2021 Book #25 – The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon

Title: The Drowning Kind
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Date finished: 4/7/21
Genre: Psychological thriller
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Invited and The Winter People comes a chilling new novel about a woman who returns to the old family home after her sister mysteriously drowns in its swimming pool…but she’s not the pool’s only victim.

Be careful what you wish for.

When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.

In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I have been wanting to read something by this author for awhile and honestly have some books by her in my backlog that I just haven’t gotten to yet but I finally got to read one. This author has gotten a lot of buzz in the last couple years and now I can see why. This book was haunting. It was really a very interesting book that had many layers – not only a thriller but a look into a dysfunctional family and mental health issues. I loved too that the present day narrator starts to lose it a little and the reader is left to wonder how reliable her version of events really is. And I really liked that the story alternated between present day and 1929 – giving the history behind the springs really added to the foreboding of the overall story. I had chills while reading this book and I was definitely on the edge of my seat to find out what would happen. There were some great plot twists along the way, including a big one that I still can’t believe. Overall I really enjoyed the book and I would definitely recommend it!

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Immortals After Dark series


So this year I caught on to the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. I heard about this series because I started listening to the Fated Mates podcast (see my other post on how I fell onto the podcast – up later this week). I had no idea it was a read-a-long with a romance series but I decided to give the first book a try and see how things went.


So the first book in the series is A Hunger Like No Other, featuring Emmaline and Lachlain. Amazon says it’s actually the second in the series but on Fated Mates this is the first one we read. The one Amazon considers first is really a novella that we read later in the podcasts. Anyways, this book was BANANAS. I was hooked on the series right from the start and I DEVOURED it once I started it. At first I tried to use it as a reward, like read 2 of my scheduled books and I get to read an IAD book. But then I gave up on that and just read IAD books because I couldn’t WAIT to get to the next person’s story. I read the whole series as it stands now (18 books) in less than 3 months.

Obviously there were some books within the series that I liked more than others. I mean the whole series is amazing, I think the lowest rating I gave any of the books in the series was like a 3.5, which means I still liked it. Most of the books in the series I rated a 4 or above. Some of my favorites are the ones below:

I didn’t post individual reviews of the books since the series was one that I was just reading for fun and not for my reading schedule. I did post individual reviews on my Goodreads page though. I wanted to do an overall post on the series though since I’ve loved it so much. It was especially enjoyable to read the books along with the Fated Mates podcast. The next book in the series, Munro, is coming out in the summer I think and I can’t wait. I would definitely recommend the whole series – it is so interesting and complicated and amazing. Go read it now!

2015 Book #74 – Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw


Title: Atlantis Rising
Author: Gloria Craw
Date finished: 7/19/15 (12:20am)
Genre:  Young adult
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Pages in book: 295
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.
Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted–by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I really tend to enjoy books with supernatural elements but I haven’t really read anything before about the children of Atlantis. So when I saw this book recently, I definitely wanted to read it. So this book is about Alison McKye, a senior at Fillmore High School. She’s adopted and when she was fourteen, someone at a playground noticed she was using her “thoughtmaking” abilities on her brother. This random stranger told her that she is one of the children of Atlantis and that her ability is both very powerful and very sought after and that if she wanted to protect her human family, she must do everything in her power to go through the rest of her life unnoticed.
Cut forward to her senior year of high school and she’s done what she thinks is a decent job of remaining invisible. One of the helpful points is that even though she is dewing (the name for the children of Atlantis) since she was raised by humans she doesn’t give off the same vibrations as other dewing I guess so its easier for her to stay incognito. A lot of people are trying to find her though (for various reasons) and since she hasn’t actually done a great job of hiding in plain sight, she’s going to be found out. Luckily, she makes some friends who are going to help her.
I really liked this book. I thought Alison was great and the tension between her and her love interest (not spoiling it for you!!) is palpable and felt real. I thought the plot line was good but the climactic action scenes felt a bit short. Also I’m curious what happened to Nikki? Is there going to be a sequel? Usually when something ends kind of abruptly like that I at least like to know that yes the author realizes there are unanswered questions and is writing a sequel as we speak. But I couldn’t find anything online so I guess fingers crossed. Good book overall though and not a topic that I see a lot so it was different, which I liked.
The bottom line: I thought this was a good book, I would recommend it! Definitely interesting and unusual, the story line was great.
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #68 – The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo


Title: The Ghost Bride
Author: Yangsze Choo
Date finished: 7/5/15
Genre:  Historical/paranormal fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Pages in book: 354
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Part 19th century novel, part magical journey to the Chinese world of the dead, Yangsze Choo’s debut novel The Ghost Bride is a startlingly original historical fantasy infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, and unexpected supernatural twists. Reminiscent of Lisa See’s Peony in Love and Neil Gaiman’s NeverwhereThe Ghost Bride is a wondrous coming-of-age story from a remarkable new voice in fiction.
Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.
After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy–including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets–and the truth about her own family–before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I saw this book awhile ago I think it was in a previous publication of Book Page but I can’t remember for sure. I thought the premise behind this novel sounded extremely interesting, a woman being pledged to marry a ghost. There was a lot of information in the book about the cultures at that time in Malacca (where the book was set, which apparently is another term for an area in Malaysia). Li Lan lost her mother to small pox when she was very young, and the disease also left her father disfigured and he became something of a recluse. It is because of this that Li Lan does not have a marriage arranged for her when she comes of age. And even further, Li Lan’s father doesn’t seem to do anything for which and smokes just too much opium every night so they don’t really have any money at all. So when the Lim family offers for Li Lan to be their recently deceased son’s ghost bride, while not ideal, it is an offer than is hard for her father to turn away.
Soon after this offer is made, Li Lan begins having dreams of the deceased son where he basically demands that she marry him. Overall though it is really creepy and I can’t blame her for saying no way. Things go from bad to worse though and the story continues through the spirit world including it’s funeral customs.
I found this book very interesting. It was different from anything I have ever read before and included a lot of new information on foreign superstitions and customs. The characters in the book were frustrating at times and there some slightly wordy parts but the plot was interesting and kept me engaged throughout the story. The description of the spirit world was fascinating and while I thought Li Lan was a bit flip-floppy, I liked the ending.
The bottom line: I would recommend this book because I found it to be different from the norm and interesting.
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2014 – Book #58


The fifty-eighth book I read in 2014 was Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished this book on 7/14/14. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This is the first book in the Dangerous Creatures series (hopefully there will be more to come!) which is a spin-off from the Beautiful Creatures series. All the other books in the Beautiful Creatures series are reviewed on this blog as well. This first book in the Dangerous Creatures series tells the story of Lena’s cousin Ridley and Ethan’s best friend Link. Link heads off to New York to try and make it in the music business and Ridley decides to tag along. Unknown to Link though, Ridley has some motives of her own for heading up to the Big City. 

Over the summer, Ridley lost it big in a Underworld poker game. Now she owes a lot to a very scary (but handsome) man named Lennox Gates. The least of Ridley’s debts is that Lennox needs a drummer for the band that will play at his new club in New York. What really worries Rid though is the house marker that Gates currently holds over her, the one that can make her do anything he wants whenever he asks for it. Getting Link to New York and getting him into the band is the easy part, avoiding Gates turns out to be not quite so simple. 

Things start going from bad to worse and Ridley finds herself alone on the street after her and Link have a falling out. And when Lennox takes her in (out of the goodness of his heart I’m sure) Ridley finds herself uncovering a lot more questions than answers about Lennox Gates. 

Overall I thought this was a great book. It was a good continuation from the Beautiful Creatures series and the novella published before this (Dangerous Dream) is a great lead in to this spin-off series. I was very interested in Ridley’s story and I am glad we got to see her grow as a character in this novel. I found myself empathizing alot with Ridley and wishing I could help her. 

Link to other blog reviews of Beautiful Creatures series: https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews/book-series-book-reviews/beautiful-creatures/

Link to authors’ website: http://beautifulcreaturesauthors.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Creatures-Kami-Garcia/dp/0316370312/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405473024&sr=1-1&keywords=dangerous+creatures

2014 – Book #37


The thirty-seventh book I read in 2014 was The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston. I finished this book on 5/9/14 and it was the first book I’ve read by this author. I rated this book 2.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This is the story of a necromancer witch, Lady Lilith, set in London in the early 1900’s. She falls in love with a young artist, Bram. Together they are faced with what seem to be insurmountable obstacles that get in the way of their love.

This was a hard read for me. There was a lot of very lengthy descriptions that weren’t necessary to set scene. Also the story randomly jumped forward years at a time twice towards the end of the book. And the narration was constantly jumping from Lilith’s point of view in the 1st person and Bram and various other points of view in the 3rd person. Between all of this the story was honestly a little hard to follow. The plot line itself was interesting and could’ve resulted in a much better story I think. Of course there were some parts of the story that I didn’t like. Lilith is described as having such a strength of will and character and she twice defied the creed of the Lazarus Coven. I just found that surprising and couldn’t reconcile these facts.

I considered giving up halfway through this book. At that point I knew there was very little possibility that I would end up loving this book. I decided to finish it to see what happened and how it ended. I have to say that I am glad I finished it because the 2nd half of the book was slightly better than the first. However, the first half of the book was not what I would call fantastic so it would’ve been hard not to have it improve. I just had so much trouble being drawn into the story. I couldn’t get involved in the characters or what drove them. And there are so many loose ends and unresolved issues. Violet is lost to the Darkness in the beginning of the book and is never recovered. Lilith’s dad isn’t heard from at all in the second half of the book. I feel like the soup kitchen and the nuns were important to the story but they were mentioned so little that I had trouble understanding. I feel like there could’ve been more development of the relationship between Lilith and the nuns through conversations and what not. And pieces of the story were so dark. And (**SPOILER ALERT**) at the end Lilith comes back to life and then her and Bram live happily ever after? Even though she’s living in a dead body now and will have to drink the Elixir regularly for the rest of her life.

Overall I was just disappointed with this book. It was definitely not one of my favorites. I read on Amazon that other people were disappointed with this book and said her other two books were much better. I might try one of her other books in the future to see for myself but I’m not sure I can risk it just yet.

Link to author website: http://www.paulabrackston.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Witch-Paula-Brackston-ebook/dp/B00FCR3QUC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399690241&sr=8-1&keywords=midnight+witch

2014 – Book #31



The thirty-first book I read in 2014 was Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts. This is the second book in the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy, I read the first in 2013. I finished this book on 4/28/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Connor O’Dwyer and his lifelong friend Meara Quinn.

As the cousins O’Dwyer and their friends recover from their last battle with the evil Cabhan and try to plan for their next attack, Connor finds himself attracted to his sister’s lifelong friend Meara. But Meara has scars from her past that close off her heart from Connor’s love, and leave her susceptible to Cabhan’s sorcery.

One of the things I love most about this series is the interwoven back story back to the original Three Dark Witches, children of Sorcha. The story from long ago used as a backdrop for the journey of the Three Dark Witches now is very interesting. This book was fairly riveting, I didn’t want to put it down once I started it.

Though this was a simple story, it was one full of love, friendship, and family. It was a very touching story and I think I may have even liked it better than the first in the series. I am looking forward to the third book so I can find out if Fin and Brannan are finally able to work out their issues and be together.

Link to author website: http://www.noraroberts.com/index.php

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Spell-Cousins-ODwyer-Roberts/dp/0425259862/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398736504&sr=8-1&keywords=shadow+spell

2014 – Book #29


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I only count the two novellas connected to the Beautiful Creatures series as one book so the twenty-ninth book(s) I read in 2014 were Dangerous Dream and Dream Dark by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished these books on 4/22/14.

Dream Dark takes place between the second and third book in the Beautiful Creatures series. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5, mostly because it was so short and honestly I was expecting a little more substance. It was an interesting filler story though, it tells the story of Link after he finds out that he’s been bitten and is turning into an Incubus. He begins being trained by Macon to control his new abilities. Macon asks him to deliver a message to a friend in Barbados and Link doesn’t expect to encounter what he finds when he arrives with Macon’s message.

Dangerous Dream takes place after the fourth book in the Beautiful Creatures series and leads into the Dangerous Creatures series starring Ridley Duchannes and Ethan’s best friend Link. I rated this novella 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This novella starts with Gatlin High School’s graduation ceremony and leads into Ridley’s freak out when Link tells her that he loves her. She gets herself into a bit of trouble which is where this novella ends and I’m guessing is where the Dangerous Creatures series is going to begin. (Release date May 20th!)

Overall these were both interesting stories and good additions to the overall series. Not sure about the prices though. These novellas are only available in E-Book format and one was $2 and the other $3. And considering combined they were only about 100pages, some of which is just previews for other books, the prices seemed a bit steep for what I got. However, the events in Dream Dark are referenced in the fourth book in the Beautiful Creatures series and Dangerous Dream leads into the Dangerous Creatures series so I guess its worth it to understand what’s being referenced.

Link to author website: http://beautifulcreaturesnovels.com/

Link to Amazon for Dangerous Dream: http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Dream-Beautiful-Creatures-Story-ebook/dp/B00F3GBRBM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398219795&sr=8-1&keywords=dangerous+dream

Link to Amazon for Dream Dark: http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Dark-Beautiful-Creatures-Story-ebook/dp/B0054LDAZ2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1398219917&sr=8-3&keywords=dangerous+dream

2014 – Book #27


The twenty-seventh book I read in 2014 was Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished this book on 4/19/14. This is the third book in the Beautiful Creatures series by these authors. The first two books in the series were discussed in my previous two blog posts. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up where the second left off, after Lena’s Seventeenth Moon. As I said in the previous post, if you haven’t read the first book yet and you plan to, then I would avoid reading this review as soon items mentioned might reveal plot twists from both the first and second book.

So in the end of the second book Macon is resurrected and Lena and Ethan get back together. But as the summer turns to fall, things are turning apocalyptic in the small town of Gatlin. Locusts, extreme heat, and Ethan starts dreaming about rivers of blood. Amma is meeting with a black magic voodoo man for some reason that Ethan can’t figure out, and even worse Ethan is slowly losing pieces of his memory. Things are falling apart in Gatlin because Lena broke The Order when she claimed herself for both the dark and the light during her Seventeenth Moon. And with a best friend who is now a quarter Incubus, a wanna-be Siren trying to start trouble and find a way to get her powers back, and a 500 year old evil Blood Incubus trying to wipe out all of humanity, the End seems unavoidable.

As Lena and Ethan struggle not only through their daily high school lives but also the impending doom that grows stronger with the day, they look for a solution to the visions they’re experiencing and a way to save mankind. Abraham tears apart the town looking for John Breed, his science experiment, and after Lena and Ethan find him they try to use him to figure out what Abraham’s plans are. There were so many interesting magical twists and turns in this book, and I actually liked how the ending just left it all open. Doom and The End are coming and then it all just fades to black and we never find out what really happened.

This book was a great addition to the series. It was a little dry towards the middle but wow what a great cliffhanger ending, I can’t wait to read the next book. Great story with lots of interesting additions to the overall story over the series of books.

Link to author website: http://beautifulcreaturesauthors.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Chaos-Creatures-Kami-Garcia/dp/031612351X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397933779&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+chaos

2014 – Book #26


The twenty-sixth book I read in 2014 is Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished this book on 4/16/14. This is the second book in the Beautiful Creatures series, I discussed the first book in the previous blog post. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book continues the story of Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes after Lena’s Sixteenth Moon (where the first book ends). By the way if you haven’t read the first book yet and you plan to, I would avoid reading this review. There will probably be items in here that reveal some of the plot twists in the end of the first book.

Lena can’t shake the guilt that its her fault Macon is dead. Every time she looks at Ethan she’s reminded that the spell she used to save Ethan’s life is the same spell that killed a man who was like a father to her for her whole life. Riddled with guilt, she is befriended by a Dark Caster who seems to understand what she’s going through. As she drifts closer to this Dark Caster, she grows farther and farther away from Ethan.

Ethan begins his new summer job at the library and meets Marian’s new assistant, Olivia. Cute and blond and Mortal, Ethan finds that he is comfortable with Olivia which only seems to make Lena turn more towards the Dark. But after Ethan finds out the John and Lena have run away to try and find some Great Barrier where there is no Dark and no Light, just pure magic. Ethan is having visions of Macon’s past and of Lena and John’s journey to the Great Barrier, and he starts out on his own journey to find Lena and try to save her. And after Ethan meets up with Ridley and finds out that Sarafine is calling the Claiming Moon, Lena’s Seventeenth Moon, to force Lena to claim the Dark, Ethan’s journey takes on a frantic pace.

Overall this book was great. I found myself slightly frustrated in certain parts, but there were so many great plot twists I was riveted through the whole story. Can’t wait to read the next book int he series!

Link to authors’ website: http://beautifulcreaturesauthors.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Darkness-Creatures-Kami-Garcia/dp/0316077046/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397690850&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+darkness