Kimber Leigh Reads

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

Review: The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton

The Stillness of the Sky: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales) - Starla Huchton, Jennifer Melzer

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


If you haven't read anything by Starla Huchton, you are really missing out on a great author. Whether superhero romance or a fairy tale retelling, her stories pull me in like few can. The Stillness of the Sky is no exception-- in fact I think this may be my favorite of her novels.

In this flipped fairy tale, Jack was a sixteen-year-old girl, and a wonderful role-model for anyone. She led a hard, traumatic life, yet had nothing but kindness for everyone around her. I loved the characters in this novel. Whether good or bad, they were all so well-developed. Ro, the magical bird, was a particular favorite.

The story was captivating, drawing me in to the point that I was completely lost to the outside world. I laughed and I cried a lot. Filled with vivid descriptions, Ms. Huchton wove an amazing tale as we followed Jack on her journey of self-discovery. I loved the romance between Jack and Will-- it was just so sweet. The ending left me smiling... but best of all, the story left me with a feeling of hope.

The Stillness of the Sky is appropriate for all age levels. Sweeping adventure and romance make this novel impossible to put down once started. One of the best I've read in a long time.


Review: City in Embers by Stacey Marie Brown

City In Embers - Stacey Marie Brown
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
City in Embers is an action-packed urban fantasy featuring lots of fascinating magical creatures and an addicting plot. Zoey is a kick-ass heroine with a traumatic past, coupled with an uncommon ability to see fae when most humans can't. Add in an adorable half-sprite/half monkey sidekick and you have the makings of a fun read.
The beginning of the novel was almost overwhelming. So much information so quickly, like massive info-dump. Whew-- it was rather exhausting. Once I was past this rocky start, things settled down into a better pace. The story was so interesting: the DMG, fae existing among humans, government experiments, and most of all Ryker.
What can I say about Ryker? He was the total alpha male-- you know the kind you hate at first due to his masculine nonsense but come to love by the end. The romance between Ryker and Zoey was hot and progressed over time. Considering they started off on opposite sides, the slower progression was needed to be believable.
I enjoyed the intriguing fantasy world created by Ms. Brown-- our world yet so very different. Nonstop action and unfolding secrets kept the pages turning. There were times when I found Zoey's backstory to be a tad draining... let's just say she had a rough life. Thank goodness there was the little sidekick to lighten the mood.
If you're an urban fantasy fan, especially one of fae stories, then I think you'll enjoy City in Embers.

Review: The Witching Elm by C.N. Crawford

The Witching Elm (Memento Mori Series) (Volume 1) - C.N. Crawford, John Hart, Pratheesh Nanminda
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Witching Elm was an intriguing read that was nothing like what I expected. It's odd, the characters and voice seemed middle-grade. But take note of the genre-- dark fantasy. The story was dark, haunted by death and torment. I think the best thing about this novel was the blend of historical events with magic, legend, and fantasy. It created a unique story line.
The novel started out with a bang-- an invasion by a powerful army intent on fishing out hidden covens. As the town was burning to the ground, main character Toby's father sent him away to safety. Toby landed in Boston at an elite boarding school. Everything happened in a whirlwind of confusion, and it took a while for the authors to explain how Toby's world and the world he was sent to were connected. I can't go into it because that would entail major spoilers-- just know that if you start out confused, keep reading, all will be explained.
While I thought the plot was intriguing and loved the combination of real history with a fantasy realm, I was never completely pulled into the story. I liked the characters-- even though there were many, they were all interesting and well-developed. Looking back, I think the overall voice of the novel just wasn't a hit for me. The story was so dark, yet the narration seemed young-- a contrast that didn't work for me. When I say dark, I mean everything. There was a pervasive darkness woven throughout that created a rich, yet heavy atmosphere. 
That aside, expect action, adventure, and intrigue in this dark YA fantasy. If you like fantasy merged with reality, I think you'll enjoy The Witching Elm.



Review: Wagon Train Cinderella

Wagon Train Cinderella - Shirley Kennedy
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Wagon Train Cinderella is a fast-paced read with lots of adventure and sweet romance. I haven't read a book from this time period in a long time, and I really enjoyed the rich history. Keep in mind, everything isn't all sunshine and roses-- after all the story does take place among a wagon train heading West.
But since it is a romance at heart, you know that no matter what is thrown at main character Callie, she will come out okay. That's rather important since the author brings up the ill-fated Donner party early on. Not a direction I want my romance reads to take...
At the beginning I only felt sympathy for Callie. Abandoned by her mother, mistreated by the family who took her in... it was awful. And the poor thing put up with it since it was all she ever knew. But wow, did that girl grow a backbone quickly. She became a formidable woman and a character I grew to admire.
The story flows quickly, taking it's roots from the fairy tale Cinderella. But Callie didn't have a fairy godmother-- she grew all on her own through blood, sweat, and tears, along with a deep sense of duty and what's right. I enjoyed the pacing as well as the plot. Callie changed very fast, which was for the best since she was hard to take as a meek mouse.
If you like fairy tales and sweet romance, coupled with the adventure of a wagon train journey, be sure to check out Wagon Train Cinderella. Don't let the cover fool you-- there are no balls for this Cinderella. Just a ton of hard work and some good old-fashioned gumption.

Review: In His Keeping by Maya Banks

In His Keeping: A Slow Burn Novel (Slow Burn Novels) - Maya Banks

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


In His Keeping is a romantic suspense with lots of action and a paranormal twist. I didn't read book 1 in the series, but after reading this one, I'm very curious about Caleb and Ramie's story. I loved the way the story started, loved the scenes between main character Arial's parents. They were far and away my favorite part of the book.

Arial had been sheltered by her parents her entire life due to her unusual abilities and the past that threatened to hunt her down. Though spoiled and naive, she was fiercely loyal to her parents. When her parents were taken, she would do anything to save them. The author really pounded this fact in, page after page, chapter after chapter. Arial loved her parents and would do anything to save them.

Beau was the ultimate alpha male: strong, silent, gruff, but willing to do anything for those he loves. Which was great for Arial since this man fell for her instantly. I don't really mind insta-love, and this was certainly the king of all insta-love. Under immense pressure, I understand why Arial would cling to Beau-- he became her world and her only hope.

This novel featured lots of action and suspense. Just the desire to know who was after Arial was enough to keep the pages turning. Since I liked her parents so much, I really wanted to know what happened to them. The romance between Beau and Arial was steamy and hot. The only thing that bugged me was the overall redundancy I mentioned above. I felt like the author was writing for someone with short-term memory loss. Overall, I enjoyed this story-- loved the paranormal aspect and the action-packed plot.



Review: Acting Brave by Helena Newbury

Acting Brave (Fenbrook Academy #3 - New Adult Romance) - Helena Newbury

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

If you like character driven romance and haven't read anything by Helena Newbury, then you're really missing out. I love the Fenbrook Academy series: the school, the characters, and the romance. I fell in love with Jasmine while reading In Harmony, book #2 in the series. It was so wonderful to read an entire novel devoted to this intriguing character.

The prologue was heart-breaking, especially if you're not already acquainted with Jasmine. She experienced such deep trauma in her past, yet remained so strong despite that. Romantic interest Ryan was sexy, intelligent, and all around awesome. The heat and romantic tension started quickly-- Chapter One-- and turned into a full blaze before long.

Frankly, this was a rather emotional read, so be sure you're prepared with tissue and some quiet space. I really enjoyed the romantic suspense element which made this novel stand out from the others in the series. But once again, my favorite aspect was the character development. It was superb. The characters weren't just well-developed, they leapt off the page.

Acting Brave was my favorite novel in the Fenbrook Academy series. I'm adding this one to my favorites list. There's just nothing like a very satisfying read!


Review: Bridges Burned by Chris Cannon

Bridges Burned (Entangled Teen) (Going Down in Flames) - Chris Cannon
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Chris Cannon has done it again. While I loved Going Down in Flames, I think I liked Burned Bridges just a little bit more. Nonstop action, heartbreak, adventure, courage, and of course dragons. What more could any urban fantasy lover ask for?
Bryn maintained the attitude I enjoyed so much in the first book. Life was really tossing some extreme curveballs at her throughout this novel, but somehow she managed to rise up and shine. While I thought the first book was fun and quirky, this latest installment had a more serious edge to it.
Completely immersed-- that basically described me while reading. The story was so fast-paced and action-packed, I just didn't want to stop reading. Characters from the first story grew (some not so much) and changed, I think I fell in love with Valmont, Bryn's knight. What an amazing guy!

The ending not only had my jaw dropping in surprise, but I almost screeched when the story stopped. I really wanted nothing more than another four hundred pages or so. If you haven't read Going Down in Flames, you will want to pick that one up first since Burned Bridges is a direct continuation. I really hope Ms. Cannon is hard at work on book three. I can't wait to read it!



Review: Chasing Ravens by Jessica E Paige

Chasing Ravens - Jessica E. Paige
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
I haven't been pulled into a story like I was into Chasing Ravens... well, in a very long time. There was just something about this story that captivated me. I didn't want to put it down, and I'm glad I had the day off to read. I would characterize this as a coming-of-age, character-driven novel. Main character Anouk learns to reach for what she wants in life, not to wait for others to act.
Anouk was an amazing character-- so well-written. I absolutely loved her. in fact all of the characters, no matter how small the role, were well-developed. Anouk was the epitome of kindness and courage, humbleness and loyalty. The story was rich in ancient folklore, which I found fascinating. The ancient stories didn't dominate the plot but rather added to it, weaving a rich tapestry.
One thing that stood out was the imagery. It was easy to picture the towns, forests, and the characters, Everything just seemed to leap off the pages and into my imagination. The entire story was the adventure of Anouk's teenage life, and what an adventure it was! She suffered through the death of her family at the beginning of the novel and was sent to live with her uncle in another village. From there her life became harder and more complicated, forcing some tough decisions.
If you like fantasy and folklore, then I highly recommend Chasing Ravens. I think this is a great book for all ages, not just YA-- I would definitely recommend it for voracious middle-grade readers. Fantasy, adventure, bravery, and a touch of sweet romance make Chasing Ravens a winner in my book.



Review: Ruby's Letters by Maggie Van Well

Ruby's Letters - Maggie Van Well

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

Ruby's Letters is a fun paranormal romance featuring some feisty ghosts and a century old mystery. Forget skeletons in the closet, main character Emma finds a real skeleton in a brick fireplace. The find sparks a ghost hunt, as well as a second chance at love.

I really liked Emma's relationship with her ex-husband Jared. So many exes are written as embittered, so it was nice to see two who were still supportive and got along. While Emma was a sweet and loving character, I found her to be a tad bland. Romantic interest Ryan was seriously wounded. After surviving a hellacious ordeal, he suffers from panic attacks and nightmares. He definitely brought out the nurturer in Emma.

Emma's employees, Bart and Carlos, were delightfully written. They never failed to make me laugh. I also loved Emma's neighbor Sheila-- she had an eccentric personality that really shone through. The first third of the book was fast-paced and interesting, but things slowed down a bit after that. While I enjoyed the mystery and the character interactions, something was missing. I always felt on the outside looking in, if that makes any sense.

Overall, I enjoyed Ruby's Letters. It's a fun read with a sweet romance between two characters who really need each other. I liked the interaction between the ghosts-- it was interesting to see the world from their points of view.


Review: The Body Electric by Beth Revis

The Body Electric - Beth Revis

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

The Body Electric is an intriguing story that takes place several hundred years in the future. Since seeingDreamscape & Total Recall, I've been fascinated with the potential for dreamwalking and memory manipulation, so I was very excited to read this book. The best part of this novel is the story line. It's a unique twist to the dystopian future world plot, delivering action as well as some unexpected twists and turns.

Now, prepare to suspend disbelief, because so many things in the novel are fantastic, not to mention confusing at times. There were several dream scenes that left me scratching my head. I think to enjoy this novel, you just have to accept that this is the way things are in this dystopian future and not question the science behind the fantastical ideas. Ms. Revis has a great imagination that shines throughout the book.

The characters... well I liked them just fine, I suppose, but I never connected with main character Ella. It's another instance of feeling like an outsider looking in, rather than experiencing what the main character does. In fact all of the characters, though well-developed were still somewhat two dimensional for me. Jack was an enigma from the beginning, a mystery that compelled me to keep reading out of curiosity.

Overall, I enjoyed The Body Electric. I feel it's definitely more plot driven than character driven. Though it doesn't dominate the story, there is a touch of sweet romance between Ella and Jack. Great imagery, an imaginative plot, and lots of action/suspense, make it a worthwhile read.


Review: Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw

Atlantis Rising - Gloria Craw

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


Atlantis Rising was a cute YA urban fantasy with fun characters and an interesting plot. Ever wonder what happened to the inhabitants of the legendary island Atlantis? Ms. Craw offers an intriguing take on old mythology.


Main character Alison knew she was different and one day found out from a random stranger just why. She was a Child of Atlantis, and a powerful man was after her rare power. Due to this short encounter, she resigned herself to become a recluse in order to protect her family. I admired her loyalty, though I thought she was a tad gullible to believe a complete stranger. It was also strange that she didn't seem to do any research or attempt to find more information after such a drastic revelation.


Enter cousins Ian and Brandy. Great characters by the way-- they lit up pages whenever they were present. Ian made a good romantic interest, sweet and kind, plus he didn't keep Alison in the dark. The novel started out a tad slow in the first chapter, but picked up soon after. Be prepared for lots of backstory and explanation, mostly told through dialogue, since Alison has no knowledge of her ancestry.


Though I enjoyed the characters and the novel overall, parts of the story fell a bit short for me. Even with the long dialogue explanations, too many questions about the Children of Atlantis remained. That aside, if you like mythology-based urban fantasy with a sweet romance, I think you'll enjoy Atlantis Rising.


Review: Family Heir by Sara M. Drake

Family Heir: A Bigfoot Novel - Sara M Drake
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Family Heir is an urban fantasy that really wasn't anything like what I was expecting. It's less about hunting and more about supernatural politics, relationships, and discoveries. That said, once I shifted my mindset, I enjoyed the characters and the story.

There were so many things I liked about main character Kelley but some things I really disliked as well. She was young, college age, rebelling against the role her family was trying to force upon her. There were times when she seemed so deep and knowledgeable and others she seemed idiotic. By the end of the novel, she had resolved the main issue that bugged me, so I guess I can let it go.

Ex-husband Troy was an intriguing character. When he was first introduced, I didn't know what to think of him-- he was so odd. As the novel progressed and we learned his back story, I grew to really like him. Agent Brent is sweet, nice, and somewhat bland. What I liked the most about him was his loyalty and his open mind.

As you can tell from the title, this book is about Bigfoot (Bigfoots or Bigfeet). Learning about their society was interesting, if not strange. Ms. Drake has quite the imagination! I really liked the first half of the book-- it was fast-paced and full of action. Around the midpoint, everything changed and slowed down-- becoming more spiritual and politically based. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the story and would definitely pick up another book about these characters.

Review: The Confessions of Sylva Slasher by Ace Antonio Hall

Confessions of Sylva Slasher - Ace Antonio Hall

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

There was more than one time while reading The Confessions of Sylva Slasher that I wished it was in graphic novel format. The descriptions were so vivid, so interesting, I desperately wanted to see them from the author's perspective.

I love a good horror book, and lately zombie novels have been catching my eye. There's just something about a slashing through a sea of zombies that I find inordinately satisfying. This novel is full of action, imagination, and fascinating characters.

Sylva is great-- definitely what I like in a heroine: witty, sassy, tough with awesome battle moves. In fact all of the characters are quite interesting and well-developed. Sylva raises zombies for a living-- dead loved ones for a final goodbye, that sort of thing. I think Mr. Hall did a great job creating a unique voice for Slyva. Her distinct personality really shines through on every page.

Full of twists, turns, and excitement, sometimes I couldn't seem to turn the pages fast enough. I can't really go into more detail about the plot without spoilers, so let's leave it at this: If you like nonstop zombie goodness with an intriguing story line and a kickass heroine, look no further than The Confessions of Slyva Slasher.


Book Review: Henge by Realm Lovejoy

Henge (Le Fay, #1) - Realm Lovejoy

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

First things first: if you are a fan of Arthurian legend then this is definitely the book for you. Realm is a modern urban fantasy featuring many of the Arthurian characters in an interesting, high-stakes story.

Morgan is a very passionate character. Somehow Ms. Lovejoy managed to draw me to Morgan's corner practically from page one. When we first meet Morgan, she is sneaking away from home to follow her dreams, which her father doesn't agree with-- for very good reason, we learn as the story progresses. We also meet Merlin early on, and I found his character rather fascinating. In fact, I enjoyed reading Ms. Lovejoy's take on all of the classic characters.

The suspense in this novel builds from chapter to chapter, with new twists and turns to keep the pages turning. In some ways it reminded me of the Harry Potter books, especially at the beginning when Morgan was leaving for the magic academy. Bad guy Mordred was well-written... my skin crawled whenever he appeared. I seriously couldn't stand him. Since this is book one of a series, don't expect closure at the end. I have a feeling you'll be craving book two once you've finished reading.

Fantastical, fast-paced, full of magic and suspense-- Henge will appeal to readers from teens to adults, especially those with a soft spot for King Arthur.


Review: The Cinderella Theorem

The Cinderella Theorem (The Lily Sparrow Chronicles) - Kristee Ravan

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

The Cinderella Theorem is a cute YA fantasy about a logic, math-oriented girl who learns her father is the king of a fairy tale kingdom. Though it's billed as a YA novel, I thought it read more like middle-grade and would appeal to younger YA readers. Warning: if you have a math aversion, you might want to avoid this book. Math is life to young Lily, and it can be found on every page.

I can't imagine what it would be like to be fifteen, see the world through a strictly logical mind, only to find out everything you thought fantasy to be fact. But main character Lily rises to the occasion to use her math skills to save the day. I liked Lily, it would be hard not to since she was a rather sweet girl-- however the overall voice grated on my nerves at times.

There was a whole slew of intriguing and fun secondary characters in this novel, not mention lots of funny scenes. Just the whole Dad emerging from the bathtub is enough to set the mood for craziness. I did not like the footnotes on the bottom of the pages. While they were very cute, they still drew me from the story which I found irritating. Take a look at the synopsis with the math symbols-- the book is written like this. It might appeal to some people, but it was another thing that kept me from becoming immersed in the story.

Overall I thought The Cinderella Theorem was a cute fantasy that would appeal to a young YA audience. There were lots of laughs, fun characters, and mayhem in a fast-paced plot.


Review: Last House Burning by Katy Scott

Last House Burning - Katy Scott

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

Last House Burning is a paranormal/urban fantasy with an intriguing story, and a main character who never gives up, even with the odds stacked against him. One has to admire Ben and his almost manic drive to help Verla, a girl he just met. He is also one of the most open-minded characters I've come across in a long time.

Ben is on vacation in a remote Australian town where he is mystified by a fire-ravaged town and the one mansion which survived the flames. I liked Ben, he was passionate and caring, open-minded yet intelligent. The lengths he went through for Verla was heroic to say the least. Verla was a rather dull character, but I suppose given the hell she's lived for the last century, it was understandable.

The bureaucracy of Heaven and Hell led to some of the most memorable scenes in this novel. It's strange to picture the reps of Hell as boring pencil pushers. I thought the story started out quite slow, not really picking up speed until about halfway through. Once things got moving, they also got interesting, and I enjoyed the last half.

While I never really connected with the characters, I did enjoy the plot, so even though I didn't really care much what happened to the characters, I still wanted to know how things panned out. This is one of those rare standalone stories that are becoming harder and harder to come by- I appreciated that quite a bit- it's always nice to have an ending.