Title: Prince of Thieves, Author: Chuck Hogan

In the heart of Boston, in the neighborhood of Charlestown, live the best bank robbers in the world. It’s an art passed down from one generation to the next — and Doug is one of the best. So when he and his three friends and fellow robbers hold up a local bank, Doug doesn’t plan on becoming intrigued with the beautiful bank manager, Claire.

He can’t keep away, and after the robbery starts to follow her, befriend her. Fall in love with her. But with a cunning investigator tracing Doug’s tracks back to his tiny, dark apartment, Doug starts to realize that this game of cops and robbers won’t last forever.

This book is AMAZING. It’s been out a while, and they made a movie about it called THE TOWN starring Ben Affleck.

ben affleck

Well…yeah. Anyway, the movie is amazing, too.


I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

Dangit, who keeps inserting those pics? ANYWAY, Prince of Thieves is full of so much Boston (specifically Charlestown) voice that is lifts you away and plops you down in an old Irish bar, holding a pint. It’s a bank robber story, sure, but it’s more than that. It’s a love story between the bad-guy bank robber wanting to be better, and the somewhat naive girl from the other side of the tracks. Who doesn’t love star-crossed romance? The tension is high, the alternating points of view keep you guessing and flipping the pages. It has an unexpected ending that is on point and not schmalzy at all. Thank goodness. If you like romance, if you like heists, if you like atmospheric gritty novels…Chuck Hogan’s got you covered.

Highly recommended.

Book Review: THE BEST MAN

The Best Man

Archer Magill looks up to three people in his young life: His dad, his grandfather, and his super cool Uncle Paul. Uncle Paul has a fancy job and has an in with the Cubs. He always seems to know exactly how to get the bullies to stand down, and how to drive a perfectly sporty car and bring pizza over on Friday nights.

When Mr. Mcleod, the school’s first male teacher…READ MORE HERE.


Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass Series #1)

Okay, I’m completely late to the party on this one. THRONE OF GLASS is an epically HUGE series. You’ve probably read it. So I won’t add to the already bloated canon of fangirl reviews.

Well, maybe just a bit.

Celaena Sardothien is a beautiful, hugely talented assassin. She’s been locked up in a hard labor camp for crimes against the crown. So when Prince Dorian shows up with an offer, really any offer, Celaena takes it without looking back. She’s to compete to be the King’s champion. But what treacherous deceit does the foul King have in store for her? And can she survive the mythical monster that is roaming the halls of the castle, gutting competitors before they finish their tasks?

Maas is a very talented writer (obviously). It’s a long book, which I love, but you are completely engrossed from page one. I love the mystical bits, I love the mystery, I love finding out what deep dark secrets made Celaena the dark assassin she is. Plus the obvious love triangle is a fun diversion, too, though not really why I bought in to the series.

If you love fantasy, sorcery, chosen one myths or good old-fashioned love triangles, this is the book for you. I mean, there are maps for goodness’ sake. MAPS.

I got you there, didn’t I?

Go buy it now! There are umpteen more books, and from what I hear they only get better. Whee!

Book Review: HEARTFIRE

Heartfire: A Winterkill Novel

HEARTFIRE is Kate Boorman’s fabulous finish to the WINTERKILL series. Emmeline has left Kane behind in the safety of a small village with his little brothers. She travels on to tribal land with Matisa and the group, hoping to find a way to keep the Dominion out of the valley and Leon’s terrible men out of her mind and heart. But the Dominion is circling close to the cure for the Bleed, and what little leverage Emmeline and Matisa have left is slipping. And when people start getting sick from the water – even with the cure for the Bleed – it seems that Emmeline is out of time. In this exciting conclusion to the WINTERKILL series, we find out if Emmeline’s dreams will finally come true – even her nightmares.

I absolutely loved this series! It was an exciting find as I just passed it in the library, grabbed the first book, and off I went. It’s set in a alternate type history, part colonial, part pioneer days. There are interesting mixes of cultures here with Native people, the new settlers, Emmeline’s settlement…there’s a lot going on and it’s beautifully blended together. Boorman is a talented author who takes you from page one and drags you through an exciting epic across mountains and forests, through heated first kisses and winning plot twists. Start this series today; you won’t be disappointed!

Highly recommended. Get it now!


Beware That Girl

Kate is a scholarship kid all the way – she has a sordid past she won’t talk about, brains that compete with the best Ivy-Leaguer, and the street-smarts to do whatever it takes to claw her way to the top. So when she meets Olivia at her new private school, Kate decides that Olivia is her new mark. Only, Olivia is a bit strange. She has a mysterious past year where she was missing from school. Her mega-rich dad is never around, and her emotions seem flat. Kate befriends Olivia out of self-preservation (after all, sleeping in a penthouse with your new bestie is far better than an old cot in a basement), but eventually starts to care for her. Worry about her. And when hot Mr. Redkin starts to snoop too close to Olivia, all of Kate’s warning bells go off.

In this twisty and exciting thriller, Kate races to uncover Olivia’s past and Mr. Redkin’s intentions, only to discover that this might be the only situation she won’t be able to manipulate her way out of. Lies, money and jealousy flare up for an exciting game of cat and mouse in this YA novel.

This books was brilliantly paced. Teresa Toten is a masterful storyteller. She blends a distinctive Gossip Girl/Pretty Little Liar vibe with Girl on the Train twists. I finished the book in just a few sittings, which is always a good sign. Though I wanted even more from the ending, or heaven help me, a second book, I was completely thrilled with this book. Kate is pitch perfect, as is Olivia (though my knowledge of trust funds or prep schools is rather limited!). I found myself shifting from one character’s side to the other. Throw in the glitzy world of the mega rich, and you’ve got quite the page turner. Who doesn’t love a scandalous dirtbag and dirty secrets?

Highly recommended!

WINTERKILL, by Kate Boorman

Title: Winterkill, Author: Kate A. Boorman

Emmeline is wayward – at least, that’s what everyone in her settlement thinks. Someday she’ll slip down a slope and fall headfirst into something dark and sinful, like her grandmother. That’s why she and her whole family have a stain. Add in an injured foot, and Emmeline isn’t the most popular resident of her settlement. The woods surrounding the settlers are strange and dark, but they call to her. Her dreams turn feverish, beckoning her to come closer, to discover the secrets the council wants to hide. But having a stain on her already marks her as one to watch, and she can’t be too careful. She doesn’t want to end up at the crossroads like her grandmother, hung in a cage to die in the elements.

So when Emmeline discovers a secret in the forest, she must decide who to trust. Kane, the handsome boy from the other side of the colony? Her lifelong friend, who has his own secrets to hide? And when one of the leaders of her colony asks for her hand in marriage, she must decide: truth, or the chance at clearing her and her family’s stain forever.

WINTERKILL is fantastic. I ripped through this book in two sessions, devouring the pages. I was spooked, I was intrigued, I was hooked from page one. Emmeline is perfectly sixteen. She’s courageous and curious and she’s looking for love in all the presumably wrong places. The setting is new and powerfully stark, and the voice of the protagonist is pitch perfect. Emmeline draws you in to her world and never lets you go. I ordered the second book as soon as I was finished. You will too!

Book Review: UPROOTED by Naomi Novik

Title: Uprooted, Author: Naomi Novik

UPROOTED by Naomi Novik is a stunning high fantasy novel that I enjoyed from page one.

Agnieszka is a teen in a small village outside a haunted and self-aware forest. The Dragon, a sorcerer, comes to her village and takes a girl every ten years. This year he will come again, and everyone knows he will come for her best friend, Kasia. Instead, it’s her hand he grasps at the choosing, and so she is torn from her family and thrust in to a new and terrifying life.

The Dragon, as it turns out, is not as half as scary as she thought. True, he lives in a lonely tower just outside the deadly forest, but he is quiet, grumpy, and skinny. He never touches her, and in fact begins to teach her magic. He nurtures the magic inherent within her, though he doesn’t like it, filling Agnieszka with pride and wonder for the first time in her life. In fact, Agnieszka starts to feel a heat between them, a spark of something she never thought she’d feel toward the sallow sorcerer. When her friend, Kasia, is taken by the woods, Agnieszka rushes to save her. What Agnieszka finds alters the face of her Kingdom, and her life, forever.

This is a phenomenal book. If you love fantasy like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, anything like that — this is the book for you. I absolutely loved Agnieszka’s feisty nature. I loved how she threw The Dragon’s attitude back in his face. I love that she fights for everything she believes in, her friends, her family, no matter what.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. The writing is wonderful. Novik is a true master of her craft (and no wonder, she’s written about a million other books). The settings are crystal clear, the wood is terrifying, the plot unfolds at just the right pace. Trust me, if you like fantasy, READ THIS BOOK. I am going online to look for the rest of her books. This one is THAT good.

Highly recommended.

THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman

Title: The Magician's Trilogy Boxed Set, Author: Lev Grossman

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman.

“Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed.”

So we begin a murky, dark fantasy. Quentin is good at school, but not great at making friends. Like many of us, he’s obsessed with a children’s fantasy series, and dreams of another life, another world, where he can be magical.

He’s interviewing for a prestigious college when he finds an entrance to another place – Brakebills. It’s a secret university for magicians, hid behind a cloak of invisibility. When he passes the test, he is whirled away to a school where he is a prodigy, where he finally has friends who are equals, and where he belongs.

But a dark force waits just beneath the surface. A force of magic that threatens the school and the magical world itself.

I won’t say more than that, because I don’t want to give away what happens. Does he flunk out? Succeed? Hook up with his old flame from his old life, Julia? The new hot girl at school, Alice?

This book was off the charts. I absolutely loved every minute of it. Grossman is a master storyteller. Quentin is sympathetic, yet flawed. I loved him and was annoyed by his mistakes. I envisioned myself as a Brakebills student. I cried for Quentin’s losses.

I’m going to invoke the holy name of HARRY POTTER. Yes, this is compared to Harry Potter, but other than a young man going to a magic school, there’s not many other similarities. This is a great book that stands on its own.

A very dark, thrilling tale of getting exactly what you asked for. The truth can be a cruel mistress.


Are you still reading this review?


(Also this is now a series on Syfy, but I’ve only seen an episode or two. It didn’t seem to follow the book plot-wise. But still worth watching on its own!)

The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King (Raven Cycle Series #4)


Can we just start out with: I love this book. I love this series. Maggie Stiefvater is one of the most talented writers of our generation/of all time. Where is Kanye when I need him? OF ALL TIME, Y’ALL.

Here’s an excerpt of my review of the first book, just so you know what the series is about:

Blue, daughter of a ‘seer’ (a clairvoyant), has a unique skill. Although she can’t communicate with the spirit world herself, her presence amplifies clairvoyant and psychic abilities in those around her. And when she sees the dying ghost of a boy named Gansey on St. Mark’s Eve in the church graveyard, her mother tells her it can only mean one of two things. Either he is her true love, or she’ll kill him by the time the year is out. And those points may not be mutually exclusive.

Set in small-town Virginia, this lyrical mystery weaves the viewpoints of the local “Raven Boys” from a prestigious private school with Blue’s own sharp narration. The boys aren’t like normal rich kids – they are searching for buried treasure in the form of an un-dead historical figure, waiting to grant his finder any wish. Blue is drawn to them, even as she knows that Gansey will soon die. With several twists, this book will keep readers flipping pages well in to the night.

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way…THE RAVEN KING is the last book in the Raven Cycle, a four book series. It was so amazing. Each book builds on the last, creating a fascinating urban/fantasy/magical realist world (depending on who you talk to, I’m sure) that I just cannot get enough of. Part Southern Gothic in the  vein of Anne Rice, part YA teen angst, part just amazing fantasy, you will not be able to put it down. And if you haven’t started the series, lucky you! You get to read all four at once.

I’m jelly.

Blue is a a heroin we can root for, Gansey is so swoonworthy it hurts (OMG he calls her Jane, JANE and I can’t stand it I love it) and we cannot wait for them to get together. Maggie is an absolutely phenomenal writer. She grabs you from the word go, and you will not look away.

I loved the mythology, I loved the setting, I loved the characters.


I loved the CARS. Gosh, there are just not enough cars in books. I loved Gansey’s Camaro, since I have one, too. I loved the details of these books, the complex character relationships…Truly a masterpiece.

In conclusion: Buy all four books. Read them. Tell everyone you love about them. Maggie Stiefvater wins this decade for best series.