As with last year I have read so many great books in 2019 and am so grateful to every author who gave me the opportunity to discover and love their work. Here is a selection of my favourites from 2019 and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year!
We Still Live by Sara Dobie Bauer
Running from a scandal that ruined his life, Isaac Twain accepts a teaching position at Hambden University where, three months prior, Professor John Conlon stopped a campus nightmare by stepping in front of an active shooter.
When John and Isaac become faculty advisors for the school’s literary magazine, their professional relationship evolves. Despite the strict code of conduct forbidding faculty fraternization, they delve into a secret affair—until Simon arrives.
Isaac’s violent ex threatens not only their careers, but also John’s life. His PTSD triggered, John must come to terms with that bloody day on College Green while Isaac must accept the heartbreak his secrets have wrought.
Goodreads: We Still Live
*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*
Rating: 3 stars
We Still Live is the story of two university professors who are both struggling with traumatic pasts. Isaac is fleeing his hometown and the scandal that his divorce left behind and John is suffering from PTS due to confronting an active shooter at the university. The two of them make a connection and embark on an affair that could not only cost them their jobs but their lives as well.
I was divided as how to rate this novel. There were some parts I liked and some I didn’t. I liked the premise and the issues that the novel dealt with. It was hard-hitting in places and brutally honest as it needed to be. All the characters rallied together well to support each other and even in the darkest moments there was hope for a better future for all of them.
However I do feel that the relationship between Isaac and John could have been better developed. For me it fell flat in places and it got on my nerves how many times Isaac reiterated that John was not his normal type. It only needed to be stated once, possibly twice, then it should have moved on from that point. I think a lot of people have fallen for someone who they wouldn’t normally, but the constant making of that point really was needless. Also the professional relationships they had with their students bordered on unprofessional. They acted like the students ages themselves in places and also in front of them. There needed to be further boundaries in place there to make this more realistic.
We Still Live is very well-written and touches some difficult subjects in a sensitive way but whilst being honest and not shying away from the aftermath of these events. I enjoyed reading it but for me there were a few things that could have been better so I can only rate it 3 stars.
Banner and Meme by The Tattooed Book Geek
As its Christmas week I have chosen a Christmas song for this week’s Music Monday! I’ll admit I am not a big Christmas song fan generally but Hurry Xmas by L’Arc~en~Ciel is just so fun you can’t not like it! Do check it out!
Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer
Experimental psychologist Jim Marchuk has developed a flawless technique for identifying the previously undetected psychopaths lurking everywhere in society. But while being cross-examined about his breakthrough in court, Jim is shocked to discover that he has lost his memories of six months of his life from twenty years previously—a dark time during which he himself committed heinous acts.
Jim is reunited with Kayla Huron, his forgotten girlfriend from his lost period and now a quantum physicist who has made a stunning discovery about the nature of human consciousness. As a rising tide of violence and hate sweeps across the globe, the psychologist and the physicist combine forces in a race against time to see if they can do the impossible—change human nature—before the entire world descends into darkness.
Goodreads: Quantum Night
*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*
Rating: 3.5 stars
Quantum Night is a science fiction novel centred heavily around the theory that not all humans have a consciousness and in fact walk around in a zombie-like state and others are psychopaths. When psychologist Jim Marchuk discovers that a scientific experiment that he voluntarily took part in twenty years ago resulted in him temporarily losing his conscious state of mind, he teams up with his ex-girlfriend from his forgotten period to discover exactly what happened to him and who was responsible.
The themes running throughout this novel are really interested and delves deep into theories regarding conscious thought whilst engaging the main characters and pulling them towards the discovery of the truth. Quantum Night is a very interesting read, however I do feel there were missed opportunities. Rather than focusing on humanity as whole in the novel’s finale I feel a better direction might have been on the two main characters. This left me feeling slightly disappointed when the novel reached its conclusion.
That being said, I did enjoy reading Quantum Night and it drew on some very interesting theories and concepts. There was plenty of action and suspense to keep me wanting to turn the next page.
Book Title: Inheritance
Author: Gail Z. Martin
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Genre/s: Urban fantasy with romantic elements.
(Note—Characters from my Morgan Brice (MM paranormal romance) books make several key appearances in this book.
Also, a long-time committed MM couple figure prominently in the plot).
Trope/s: Established relationships, strengthening commitment, supportive partners, protective partners
Themes: Friendship, found family, loyalty, family always has your back, trust
Heat Rating: 0 – 1 flame (No sex, kissing/hugging for MF and MM characters)
Length: 66 000 words/ 222 pages
It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.
Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?
Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curio shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them, and she teams up with friends and allies who use magic and paranormal abilities to get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.
Caribbean ghosts terrorize Charleston and start racking up a body count. Then Beckford Pendlewood, the heir to a powerful family of dark warlocks, shows up raving about a bound demon locked in a lost box and begs sanctuary. Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?
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Title: Wounded Martyr
Author: Courtney Maguire
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 16, 2019
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Contemporary, gay, rock star, musicians, tour, drug/alcohol use, addiction, friends to lovers, hurt/comfort
Ice is an asshole, but he’s working on it. He’s two years sober, no small feat when you front a heavy metal band facing waning popularity and dismal ticket sales. But the pieces of a life torn apart by alcoholism are finally coming back together. His band, Wounded Martyr, has written a great album with the potential to launch them back into relevancy. And Ricky, probably the biggest, most important piece, has finally forgiven him for the wreck he made of their relationship. There’s only one problem.
It was to be expected. As his best friend and bandmate for almost twenty years, it’s only natural they should find each other in the loneliness of the road. Ricky knows about their one night together, but he doesn’t know that Ice can’t stop thinking about it, about his long body and whiskey-flavored lips, and the guilt of it has him on the brink of backslide. Now that Wounded Martyr is poised for a long tour, Ice must find a way to resist temptation or risk blowing their last chance and destroying his relationship with the two most important men in his life.