From My Bookshelf – Kingdom of Liars (Nick Martell)

Michael Kingman has grown up under a dark cloud. When he was merely a child, his father was executed for killing the prince. Michael and his sister, Gwen, and brother, Lyon, were branded, forever marked as traitors. Raised by a foster father, the three siblings attempt to forge their way in a world that once revered their family name. “There must always be a Kingman in Hollow.” But what exactly were the Kingman children supposed to do when they were no longer tasked with protecting the members of the royal family to whom they had pledged? To make matters worse, their mother is in an asylum, her mind seemingly gone. But she does not possess the ability to wield any kind of Fabrication so her loss of memory makes absolutely no sense. Then Michael begins to hear rumors that maybe, just maybe, his father had been framed. But who can he trust? Not everyone in his life is who he or she appears to be. And he has never shown any ability with Fabrications so why are their holes in his own memory?

The world-building is outstanding, the character development captivating, and the story . . . well, the story will draw you in and refuse to let you go. Not everyone is who they claim to be and there are more secrets being kept than Michael can possibly imagine. This may be the first novel from author Nick Martell, but what a debut! This is to be the first in a series and there is PLENTY yet to be revealed in Michael’s story. Martell has definitely planted himself firmly on my “best of the year” list.

From My Bookshelf – The Kingdom of Liars

I had the fortune to read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this book.


Michael Kingman has grown up under a dark cloud. When he was merely a child, his father was executed for killing the prince. Michael and his sister, Gwen, and brother, Lyon, were branded, forever marked as traitors. Raised by a foster father, the three siblings attempt to forge their way in a world that once revered their family name. “There must always be a Kingman in Hollow.” But what exactly were the Kingman children supposed to do when they were no longer tasked with protecting the members of the royal family to whom they had pledged? To make matters worse, their mother is in an asylum, her mind seemingly gone. But she does not possess the ability to wield any kind of Fabrication so her loss of memory makes absolutely no sense. Then Michael begins to hear rumors that maybe, just maybe, his father had been framed. But who can he trust? Not everyone in his life is who he or she appears to be. And he has never shown any ability with Fabrications so why are their holes in his own memory?

The world-building is outstanding, the character development captivating, and the story . . . well, the story will draw you in and refuse to let you go. Not everyone is who they claim to be and there are more secrets being kept than Michael can possibly imagine. This may be the first novel from author Nick Martell, but what a debut! This is to be the first in a series and there is PLENTY yet to be revealed in Michael’s story. Martell has definitely planted himself firmly on my “best of the year” list.

From My Bookshelf – Conscience by Cecilia London

Book 2 picks up right where book 1, Dissident, left us. The action is intense from the first page and it doesn’t let up. As she did in the first book, London artfully weaves flashbacks with current-day scenes creating an artistic approach that is captivating. With the simple headings “Present” and “The Fed” the reader has no difficulty keeping track of where they are in time.

What can I say about Caroline and Jack?! Two political opposites who find a loving partnership with one another and become a power couple to be reckoned with. They may not always see eye to eye but they ALWAYS support one another in the end.

The story is intense, fast-paced, emotionally rich, and left me with my hands shaking and a small knot in my stomach. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

From My Bookshelf – Enchant by Demelza Carlton

Retellings are a guilty pleasure of mine so I was drawn to this book (and the others in the series!). I’m especially fond of Beauty & the Beast and have read a few retellings of the familiar tale. So it takes something truly original to surprise.

Carlton delivered! When a young enchantress must assist an evil king who wishes to curse his brother, she has no clue the long-reaching impact it will have. Or that she will have the chance to make it right once she discovers what has happened. But will the Prince still love her once he realizes she is the cause of his curse?

Demelza Carlton has re-told several well-known tales. This is the first I’ve read and it will definitely not be the last!

From My Bookshelf – Buried by Lynda Plante

This is the first book I’ve read by Lynda La Plante and I’m more than a little excited to have gotten in on the first book in a new series! DC Jack Warr has done a decent job as an officer of the law. He isn’t the most driven individual on the force, but he can get the job done. His girlfriend, Maggie, and his new boss, DCI Simon Ridley, would like to see a little more passion from Jack when it comes to career aspirations. When Jack receives devastating news right as an intriguing case has landed in his lap, it’s all the motivation he needs to become truly passionate about pursuing the truth. But is his focus really on getting the job done? Or finding answers for himself? Where is the line between diligent investigating and obsession?

Tying together crimes committed decades apart, La Plante creates characters that are simultaneously frustrating and likable. The plot was well-crafted and just complex enough to keep you guessing. I look forward to the rest of the series!

From My Bookshelf – Cambiare by Avery Ames

If you start reading this book expecting a typical fae story, you are going to be shocked. Very, VERY shocked. Princess Cirelle makes a deal with a mysterious fae named Ellian to save her brother and former lover from a plague that is devastating her kingdom. The price Cirelle has to pay? One year of servitude in Ellian’s home. Cirelle knows much of the lore concerning fae and thinks she is prepared for her adventure. But there’s a dark side to her that is brought to the surface in the fae realm. As Ellian says, “There’s something dark inside you, Princess, and I’m afraid I’m setting it free.”

Intense emotions, subterfuge and plotting, and a small rebellion trying to prevent the queen of the Unseelie Court from locking the door between the fae realm and the human world. This one will keep you guessing right up until the last page and then leave you waiting for the sequel!

From My Bookshelf – Shadow City by Anna Mocikat (4 Stars)

There is absolutely no hint that this is the first in a series so the cliffhanger ending was a surprise. A pleasant surprise but definitely unexpected.

I loved everything about this book. Vampires, cyborgs, and humans working together to keep people safe in a world that has been torn apart by an explosive incident known as “the Glitch”. But that explosion has allowed pure evil into the world. And all the death and suffering that has followed is simply enhancing that evil. It’s an evil force that would love to wipe out humans – vampires too! – and take control of the world.

The book leaves you with sooooo many questions. Will Colton ever remember ANYTHING about his past? What exactly is the being inhabiting the body of Human Force officer? They’ve been stopped temporarily but they certainly haven’t given up. What will the Dark Ones do next?

You’ll notice I said I loved everything about this book yet I gave it a four-star rating. The ONLY thing that kept me from giving it a five star was the presence of some editing mistakes – words that were missing and sentences that were awkwardly worded. It didn’t detract from the plot but did cause my reading to slow down a few times. The awkward wording was really only an issue in that last couple of chapters; it almost read like the book had been written in a different language (I believe the author was born in Poland and lived in Germany until 2016) and then was translated into English. But PLEASE read this book – even with the language hiccups it’s a fantastic story!

From My Bookshelf – Gray Wolf by J.W. Webb

Corin an Fol has one purpose in life – avenge the deaths of his parents and rescue his sister. He joins the elite Wolf Regiment and, despite his skill and hard work, the swordmaster Taskala takes an instant disliking to Corin. He is harder on Corin than any other member of the regiment which just strengthens Corin’s resolve to get revenge.

His heartbreak is eased somewhat when he falls in love with Yazrana, a fellow member of his regiment and skilled fighter. But corrupt politicians, warring factions, and a civil war destroy Corin’s newfound happiness and leave him wondering exactly who he can trust and to whom he should pledge his sword.

This is the first of five books in a series and believe me when I say the rest of the series is on my wish list! Corin is not the type of “heroic” character you are immediately drawn to but he definitely wins you over in the end with his fierce loyalty and willingness to risk himself for those he cares about. There are numerous questions left unanswered at the end of the book and I can’t wait to pick up the next one!

From My Bookshelf – The Pygmy Dragon by Marc Secchia

Pip is a pygmy warrior who finds herself captured and placed in a cage at the local zoo. She is given the opportunity to talk regularly with a human, a man who is doing research and develops an almost fatherly affection for Pipl. Suddenly, she finds herself taken – or is it rescued?! – by a dragon! The amazing creature takes her to an island acadmy where she learns, much to her surprise, that she is actually a dragon herself. Young Pip, the pygmy warrior, is a shapeshifting pygmy dragon! She has a long, uphill battle to prove her right to be at the academy to say nothing of learning to control her shapeshifting powers! There are evil forces at work, seeking to control all of dragonkind, and Pip’s unique abilities will prove to be invaluable in the fight that is to come.

I loved everything about this book. Pip is feisty and fierce and refuses to give up without a fight. But she is also willing to admit her mistakes and tries diligently to learn from them. She is cautious when getting to know the other students, taking her time to form friendships with those she knows she can trust. The first in a series, the author has created a collection of rich characters and a well-crafted world with legends and a history that provide a well-thought-out backdrop to Pip’s adventures. I can’t wait to continue reading the series!

From My Bookshelf – Maid for the Musketeer by Anna Klein

The author describes this book as more “fanfiction” than true fiction. The well-known title characters from Dumas’ original novel are nowhere to be found in Klein’s book. But Captain Treville and Cardinal Richelieu are major characters while King Louis makes a brief appearance in a crucial moment. The Duke of Buckingham MUST be at list a bit player in any story surrounding the Musketeers and their defense of the King. In this novel, our leading man has a couple of less-than-friendly encounters with him.

The story focuses on Gregoire de Medici and Charlotte Menard, childhood friends who were ripped apart by accusations of treason. Gregoire simply wants to escape the black cloud that hangs over his family name and make sure that his sister can secure a respectable husband. Charlotte was always too headstrong for her own good, preferring adventure and daring escapades to activities more suited for a young woman. When the story begins she is a widow who isn’t really grieving the husband she never loved. Her late husband left her with little more than debts she cannot pay and it’s unclear how she will survive on her own.

Enter Cardinal Richelieu. He offers to help both Charlotte and Gregoire if they will work for him. Someone is trying to harm the king and the Cardinal needs eyes on the inside. Charlotte becomes a personal maid to Lady Abigail, a noblewoman visiting from England. Gregoire joins the Musketeers under an assumed name, a job that gives him access to the palace where he and Charlotte can be seen talking without suspicion. And since Gregoire is in Musketeer blue, it will be harder to connect his actions to the Cardinal. But if they can pull off this job, they will both have everything they want. Or at least they will have what they think they want.

Klein has written a story that is both captivating AND a beautiful tribute to a well-known and much loved classic novel. Both Charlotte and Gregoire have to find the strength to admit painful secrets to one another and it seems as those these two may never find their way to one another for good. Both experience moments of danger and both are rescued by the other, making it clear that this mission needs both of them to succeed. From the moment they reconnect in Richelieu’s office, I completely believed that they were lifelong friends who had fallen in love and been separated by tragedy. They are both strong, resilient characters, neither of them diminished by the other. While very clearly a romance, it was also a story about learning to define who you are and who you want to be apart from family and the expectations of society. I loved absolutely everything about it.