Kimber Leigh Reads

I read and review mostly YA and New Adult any genre within. My favorite's usually have a good romance element.

The Body Institute by Carol Riggs

The Body Institute - Carol  Riggs
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Unique urban sci-fi with a very intriguing premise.
I was hooked the moment I read the blurb. The idea of uploading someone's mind into another's body is fascinating... it also has the implications for so much abuse. For main character Morgan, what she originally saw as a dream job turned into something all together different.
I liked Morgan. She was opinionated, and her opinions about weight and body image were made known throughout the story, especially at the beginning. As she experienced life through her obese loaner body, she began to realize how awful being overweight in a weight obsessed society could be. She stepped up when it mattered and did what she thought was right, and I admired her for it.
I could see this book really bothering some people-- even acting as a potential trigger. Those of us who have never really dealt with obesity or body image issues may not understand. But as someone who has counseled some with eating issues, I worry that Morgan's attitude might hurt. It wasn't just Morgan either. Jodine's (the loaner body) mother was a tad on the crazy side. So if weight/body issue is a potential trigger for you, I recommend staying away from this one.
The premise was fascinating-- I really wish the author had gone a bit more in depth into the science of the procedure, but that's the geek in me. While the second half of the book was fast-paced and hard to put down, I felt the first half moved a tad slow for my taste. I didn't really feel the romance at all so that was a miss for me. While I loved the fact that everything wrapped up in one book, it ended so quickly and rather conveniently as well. Given the moral and legal implications, I just wanted more.
Overall: intriguing premise, interesting main character, unique concept all wrapped up in one book. If you like urban sci-f with a bit of romance, this one is definitely different.



Review: Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh

Confessions of a Queen B* (The Queen B* Book 1) - Crista McHugh

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Confessions of a Queen B* is a cute, fluffy YA contemporary read. Very fast-paced, I raced through this story in just a couple of hours. With endearing characters and a fun plot, this is a nice book to read during a balmy summer evening.

I really liked Alexis. Perhaps it was because I could relate to her. There was just something about her drive and hidden vulnerability that drew me to her. I also loved Brett-- another almost-too-good-to-be-true leading man. Lots of teenage stereotypes mixed with some intriguing non-stereotypical characters made for an interesting line-up.

Loved the snippets from Alexis's blog posts at the beginning of each chapter-- they helped me understand her character more. Though I really liked the characters, the plot didn't draw me in as much as I had hoped. I found myself frequently skimming to get to the next part. The ending wasn't really an ending as much as an invitation to continue the series. If you're looking for HEA, you won't find it here. That's not to say it's bad, in fact I liked the ending-- it was much more realistic than a HEA would have been.

If you're looking for fun and fluff to read on a hot summer day, this book should fit the bill.


Review: Ella the Slayer by A.W. Exley

Ella, The Slayer - A. W. Exley
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Ella the Slayer was a fun twist on the Cinderella fairy tale. Cinderella was never one of my favorites because as a character, she's rather weak. Ella isn't weak-- a definite improvement in my opinion. Add in zombies and you have all the makings for an imaginative retelling.
Ella was a well-written, strong character. Not only did she wait hand and foot on her stepmother and two stepsisters, but she also patroled her land, slaying any undead who make it past the perimeter fence with her trusty katana. And she did it with a good attitude. Ella had good friends, namely Alice and Henry who helped make her a decent person.
The romance between Ella and Seth, the new duke, was slow to build. No insta-love here, though Ella is attracted to him from the start. I thought the story moved along a tad slow, especially the beginning. But it is a rather short story and things picked up quickly. I enjoyed the budding relationship between Ella and Seth.
The ending-- well, I wasn't a huge fan. It was left somewhat open-ended, perhaps for a sequel? I also was at odds with the way some things turned out- but of course that's just my feelings. My favorite thing about this story was the imagination present throughout. It was definitely a fun retelling-- I think it may be true that zombies make everything better :)

Review: The Weight of Guilt by Jon Ripslinger

The Weight of Guilt - Jon Ripslinger
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
The Weight of Guilt is an intense, heavy read-- I think the title is very appropriate.
The mystery was told in first person from the alternating viewpoints of John Hawk and Charley Cotton. I really liked John, felt such pain for what he'd endured. Charley, I liked her, but didn't understand or connect with her much. She was a likable character, loyal to her best friend, sweet, intelligent, but for some reason, I enjoyed the scenes from John's POV much more than Charley's
The story is very fast-paced, but I had a difficult time becoming as immersed as I had hoped. The first few chapters especially just didn't resonate with me. However, once Megan disappeared, things got interesting. I found Megan to be immensely annoying, so I think that was the reason I didn't like the earlier chapters as much. There were lots of secrets in Megan's past which made the mystery interesting and twisty.
I stated earlier that I liked the scenes from John's POV the best. While that's true, I also have to say that he was a troubled, burdened character. The weight of his burden was almost palpable as I read.
The ending didn't really surprise me, but I do think Mr. Ripslinger did a great job building the suspense until the big reveal. Though there wasn't a lot of graphic violence, I would have to rate this as upper YA due to the subject matter. Dark and character-driven, I think this novel will appeal to mature teens.

Review: Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Saves the World - Carrie Vaughn
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
If you read my reviews, you know I have a tendency to pick up books in a series out of order. Sometimes a book hits my inbox that I can't resist-- such was the case with this one. No, I haven't read any other books in the series, but the series has been on my TBR for a while. It was funny actually... I was enjoying the book so much, I thought about setting it aside and reading all the rest first. But I was already so engrossed, I needed to read to the end.
Kitty Saves the World was an amazing read. It was fun, had intriguing characters, a quick pace, and a great plot. Kitty is now one of my favorite female leading ladies, and her mate, Ben, is equally wonderful. In fact all of the characters, including the baddies were well-written. I can't wait to go back and read all thirteen Kitty novels. Sure the plot was really interesting, but the characters were what drew me in to the point that I couldn't put the book down.
I loved the supernatural radio show-- what a fun idea. I got in just at the tail end of Kitty's saga, but it seemed that Rowan spent many hours making Kitty's life difficult. The pacing of the novel was tight with lots of action-- along with plenty of information to make the plot come to life. I liked the end game Ms. Vaughn created for her bad guys-- the closing action scenes were thrilling.
Speaking of endings-- I loved this ending. I don't say that often, I know. Kitty Saves the World was one of the most enjoyable books I've read all year. But don't do what I did. Start with book one :)

Madison's Song by Christine Amsden

Madison's Song - Christine Amsden
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Madison's Song is a standalone companion to the Cassie Scot series, yet I don't think you need to read them first to enjoy this novel. But you'll be missing out if you don't-- they are quite good.
Madison was a character I definitely wanted to know more about while reading the Cassie Scot series. Her magical talent, singing, was one I found especially intriguing. Madison typically came across as meek and soft, but when it really counted, she found her backbone. The romance, or rather lack thereof, between Scott and Madison was tragic. They were both attracted to each other for years but always afraid to connect. He was afraid his wolf would hurt her, and she was afraid of his wolf.
Evil sorcerer Alexander DuPris made an appearance in the story via proxy with an insidious plot involving werewolves. While I enjoyed the story and the interactions between Scott and Madison, I felt that the pacing was a tad too slow for my taste at times, especially at the beginning. The best part- Madison finally embracing the magic within her.
If you like paranormal romance, then this series is really a must read.



Descendants of the Rose by Juliette Harper

Descendants of the Rose (The Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries Book 1) - Juliette Harper

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

I really enjoyed this fun, fast-paced paranormal mystery. It's funny- when I first started reading Descendants of the Rose, I wasn't sure if I was going to like Selby. Since the story is told from her point of view, in her voice, that would be a big issue. She started out rough and gritty, but she really grew on me quickly.

The cast of characters were rather quirky making this a fun story even when the subject matter became serious. And it did become rather serious, especially toward the end. Though macabre, I did like the plot, especially the link to the roses and the history of the girls' school.

Selby was tough, yet soft. Yeah, I know, hard to explain. She was sarcastic, yet kind, angry, yet forgiving-- at times she was a study in conflicting emotions. She'd been hurt one too many times and preferred keeping company with the dead. In this paranormal world, ghosts have lots of power. In some ways it almost seemed better to be a ghost than living. Her best friend Helen seemed to be having the time of her life afterlife.

I appreciated the fast pace. In fact there never was much of a lull in the entire story. Lots of action along with research and investigation-- all of it interesting. I'd have to say the best thing about this novel was the characters and the potential for more. They were all quite intriguing. It will be interesting to see how they grow and work together as the series continues. I'll definitely be watching for book 2.


Deception by A.S. Fenichel

Deception (Demon Hunters) - A.S. Fenichel

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Regency paranormals are relatively new to me... I think I've read one or two others and I have to say- I really enjoy the genre. Regency London and paranormal just seem to mesh so well. Deception had a nice mix of an intriguing plot with enjoyable characters in a fast-paced read.


I loved Lillian. Plain and simple- she rocked. She was comfortable in her own skin, in her choices. Sure she was one tough cookie when it came to fighting demons, but she also had a softer side she was not afraid to display. Her kindness to people of all walks of life was refreshing. Lillian knew she was tough and didn't feel the need to prove it constantly.


It was rather hard not to fall for Dorian. He always seemed to say just the right thing at just the right time- sometimes to the point of being too good to be true. Sweet, strong, intelligent, and kind- he encompassed them all. The way he worshiped Lillian was rather adorable.


The plot was fast-paced and interesting. I always like being included in the research as well as the fighting and action sequences, so I enjoyed following along with the characters as they investigated. I never quite felt the romance between Lillian and Dorian. It was apparent in their words and actions, but the banter and the dance got old quicker than I'd have liked. It was strange- I mean I really liked the characters as individuals but together they ended up annoying me sometimes. This story had an ending of sorts. The author wrapped up the current story line while leaving room open for more to come.


You may notice that Deception is a book two in a series. I didn't read book one first, and I don't think it affected my enjoyment. Of course, I'm going to read book one now because Gabriel and Belinda seem like interesting characters.


Beneath the Cape - A Superhero Anthology

Beneath the Cape: The Superhero Anthology: Benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project - Christine Zolendez, Lynn Vroman, D. Nichole King, Laura Thalassa, Sunniva Dee, Angela  McPherson, Cheryl McIntyre, Magan Vernon

I was lucky enough to receive the ARC in exchange for an honest review


I adore anthologies. They are a great way to discover new authors. When they also benefit a fantastic cause, well you just can't go wrong. Each story in this anthology is novella length, and they are all quite enjoyable. I read it on the lanai of our vacation rental in Grand Cayman. Perfect summer reading.


One thing I really liked was how different the stories were, and yet they all seemed to mesh together so well. I love a good hero, and I love to hate a good villain. Mix it all up and that's even better.


The first story pulled me in with the alternating first person viewpoints- I always enjoy seeing things from multiple perspectives. I loved Ulani, the kitten shifter, along with the thrilling mystery in Cat Love. The gypsy love curse in the third novella was intriguing, making the story a real page-turner. The Only Difference had a wonderful contemporary feel to it. Number five was electric- literally and figuratively :) Breaking Through ends with a cliffhanger- I really enjoyed the intriguing plot but wish I didn't have to wait for the rest of the story. Villain was character driven with great interactions between Ember and Lanely.


I highly recommend this anthology to everyone 18+ (some of the stories contain adult material). The variety of plots and characters keep the pages turning. Not to mention, all of the novellas are fast-paced and rather difficult to put down.


Review: Secret of the Sevens by Lynn Lindquist

Secret of the Sevens - Lynn Lindquist
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Looking for an interesting mystery filled with suspense and conspiracy? Look no further than Secret of  the Sevens.Lots of action, sweet romance, intrigue, and good old fashioned treasure hunting make this novel a winner.
Talan was an amazing character- I loved that the story was from his point of view. Cocky yet sweet, confident yet vulnerable, Ms. Lindquist did a fabulous job bringing this character to life. Just enough backstory was shared to really connect the reader to him and understand what makes him tick. Talan was the type of guy I want to be friends with. I also adored the fact that despite his ADHD, Talan was presented as intelligent and capable when he set his mind to it. The budding romance between Laney and Talan was so adorable. I haven't rooted that hard for a couple in a long time.
I love riddles and cryptic clues, and this novel was full of them. I shared the characters' excitement every time a new clue arrived, The Pillars and villain Kane were quite despicable, and I couldn't wait for their downfall. The entire mystery around the Sevens and the Singers was so intriguing and well-plotted. I liked that Ms. Lindquist created a complex mystery but still made it easy to follow and understand. The only issue I had was with the pacing. There were times when it was lightning fast but others where I found myself skimming to get to the next part,
If you like secret societies, conspiracies, and kids making a difference, then Secret of the Sevens is a book you'll enjoy. This is a great novel for teen guys as well, especially since the protagonist is male. I'll definitely be recommending this one to my son.

Run Away by Laura Salters

Run Away - Laura Salters

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Run Away was definitely a wild ride. This new adult mystery was addicting and almost impossible to put down once started. I didn't see the twist at the end-- which was refreshing. The story alternated between past and present in a way that I thought would make it disjointed, and yet it just worked so well. Somehow the past and present seem to blend rather seamlessly.

After her brother committed suicide, Kayla headed to Thailand to escape. There she met up with a rather interesting group of individuals, including Sam. The story began with Kayla sitting in a Bangkok police station trying to explain why she was covered in the now missing Sam's blood. When she returned home to England, she tried to cope with her inability to process the two eerily similar events and her own presence at both scenes. The author alternated between past events and Kayla's present struggles, creating a compelling story.

The pacing of the novel was rather fast, though there were some times in the middle that didn't move quite fast enough for my taste. Be prepared for an overall tone of depression-- Kayla was really suffering in her own way. I think the scenes in Thailand were my favorite. The group Kayla traveled with were fun to read about. I liked how the author sprinkled in clues but never too much, which kept me guessing.

This novel is not for the faint of heart. Some of the subject matter was disturbing. Not only that, but the author was quite skilled with macabre descriptions. There were times when I wondered why the author was spending so much time on a certain subject, but by the end, it was all clear. And that ending. Talk about a twist. I'm still rather shocked, and I don't shock easily.


For All to See by Megan Mitcham

For All to See (Bureau #1) - Megan Mitcham

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

For All to See is a romantic suspense that takes place on the lovely Caribbean island of Tortola. Descriptions of the scenery alone are enough to draw the reader into the story. Add in a despicable killer and two scarred individuals and it makes for a compelling read.

Madelyn suffered not only physical but mental abuse to the point that she no longer trusts anyone. Honestly I was blown away with how quickly she opened up to romantic interest Nathan. Her story was heart-breaking, so was Nathan's-- but to a lesser degree. These two seemed destined to be together, and there was definite heat from their first meeting.

The story centered around Nathan protecting Madelyn while trying to track down the serial killer. I wish there had been more focus on the investigation and less on the instant romance. The serial killer never felt like a huge looming threat because there just wasn't a whole lot of suspense leading up to his big reveal. But on the romance side, there were quite a few steamy scenes, perfect for a love affair in the tropics.

I enjoyed the shifting POV between Madelyn and Nathan. It's always interesting to be able to get into the thoughts of both characters, especially when a romance is blooming. While I did enjoy the story and liked the characters, I never really felt any suspense past a couple fleeting scenes. Overall, this novel read more like a romance and less like a suspense. So if you like romance with a touch of suspense, then I think you'll enjoy this novel.


The Season of Lightning by Kate Avery Ellison

The Season of Lightning - Kate Avery Ellison
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
The Season of Lightning is a standalone YA fantasy set in a world that seems very similar to our historic past - circa Civil War era. I mention this because the book has a more historical feel than fantasy. In the blurb, it's compared to both Emma & Robin Hood. Well I see the similarities between Verity and Emma... Robin Hood- not so much. The Hawk had rather brutal tendencies and was fueled by revenge. He wasn't robbing the rich to feed the poor so much as decimating the rich and freeing the oppressed.
Verity was a young noblewoman coming of age in a time when women were treated as pretty objects to brighten a room. It's safe to say that Verity was anything but docile. She had a sharp brain and a sharp tongue to match which drove her genteel father mad. I loved Lord Roth from the beginning. He came across so sweet, intelligent, and charming. He had his own thoughts and ideals. The Hawk, on the other hand, I didn't like very much. While I admired his commitment to his cause, the way he went about achieving his goals was rather short-sighted.
I really enjoyed how Verity matured in this novel. When faced with something unpleasant, she didn't turn away but learned from it. I found her to be rather impetuous but lovable all the same. The beginning and end of the story were very fast-paced with just a tiny lag in the middle. I think my main problem in the middle was page after page of correspondence. It got tedious after a while. I found the world created by Ms. Ellison to be intriguing, but I wanted a tad more in the way of character development, especially concerning the Hawk and Roth.
Overall, this is a fun YA fantasy with adventure and a touch of sweet romance. Definitely a nice diversion for a summer day.

Review: The Day Human Prince by B. Kristin McMichael

The Day Human Prince - B. Kristin McMichael

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

The Day Human Prince is an urban fantasy featuring day humans who live in our normal world and night humans who drink day human blood to survive. I'm torn between 3.5 and 4 stars on this novel. There were so many things I liked-- the plot was interesting, and I enjoyed Devin and many of the secondary characters.

Nessa was a sidhe warrior, a night human, who bonded with Devin, a day human, to save his life. Unfortunately this was far from a match made in heaven, and the two of them set out to find a way to break the bond. I have quite mixed feelings about Nessa. I really didn't like her much at the beginning (aside from saving Devin which was quite noble). While her character did grow on me, I never felt that connection I like to have with main characters.

On the other hand, I loved Devin. Strong, loyal (to a fault), intelligent-- he was a well-rounded, easy-to-love character. I loved the scenes where the sidhe underestimated him. They made for great fun. The story was unevenly paced. I would plow through certain sections, then become mired. I also felt like there was too much repetition. I enjoyed the world building and the story, as well as the myriad of fantasy characters.

If I'm not mistaken, this novel is a spin-off from the Blue Eyes series. I think it might be better to read these books first. Many characters from these books were mentioned in passing, leaving me with questions. Overall, the story was enjoyable. If you like YA urban fantasy, especially stories featuring fae, then I think you'll like The Day Human Prince.


Review: Awakening by Shannon Duffy

Awakening - Shannon Duffy

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Awakening was a fast-paced, intriguing story about a supposedly utopian society that really wasn't as wonderful as advertised. I loved the Dreamscape/Terrorscape aspect of the plot. The Terrorscape sounded truly terrifying!

Darien was a great character. After what he endured at the hands of this perfect society, it was amazing he wasn't completely damaged beyond repair. In fact I really liked all of the characters. I was prepared to despise Desiree's Protectorate-chosen mate, yet even he managed to grow on me as the story progressed. Desiree started doubting the Protectorate when she was paired with her childhood bully-- Darien's arrival and revelations merely confirmed her darkest fears.

The story starts out strong, pulling the reader in, and it doesn't let go. There's really never a lull or dull moment in the story. I was so immersed in the characters and their story that I lost all track of time, devouring half the book without stopping. The ending, or lack thereof, just left me wanting the next book sooner not later.

If you like YA dystopian, Awakening is definitely one to add to your TBR list.


Review: The Fine Art of Deception by Alyssa Richards

The Fine Art of Deception: Undoing Time - Alyssa Richards

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

The Fine Art of Deception is a paranormal story with an intriguing mystery and a very hot romance. Main character Addie has several paranormal gifts, the most useful being her ability to get a psychic read from objects. In the beginning, the poor woman was dogged by spirits relentlessly and suffered from reliving childhood trauma. Things seemed to improve for her as the story progressed... at least the spirit visitations ebbed in favor of the single spirit important to the central plot.

I enjoyed the theme of past-lives interwoven throughout the plot. I've always found reincarnation intriguing. Addie was likable from the beginning, where the reader learns of her heartache and the betrayal she endured. I felt a connection to her immediately. I liked Blake as well and enjoyed the intense romance between him and Addie. It's been a while since I read a romance this steamy.

They mystery was engaging and lots of suspense kept the pages turning. While I enjoyed the quick pacing of the second half, the first was a tad slower than I like. There was lots of backstory and info about the paranormal abilities to explain, which at times was tedious. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel quite a bit. Strong characters, a good mystery, and hot romance mixed with the supernatural make for a fun read. A caveat: In my opinion, this book is suited to ages 18+ due to the graphic sexual content.