex, Book 2
Publisher: DAW
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780756413262
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka—who’s now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role. Where, it must be said, she is not at all comfortable.

It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with fallout from her diva behavior—and the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron—the man Aveda’s loved for nearly a decade—is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder after what seemed to be some promising steps toward friendship. Or that the city has been demon-free for three months in the wake of Evie and Aveda’s apocalypse-preventing battle against the evil forces of the Otherworld, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most in life: a mission.

All of this is causing Aveda’s burning sense of heroic purpose—the thing that’s guided her all these years—to falter.

In short, Aveda Jupiter is having an identity crisis.

When Evie gets engaged and drafts Aveda as her maid-of-honor, Aveda finally sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a single-minded mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil rises up and starts attacking brides-to-be, Aveda must summon both her superheroine and best friend mojo to take down the enemy and make sure Evie’s wedding goes off without a hitch—or see both her city and her most important friendship destroyed forever.

Heroine Worship manages to be kick-ass, funny, and heartwarming all at once. It can’t be easy to have a heroine who was previously somewhat unlikeable and definitely demanding, but author Sarah Kuhn proves that she’s more than up to the challenge. Aveda is fierce, powerful, a self-confessed hurricane…and also loving, lonely, and more vulnerable than she lets on. I absolutely loved her.

In Heroine Complex, we got the story of Evie Tanaka, personal assistant to superhero Aveda Juipter (aka Annie Chang), Evie’s childhood best friend. This time around it’s Aveda/Annie’s story, and I loved seeing the reformed diva get her own book. Ever since Aveda and Evie saved San Francisco, things have been quiet, which means that all’s quiet at Aveda Jupiter, Inc. Not only that, all of San Francisco seems to have fallen in love with Evie, which means that she and Aveda are less co-superheroines than superheroine and former superheroine-turned-sidekick. Aveda is someone constantly trying to prove herself, to be the best, and between not having demons to fight and having everyone look at her like she’s still a diva, she’s going mad.

Aveda/Annie’s personal journey is the heart of Heroine Worship and I loved peeling back the layers of her character. She may have been a diva and a pretty bad friend at the last book, but Aveda doesn’t make excuses for herself. She’s determined to be the best friend to Evie that she can be and also protect her from anything that would upset or hurt her, and that isn’t always easy. Aveda tends to rush into things head first, which means that even when she means well she often screws things up. My heart actually broke for her more than once over the course of the story, as she takes a lot of hits. There were times I wished I could have reached into the book and stopped her before she made a mistake or her actions were misinterpreted. She’s on a quest to be the perfect friend and maid-of-honor to Evie, and at the same time she’s having an identity crisis and the denizens of her fair city aren’t looking too kindly on the mistakes she keeps making.

If feeling internally lost wasn’t enough for a now-outsider superheroine to handle, Aveda has a new problem on her plate: a demonic force seems to be attacking San Francisco brides. Non-possessed Bridezillas are frightening enough, so when you add in a demonic influence…let’s just say things get ugly quick. It’ll take all of Aveda and co.’s combined power to capture the demon, save San Francisco from evil Bridezillas, and get Evie and Nate down the aisle in one piece. The action sequences are fun, unique, and balance out the more serious storylines.

Heroine Worship has a lot of flash and dazzle, but there’s a lot of emotion packed into this story as well. Aveda and Evie have a couple of hurdles to overcome in order to repair their friendship, and I loved that Ms. Kuhn didn’t make things easy on them. Aveda also must face her feelings for Scott, surfer-mage extraordinaire and a longtime friend to both Evie and Aveda. Aveda and Scott have wonderful chemistry, but her fears and insecurities make her constantly push him away. I was absolutely rooting for these two to get together, and the romance storyline is just what I needed to round this story out. All in all, I adored Heroine Worship and I’m looking forward to seeing where Ms. Kuhn takes our kick-ass co-superheroines next!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.