Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Review: Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep

July 2nd, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: July 2, 2019

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Series: Crown of Shards #2

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book

Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…

My Thoughts

Wow! I just have to say how blown away I have been by this series. I loved the first book, Kill the Queen, and have been on pins and needles waiting for Protect the Prince. Often times I feel like book 2 in any series suffers a bit of middle book syndrome and doesn’t live up to the epicness of the first book but if anything I may have enjoyed this one even a smidge more than Kill the Queen.

There is a whole lot going on. Everleigh is having to adjust to being queen, dealing with her own insecurities about being queen, the plots to assassinate her along with the complications of her feelings for Sullivan. Each subplot is handled superbly and the book never dragged.

The saddest part was that it had to end and now it’s a waiting game again for the next book.

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Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, Fantasy, Favorites | No Comments »

Review: Beyond the Limit by Cindy Dees

June 25th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Netgalley

Publication date: June 25, 2019

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book

Skylar Tate, former Miss Congeniality, is a media officer for the Navy, but she itches to get on the field—and she can prove she has what it takes. But convincing others that she can become one of the first ever female Navy SEALs? That might be tougher than the agonizingly brutal training.

Griffin Caldwell and his teammates in his Navy SEAL platoon, the Reapers, are tasked to secretly train women candidates to become the first female SEALs. But when he meets Skylar Tate, it’s friction—and lust—at first sight. Griffin can’t believe the former pageant queen has what it takes, and Skylar can’t believe his arrogance. But when one deadly mission goes wrong, it’s up to Skylar and Griffin and their unprecedented bond to save the day.

My Thoughts

This book took me a long time to get into it. I have to admit if I hadn’t received it for review I probably would have set it aside. Despite the storyline being about how a woman being capable of becoming a Navy SEAL a good portion of the beginning of the book focused on how hot both the hero and heroine found each other. It fed into all the stereotypes of why women shouldn’t be in the military. Couldn’t they at least wait until they got to know each other before wanting to rub up against each other?!

Once we finally get to know Skylar and Griffin beyond the fact that they’re both hot I actually came to enjoy both characters. I came to admire that Skylar was able to hold her own and that Griffin honestly came to respect her and the other Valkyries abilities. Once Skylar finally makes it to BUDs training I felt the story finally picks up and I enjoyed it much more. So if you can past the first 1/4 of the book the rest is enjoyable.

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Review: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

June 14th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Borrowed from the library

Publication date: February 16, 2016

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book

When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.

David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when the Reckoners’ leader struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back. . . .

But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

My Thoughts

I have to just say again what an amazeballs series this has been. I read all 3 books in the span of 4 or 5 days because I could not put them down. It’s been about a week since I’ve read them and I’m still telling everyone that they have to go read this series. A good friend started it the other day and finished book 1 the same day as well. So trust me, this is a must read.

Firefight really left me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. Who was going to survive? What was David going to do? There were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. While this book was good I did give it 4 stars instead of the 5 I gave books 1 and 2 as I felt the ending was a bit rushed. I was still left with some questions and while it looks like the series is now done I didn’t feel like every thread was wrapped up. Still a pretty satisfying conclusion. Could have been stronger but still a must read series and I can’t wait to read more from Sanderson.

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Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Fantasy, Young Adult | No Comments »

Review: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

June 12th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Borrowed from the library

Publication date: January 6, 2015

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book

Babylon Restored, formerly Manhattan, may give David answers. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

My Thoughts

If you read my review of Steelheart you know I immediately went looking for this book as soon as I finished Steelheart. I just had to know what was going to happen with Firefight and what up next for the Reckoners now that they had defeated Steelheart. Sometimes I feel like book 2 in series tend to be the weaker book as it tends to be a lot of setup for the culmination of a series in book 3 but this one definitely did not suffer from that curse.

We meet some new characters who were fine but Tia, Professor, and the rest of the original gang really hold my heart. Sanderson kept me guessing about this new villain, Regalia. I couldn’t decide if she was truly evil, was trying to fight the evil that came with her power or somewhere in between. The story line again was fascinating as we enter a new environment that is so different from what we saw in Steelheart. And then OMG, that ending! You definitely will not see it coming and just warning you, be prepared with book 3 on hand!

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Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, Fantasy, Young Adult | No Comments »

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

June 7th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Purchased

Publication date: September 24, 2013

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

My Thoughts

If you’re looking for a new series to binge read I highly suggest you pick this one up and then clear your calendar. I was thinking for something different to read and this has been sitting on my Kindle for awhile. I’m glad I finally read it and glad that I had the weekend free because immediately upon finishing it I had to go get books 2 and 3.

If you love X-Men this series is right up your alley. It’s actually an interesting take on how would people behave if they were to suddenly develop special powers. Does power corrupt? Would people use their powers to help others? How would you react?

The main character, David, cracked me up. He’s not what you would expect from a typical hero. He’s kind of bumbling and comes up with the most hilariously random metaphors for every situation. I actually had to stop at times to laugh out loud and share his latest metaphor with my daughter. There were a few parts of the book that it killed me to stop reading to get some work done and the entire book was riveting. Definitely a must read series!

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Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, Fantasy, Young Adult | No Comments »

Podcast Thoughts: Jim Kwik – Activate Happiness in 5 Minutes with Alex & Mimi Ikonn

June 5th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

I’ve only recently started listening to Jim Kwik’s podcast and while out walking yesterday I listened to the episode about the 5-minute journaling. So many podcasts I listen to swear by journaling but I have to admit that it’s just something I haven’t been able to get into. I tried it after reading The Miracle Morning, I tried it after listening to Losing Weight with Phit ‘N Phat and it also came up during a parenting course I listened to but it just hasn’t stuck.

This 5 minute journaling did appeal to me. It wraps in several concepts I’ve been studying such as gratitude and listing things you are grateful for. It also includes daily affirmations which is something The Miracle Morning also stressed.  The other one that stuck out for me was reflecting on your day and look for the positive things that happened that day. They also suggest doing journaling first thing upon waking up and then right before bed.

I do want to try this so will see how it goes. To listen to the full episode you can check it out here.

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Review: Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

May 28th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: May 28, 2019

Publisher: Gallery Books

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.

My Thoughts

I have to admit it pains me to give this book 3 stars because I love Lauren Layne’s writing so much but I have to admit this one just didn’t do it for me. The premise is interesting enough and I was curious to see how it would play out but neither main character got me invested in their story. Yes, I felt bad for Oliver for having to deal with his father’s condition, especially since he admits several times he didn’t actually like his father before he developed Alzheimer’s. Naomi’s character was lukewarm for me. I admire that she made so much of herself through hard work and her own grit but she just wasn’t as likeable as the heroines in other Lauren Layne books. Without caring much for either character I never really became invested in their relationship.

As for the storyline itself, it wasn’t bad but the ending was a big turn off for me. I didn’t care for the conflict, especially the way Oliver reacted. It made me actually dislike his character for being so cruel and brushing off Naomi’s feelings and past. I also felt like Naomi let him off too easily in the end and that he never truly felt remorse for the things he said to her.

The saving grace for me in this story was actually the supporting characters. I loved Naomi’s friends, Claire and Audrey, and I am hoping to see Clarke get his own book!

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Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Contemporary, Romance | No Comments »

Blog Tour: Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen Excerpt + Giveaway

May 19th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books


About the Book:

Addison Murphy is the funny friend, the girl you grab a beer with—the girl voted most likely to start her own sweatshirt line. And now that one of her best guy friends is getting married, she’ll add “groomsman” to that list, too. She’ll get through this wedding if it’s the last thing she does. Just don’t ask her to dive for any bouquet.
When Tucker Crawford returns to his small hometown, he expects to see the same old people, feel comfort in the same old things. He certainly doesn’t expect to see the nice pair of bare legs sticking out from under the hood of a broken-down car. Certainly doesn’t expect to feel his heart beat faster when he realizes they belong to one of his best friends.
If he convinces Addie to give him a chance, they could be electric…or their break-up could split their tight-knit group in two.
Hiding the way he feels from the guys through bachelor parties, cake tastings, and rehearsals is one thing. But just as Tucker realizes that Addie truly could be the perfect woman for him—he was just too stupid to realize it—now she’s leaving to follow her own dreams. He’s going to need to do a lot of compromising if he’s going to convince her to take a shot at forever with him—on her terms this time.

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The concern faded as a smile curved her red lips, somehow unsmudged despite the kissing and drinking. “Will just talks about your games so much, and I’d like to try my hand at it. I don’t think I could get my mother on board for poker at the reception, though. Pretty sure she’d have a heart attack if I even mentioned it. She thinks I’m crazy to be getting married here and moving here, and basically, she just thinks I’m plumb crazy. Which, when it comes to that sexy man over there…” Her gaze drifted to Shep and a dreamy quality entered her features. “I am.”“It’s nice to see, actually. And the townspeople will love you forever for having the wedding here and letting them be part of it.” Addie picked up one of the stray coasters and spun it to give her fingers something to do. “And I’m sorry about saying that wedding planning is boring. It just…”

“Is,” she supplied. “I mean for me it’s overwhelming, but like I said when I asked for your help, I know it’s not your thing.”

“I seriously don’t mind helping. But admittedly teaching you poker is something I’m way more qualified for.” It also gave Lexi more bonus points. Clearly she was embracing small town life and trying to fit into the group, and hopefully that meant things wouldn’t have to change too terribly much after they were married. It also gave her an excuse to text Tucker and ask him to bring by a deck of cards if he happened to swing by the bar to catch some of the game.

While Addie waited for his response, she and Lexi made yet another to-do list from the master to-do list. Addie took the items she thought she could handle, or at least could find townspeople willing to help make them happen. In a lot of ways, discussing everything that needed done and how they’d go about handling them highlighted their differences, but along the way, they also connected.

Which was probably why, when Tucker showed up and tossed a deck of cards across the room to Addie, Lexi felt comfortable enough to ask if she thought Tucker would be interested in Brittany. Evidently, the meticulous brunette couldn’t stop talking about the way he’d swooped in and offered his car, and how sexy he was.

What Addie wanted to say as she pulled the deck of cards out of the well-worn box was I’m not sure she’s his type. But his type had always been pretty Southern belles, ones who didn’t understand or care for Addie. So honestly, the bridesmaid was right up his alley, and now she was remembering that during the whole car-breakdown debacle, he’d requested she put in a good word. “Yeah, he’d probably be interested,” Addie said, and why did that make a pit form in her stomach?

It had to be because she’d been thinking about “what would happen if all her friends coupled off and she got left behind. But she forced herself to push that worry aside and say, “I’m sure he’d give her a call if you gave him her number.”

More gut sinking immediately followed, which was stupid. Well, not exactly stupid. They’d been apart for two years and it sucked. With him in a different city, and communication between them slowing to a trickle, there’d been a few times when she wondered if she was forgettable. Replaceable, even.

Mostly just on dark days when she’d been missing Tucker more than usual, or when she’d felt especially lonely. Part of the fault belonged to her, too. The roads went both ways and she could’ve made more of an effort. So she resolved to do better, even if he got a girlfriend. She’d also try to ignore the jealousy—jealousy she’d feel for anyone who took away any of her time with him.

She met his gaze, and he winked at her, a smug, semimocking grin on his lips that made it clear he was teasing her about her current wedding-planning situation. It also made her heart stutter the tiniest bit.

Underneath the table, she thumbed out a text.

ADDIE: FYI, I’m going to drag you with me to at least half these tasks, so wipe that smug look off your face.

TUCKER: Why don’t you come wipe it off for me?

A swirl went through her stomach. Because of the challenge—she loved a good challenge.

ADDIE: Oh, I’m coming for you. But it’ll be when you least expect it. Be afraid. Very afraid.

TUCKER: Unlike most guys, I’m not afraid of you.

Her mouth dropped. He did not just go there.


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Meet the Author:

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Posted in Blog Tour, Books, Contemporary, Romance | No Comments »

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