Sunday, November 5, 2023

*Review* Dead of Winter by Darcy Coates

Genre: Thriller
Published: July 11, 2023
Pages: 389

When Christa joins a tour group heading deep into the snowy expanse of the Rocky Mountains, she's hopeful this will be her chance to put the ghosts of her past to rest. But when a bitterly cold snowstorm sweeps the region, the small group is forced to take shelter in an abandoned hunting cabin. Despite the uncomfortably claustrophobic quarters and rapidly dropping temperature, Christa believes they'll be safe as they wait out the storm.

She couldn't be more wrong.

Deep in the night, their tour guide goes missing...only to be discovered the following morning, his severed head impaled on a tree outside the cabin. Terrified, and completely isolated by the storm, Christa finds herself trapped with eight total strangers. One of them kills for sport...and they're far from finished. As the storm grows more dangerous and the number of survivors dwindles one by one, Christa must decide who she can trust before this frozen mountain becomes her tomb.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This book was one that my son selected from Netgalley for me to request. I'm not sure what his thought process was for his selections, but this was definitely a book I wouldn't have requested myself as I tend to avoid thrillers for the most part, as I often find them predictable. This book was anything but predictable. I was left guessing again and again who the killer might be, and only really figured out it just before the reveal. Once I figured it out, I started thinking about the previous clues and misdirects, and honestly, the killer really thought things through for this one. 

In true horror movie fashion, the group doesn't completely stay together like we all know they should, which is what allows the killer to pick them off as they do. But I could also easily see this book being turned into a movie, especially since it had a bit of a The Shining feeling to it towards the end. I really felt the terror and distrust throughout the story. 

Overall I give this book 3.98 out of 5 stars and am thinking I should let my son pick books for me to read more often. - Katie 

Darcy Coates is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen horror and suspense novels.

She lives in the Central Coast of Australia with her family, cat, and a collection of chickens. Her home is surrounded by rolling wilderness on all sides, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

You can hear about her next book by joining her newsletter:

*Review* Grumpy Lost and Found in Naples by Susan Marie Chapman


Genre: Children's 3-7
Published: February 24, 2023
Pages: 44

Grumpy is a very happy and content iguana. He loves his home and his family of friends. On a chilly winter day in Miami Beach, Grumpy makes a decision that changes his life forever. He crawls under a blanket to stay warm and is suddenly taken from all that he knows and loves. Now, he has no idea where he is or how to get back to his home in Flamingo Park. Will help come for Grumpy?

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is the story of an iguana named Grumpy, who ends up being taken to a park far away from his home while he's curled up in a blanket sleeping. He spends a lot of time asking the local wildlife how to get back to his home, but none of them have ever heard of it because they are not animals that tend to migrate. They have no reason to be familiar with other areas of the world (or the state of Florida as is the case in this story). Finally he's found by his friend who saw him being taken away and followed him (quite the feat since he was in a car, and the friend is a bird), and they decide that they will just have to make this new place their home. 

The illustrations were a little juvenile, looking as if they may have been drawn and colored by a child. And for some reason the story annoyed me. I can't really pinpoint what it was about the story that got under my skin, but I would not want to read this book more than once because of that. And that is honestly probably a me thing, but that is my experience with this book. Overall I give Grumpy Lost and Found in Naples 2.38 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Susan Marie Chapman grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania as the oldest of eight children. She has always had a special connection with animals and children. Today she resides in Miami Beach, Florida, with her two furry babies, Sugar and Cookie.

Susan is the author of six books in the the Grumpy the Iguana and Green Parrot Adventure series: Grumpy the Iguana, Mr Squirrel Finds a Treasure, Two if by Sea, Grumpy Goes Home for the Holidays, The Wish Box, and Babies on Board (part 1). Susan is also the author of two books about her Pomeranians, Love Sugar & Cookie, and The Day Cookie was Lost.

For more information visit Susan's website:

*Review* The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: March 9, 2020
Pages: 512

Four fates collide in this avian-inspired, epic fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A princess longing to be free...

On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.

A bastard aching to belong...

Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him.

Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart...

Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her.

Three shocking betrayals. Two star-crossed lovers. One unforgettable journey. If you like fierce heroines, brooding heroes, forbidden romance, and action-packed magical adventures with twists you'll never see coming, don't miss The Raven and the Dove!

I received a copy of this audiobook through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

The world building in this book was amazing. At least the little bit of it that we got to see. The story is told from the perspectives of Lyana and Rafe for the most part, although we did get a few glimpses into the perspectives of others, and Lyana especially has led a very sheltered life, so what she knows of the world just isn't much. But I felt like I got enough snippets of things from other characters to piece together the way this world functions. 

This story centers around the mating ceremony, and the way life partners are chosen for the royals of the bird-people. I appreciated how both the young men and young women were given the same tests of skill and knowledge, and as close to equal chance to choose their partners based on the results of those tests as is humanly possible. Seeing the women being just as valued for traditionally masculine achievements in our world was nice. But we also got to see that not every royal was looking for the "best fighters" valuing intellect over brute strength. It just seemed really well rounded. 

But Lyana and Rafe share a very dangerous secret that informs the decisions she makes during the mating games. As a dove, Lyana is the ultimate prize among the royal females. Every competing male would consider himself lucky to be chosen by her (or her father, as the parents do tend to scheme behind closed doors to make advantageous matches). In the end it is up to the children to follow through with their parents plans, or not. Because sometimes, what our parents think will be best for us, isn't (a fact I'm working very hard to remember when it applies to my own children). 

I don't really want to say too much more for fear of spoilers. I definitely look forward to reading the next book in this series, as I can't wait to see how Lyana and Rafe handle the problems that have landed at their feet at the end of this book. Overall I give The Raven and the Dove 4.298 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie. Publishers Weekly has said, "Davis writes with confidence and poise," while USA Today has recommended her work as "must-read romance."

Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she's not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found playing fetch with her puppy, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her--about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general--you may contact her at:

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