Monthly Archives: December 2017

One Book Two’s 2017 Standout Awards

Another year gone and we’re back again! 2017 was a crazy year for most of us here on the blog. But the literary world never stops and we’re here to present our favorites from the last twelve months.

Welcome to the Third Annual Standout Awards by One Book Two! What are these awards, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

One Book Two Standout Awards are given out by One Book Two reviewers to honor titles and artists that created a stand-out experience for us as readers. At the end of the year, reviewers select—from among the reviews they’ve published during the year—the books, series, authors, audiobooks, narrators, cover artists, etc. that left the biggest impression.

We’ll add the Standout Award badge to those reviews and list all the winners on a page on our website. Authors can also display the award badge on their websites should they so choose. This is a way to highlight those books that really amazed us during the year.

So, without further ado, we’re delighted to present our 2017 Standout Awards! Thanks for a great year!

Nervous Nellie’s Picks for 2017

My pick this year for best “new to me” series is Brad Magnarella’s Prof Croft series –  
Demon Moon – Book One
Blood Deal – Book Two 
Purge City – Book Three  
Death Mage – Book Four 
Matt Kincade’s  Alex Rains Vampire Hunter series – 
The Devil’s MouthBook One 
Hell NightBook Two 
Best addition to a series:  Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore
Follow On Twitter:  sblackmoore
The dominant genre this year was romance because it wasn’t hard to digest.  It’s a happy ending guaranteed and this year I needed all the happy endings I could get.

Another award goes to an author that will be very much missed.  Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Milhone alphabet series, passed away on December 28, 2017 at age 77.  She had always promised that she’d do her best to make it to the end of the alphabet.  Cancer had other ideas as Sue just released “Y is for Yesterday” and then took her from us far too soon.

The alphabet will always end at Y for me.  Thank you, Sue, for being a great author by sharing Kinsey with us for all these years.

Luna Lovebooks’s Favorites of 2017: 


Standout Horror: The Darkness: Giger Texas by Joe M Solomon

This novel has some seriously creepy vibes! You can definitely tell one of the author’s inspirations is Stephen King. Characters battle mother nature, what lies in the darkness and each other. That sucker punch of what the darkness really is makes this novel one scary read you don’t want to miss.
Standout Series Finale: The Silver Bullet by Josie Jaffrey
I gush about the Solis Invicti series! I don’t know what it is that draws me in but I could probably read this entire series in a day if I had no interruptions. Silver Bullet is a perfect ending to this action-packed, twist-filled, cliff-hanger loving series. I hope there will be more from this universe in the future.
Standout Female Lead:
Audrey Rose makes the list for a second year in a row. Even though she cared more about what society thought of her in this installment, and that was a bit disappointing, Audrey is still a kick ass detective and a woman ahead of her time.
This year I am adding Aya to the ranks of Standout Female. She is someone who changes the world – not the whole world but for those whose lives she touches. Her entire story is not what you would expect and it’s a story I’ve really come to cherish.

Kat Mandu’s 2017 Top Choices

Favorite New Author – Nicholas Olivo – Author of Doc Graystone: Gentleman Necromancer
This author swept me away with the adventures of his noir tales of magic and mayhem. I’m really loving Doc Graystone so far, so stay tuned for more reviews from me in 2018.
Black Valentine and White Knight return in the second installment to this superhero series. I’ve always adored Kristen Brand for her comedic touches, heartfelt stories, and caped crusading.
Favorite Request – Resistance by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky
This dystopian novel has a lot of feels for me, especially if you’re into action and intrigue. I rated it a five and am eagerly anticipating the sequel.
Favorite First Time YA Reads –
I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this trilogy but I wish I hadn’t. With dystopian themes, plenty of action, and romantic elements, the characters and plot of Legend will steal your heart, just like it did mine.

Sue Grafton – Tribute to a Beloved Author

My life was forever changed by Sue Grafton.  She was an incredible woman, a literary superstar, and she will be sorely missed.


Meet Sue Grafton.  I shed a few tears yesterday when I heard about her death at age 77.  She was an inspiration. She was solid in her belief that her books would not be made into movies and she had already named her final book, Z is for Zero. She had other work but I think her best work was and always will be the Alphabet Series starting the tough female protagonist, Kinsey Milhone.

Kinsey is a sassy and tough and a perfect role model for someone like me.  The first book, A for Alibi, was published in 1982 and each book thereafter followed the alphabet theme.

I loved the library my whole life. I always read comic book compilations until one day when the librarian was getting my books checked out said something life changing.  All she said was “You are too smart to be reading only comic books.” Being a kid, I was intimidated by this adult who was talking to me.  I mean, seriously? An adult that talks to kids? That was unheard of in my world.  That librarian introduced me to a world I never considered.  Books that were only words? Wow! What a concept.  I think I was probably 10.

My love of the library followed me to my adult life. I was in my mid 20’s when I found audiobooks. Freshly married with no money, I bought a Walkman from the retail store where I worked and went to the library to browse.  Feeling cool with my music and cassette player, I stumbled on books that were on tape. A-freaking-mazing!!

I tried several books that were on tape.  I mostly listened to Agatha Christie and Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe.  I could multitask up a storm while listening to a book!  That was the cat’s meow.  When I had exhausted those, I decided I’d try A for Alibi by Sue Grafton. I was hooked.  Immediately.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I was wrapped up in Kinsey Milhone’s life and it was fabulous.

It was the mid 90’s and I had quite a few books in the alphabet to listen to before the library ran out.  Then the most amazing thing happened. My husband and I were on a roadtrip to visit his sister and I’d convinced him to give an audiobook a try instead of listening to music on the way home.  We were tooling along the interstate, listening to the book and when we surfaced from the movie in our heads, we had missed our exit and was 20 miles off course.  We laughed, turned around and went about our way.

When we got home, something propelled me to search Sue Grafton out on the newly released world called the Internet.  I emailed her and told her about our story.  I thought it might make her feel good to know that her writing had kept us so enthralled.  I figured that was that.

I was wrong.  That super nice lady, emailed me back.  Maybe it was her assistant.  Maybe her publicist.  But still, Holy Crap!! I talked to a celebrity!  Ahhhhhhhh!!! I was so stoked I was on cloud 9 for days.  That was so cool that no one could possibly understand.  About a month or so later, my world got rocked all over again.  Sue (or her assistant or publicist) sent me SWAG for her next book.  Can you believe it! You have to remember, I had no idea that authors did this for publicity.  I thought I was super special.  At Christmas, we got a Christmas card. (We’ve gotten one every year since). I was amped.  She made me feel valued and I’m sure she didn’t even know it.  Thank you, Sue Grafton.  You changed my world.

I emailed her a message in 2015 that explained that I was now a blogger and reviewing books.  I had her to thank because she introduced me to her world.  Annnnnd SHE WROTE BACK! She is an award winning author and much more famous than when I first contacted her.  If she changed my life with just an email, can you imagine how many other lives she touched?

Thank you, Sue Grafton.  My alphabet will now always end at “Y”.



Follow One Book Two via:

 Bloglovin_small Facebook_small Twitter_small googleplus_small Pinterest_small NetworkdBlog_small Feedly_small











The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle

In The Dragon’s Playlist, Di begrudgingly returns home when her father is severely injured in a mining accident. But when she discovers an ancient dragon lurking around the mines, she has to question where she stands in an upcoming battle for the mines that could change her life forever.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: The Dragon’s Playlist
Author: Laura Bickle
Publish Date: June 1, 2017
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description“This is war,” the dragon said. And she believed him.

Di fled rural West Virginia to study music and pursue a bright future as a violinist. But when a mining accident nearly kills her father, she is summoned back home to support her family. Old ghosts and an old flame emerge from the past. When Di gets a job as a bookkeeper at the same mine where her father worked, she is drawn into a conflict pitting neighbor against neighbor as the mine plans an expansion to an untouched mountain.

If the mining company’s operation goes forward, there will be more at stake than livelihoods or the pollution of the land: Di has discovered a dragon lives deep within Sawtooth Mountain, and he is not happy with this encroachment upon his lair. When catastrophe strikes, Di must choose between her family’s best interests and protecting the dragon – the last surviving bit of magic in Di’s shrinking world.

In every fight, sides are chosen. And there can be no yearning for what has been left behind.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Kat Mandu says…

Di returns home when her father is nearly killed in a strange incident in the mines. She’s not happy about it. She was off living her dream as a violinist, and coming back home means she’s gotta give up that dream and be stuck in her small hometown, where she feels like she’s suffocating. On the one hand, her relationship with her mother seems to be even more strained, but then she’s got her ex-boyfriend Jason, who proves to be more supportive than she realizes.

When she gets a job at the mining facility where her dad worked, she meets and befriends a dragon by the name of Afakos. The dragon loves her violin music. There’s a connection between the beast and her father’s accident… something Afakos isn’t hesitant to admit.

But there’s also a bigger threat when environmental rioters come in and protest against the planned blast mine, which would progress the industry, but also kill off all the wildlife in the area – an area which Afakos has made his home.

So now Di is torn between walking away and stopping the blast mine process to spare Afakos. It makes for a great read all in all.

I’m fond of Di’s character for the most part. I really honed in on the parts with her and a side character, Julie, who shows her a taste of magic. I’ve been in her shoes for that role – the curiosity of learning something you never really knew existed. It reminded me of Sweep at times, which is a series I also enjoy. The Wiccan elements really hit home for me, though I’m not sure how I feel about not knowing Julie’s fate.

One thing I couldn’t relate to was Di’s bitterness at coming home. I also grew up in a very small town but I never had that “oh god, I must get out” feeling. And personally, if I got a call telling me my dad was in the hospital and in very bad condition, I would have no qualms about returning. So I found it very frustrating that Di was acting like a child having temper tantrums at some points.

I like the romance between Di and Jason, and the small but crucial attraction she has to the leader of the protesters. Though the romance doesn’t take over the story, Jason plays a key role in helping Di realize her place in her small world. Plus, he seems like a genuinely sweet guy.

The writing is wonderful. It flows well and you can tell the descriptions just fit in all the right ways. This obviously isn’t Laura Bickle’s first novel, so I’m enjoying reading some of her new work and new ideas. I wouldn’t take this as a natural fantasy, more of a contemporary about family and growing up with fantastical elements (dragon, of course) added to it. Although it didn’t hook me enough to read all through the night, it was still a book I would read again eagerly.

Overall, I give it a four.

Other recommendations…

Sweep by Cate Tiernan; Starlight by Chelsea Campbell; Sublime by Christina Lauren.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Stork by Wendy Delsol

A cute start to a new series.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

StorkTitle: Stork
Author: Wendy Delsol
Series: Stork #1
Publish Date: October 16, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionSixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance?

Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.

Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I can definitely say that I have never read anything quite like this. An L.A. city girl is thrust into small-town life with many more surprises thrown in along the way.

The history described in this book is so creative and the mythos is new to me. I enjoyed getting lost in the unfamiliar world of the Stork Society and its unique customs. The symbolism in the dreams that Katla was having, and in the novel in general, were well thought out. I do wish a bit more time was spent on the society itself, but I also understand that we needed to get introduced to the players of the future novels.

Katla can be a bit brat-ish at times but she is only 16 so I will give her a pass. She has high fashion on the brain and, at times, thinks her sense of style is the only way to go. But she takes to her new duties like a champ. The romance between her and Jack can be a bit eye-roll inducing but it is cute none the less.


There are some plot points that I guessed pretty early but there were many more that leave you with questions that I hope will be answered in future installments. I added this novel to my personal keep shelf and will be on the lookout for the next novel. I give Stork 4 feathers.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

My Life with the Lincolns by Gayle BrandeisEnchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst, Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Book Announcement – SPI Files #5: Myth Manifestation

Announcing the release date of SPI Files book #5! Hold on to those vacation days because January 16, 2018, will be the day to stay home, bundled up on the couch with a new book from Lisa Shearin!

Title: The Myth Manifestation
Author: Lisa Shearin
Series: SPI Files #5
Released: January 16, 2018

Publisher’s Description: The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.

New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world—for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of the world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape.
We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world—but first, we have to save ourselves.

Our reviews:

The Grendel Affairs

The Dragon Conspiracy

The Brimstone Deception

The Ghoul Vendetta

%d bloggers like this: