Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday #Review - Dreamfall by Amy Plum #YALit #Horror @AmyPlumOhLaLa ‏@harperteen

Series: Dreamfall # 1
Format: E-Galley, 288 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: YA / Thrillers & Suspense

Nightmare on Elm Street meets The Matrix in this gripping, psychological thriller from internationally bestselling author Amy Plum. When an experiment to cure a group of teens’ insomnia goes awry, they find themselves trapped in a dangerous dreamscape created from their nightmares.

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

Perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux, Danielle Vega, and Kendare Blake, Dreamfall is the first book in a spine-tingling duology full of action, suspense, and horror—and it is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seat until the very last page.




Amy Plum, author of the Revenants trilogy, returns with a Nightmare on Elm Street inspired horror duology called Dreamfall. Dreamfall has a rather large cast of characters. It features teens like Catalina (Cata) Cordova, Fergus, Sinclair, Remi, and Ant who all suffer from sleeping disorders that affect their every day way of life. During the experiment, an earthquake interrupts the experiment, sending the teens into what the doctors believe is a coma. The teens actually find themselves thrust into a group dream, where they are forced to battle their way through their nightmare after nightmare in order to survive.

There is another character named Jaime. Jaime is a Pre-Med student from Yale who is given the opportunity to sit on a revolutionary trial that may lead to curing sleep disorders. Jamie is the character who introduces readers to each of the teens who are participating in the experiment. Jaime's perspective is also the one that gives readers the opportunity to see what is going on in the real world while the teens find themselves in what is being called Dreamfall. 

Yes, unfortunately, this story does end on a cliffhanger. But, the good thing is that this series is ONLY a duology which means that book 2 (Neverwake) will hopefully wrap up things and there will actually be survivors. Can imagine that the author would intentionally kill off an entire cast, but stranger things have happened. Dreamfall is one of those stories where you really hope that book # 2 comes out sooner, rather than later so things remain fresh in your memory. I have thought about this since I finished reading the book. I have labeled Jaime, Cata, and Fergus as the main characters of this story, with Sinclair as the one I don't quite feel good about. Ant, as the youngest, is by far the most intriguing character in the story.  





Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday #Review - The Alchemists of Loom by @EliseKova #YALit #Fantasy #Steampunk

Series: Loom Saga # 1
Format: Kindle, 395 pages
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Keymaster Press 
Source: Amazon
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom




The Alchemists of Loom is the first installment in author Elise Kova's Loom Saga. Kova's world is dirty, dark, dreary, and well thought out. The story is filled with extraordinary characters like Arianna (Ari) "The White Wraith" who continues to carry a high bounty. Then there is Cvareh, a Dragon who has an agenda all of his own. He belongs to the Dragon House Xin, which is lead by his own sister. Cvareh's goal is to remove the Dragon King, and replace him with his sister Petra. Which leads him to a partnership with Ari and Florence.

Florence is the third character to keep an eye on. She escaped a brutal past and the Raven's Guild to become Ari's initiate. She is remarkable with weapons, and really gets her fair share of story time, which I have learned will continue into the next installment for which I was just approved for. YES! 
There are actually two worlds that are featured in this story. Loom, the place where most of the Fenthri population lives, and the main setting of the book, and Nova where Dragons live and the King of Dragons who rules both worlds resides in all his glory. 

In the before, Dragons arrived out of nowhere and took over Loom and subjugated the Fenthri population to their rules, and their guidelines. In the process, they destroyed the (5) Guilds of Loom who once worked hand in hand with each other. Those being Alchemists, Rivets, Revolvers, Harvesters, and Ravens. Ari still carries memories of the time before Dragons. She lost someone she loved, and she was also a brilliant engineer who continues to tinker with gadgets, and other inventions. Her hatred for Dragons is what drives her into taking on some missions that others would walk away from. It also made her the White Wraith.

This is a story that also features three separate races: Fenthri, Dragons, and Chimera. Chimera's like Ari are the most interesting to me. They are made by Alchemists and have Dragon organs and blood in them which make them strong as Dragons. Ari is perhaps the most dangerous of the Chimera, therefore making her Loom's most infamous criminal. In this world, ALL Fenthri are marked on their faces to indicate which Guild they belong to. If you are not marked, you won't live long enough if you are caught by a Dragon. 

This isn't a romance novel per se. Even though two characters slowly move in the direction, and another two appear to be headed that way, it doesn't take over the storyline. Ari is definitely my favorite character. She's not your typical heroine. Her motives are clear, and in order to be successful, she has to do things that may not be in the best interests of those around her. This is a story that is Epic Fantasy with a Steampunk infusion which I believe all readers will enjoy.  





Saturday, May 20, 2017

#Bought, Borrowed, and Bagged # 64 / #Stacking The Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Bought Borrowed and Bagged is all about the latest additions to your library – virtual or actual, with books that are  bought, borrowed, won or ARCs  you will be reading soon. Bought Borrowed and Bagged is a homage to to Barron’s Books and Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s amazing Fever series, and is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe. 

Thanks for Shopping by! 
Lots of reviews, lots of books! 
Have a great weekend!
Shelley

This Weeks Reviews: 




Thursday - Avenged by Amy Tintera (YA, Fantasy)

Friday - Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney (YA, Fantasy)

Saturday - Air and Ash by Alex Lidell (YA, Fantasy)


Talk Supe Blog Reviews

If I Run by Terri Blackstock (Mystery, Suspense)



*Received from...Publisher (Macmillan Lottery)



NetGalley


Library/Amazon





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Friday, May 19, 2017

Saturday #Review - Air and Ash by Alex Lidell #YALit #Fantasy @AlexLidell

Series: TIDES # 1
Format: Kindle E-Book, 284 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Danger Bearing Press
Source: Amazon
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Master and Commander meets Tamora Pierce in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms. 

After a lifetime of training, seventeen-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission—and fails. 

Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battleworthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over. 

But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future. 





Air and Ash is the first installment in author Alex Lidell's Tides series. 17-year old Nile Greysik is the protagonist for this series. From an early age, Nile has served her country faithfully in the Ashing Navy. She rose to the rank of Lieutenant, and served as second to the Captain. But, after her ship, His Majesty's Ship Faithful, came under attack from the Republic, and loses a very valuable cargo in the process, Nile finds that her career and hopes of becoming a Captain of her own ship one day, finished. 

Niles packs a bag and runs away to join a ship called the Aurora, where she masquerades as a common sailor so not to be returned home where she faces a forced marriage to someone she doesn't love. Niles time on the Aurora is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There are some scenes where she is thrown into situations where she just can't win no matter what she does. It also doesn't help when she suddenly wakes with magic in her blood. Magic, that if caught, will put Niles in a very difficult situation. Magic that has already caused her brother Clay to become a cripple.

But, let me say this, Niles is absolutely fantastic. You can push her, but she doesn't easily break. She's intelligent & she's had more seafaring time than anyone aboard, and yet, time and time again she faces challenges because of a Captain who is a coward, arrogant, spiteful, hateful, and obvious that he is only interested in lining his own pocket and those of his own countrymen. She's a leader, but can't afford to give away who she really is since doing so will get her sent back home in a Brooklyn minute. Niles relationship with Domenic Dana is one of ups and downs, and everything in between. 

It is slow burn, and one that is challenged because of Dana's position on the ship and the fact that he knows who Nile really is. There is chemistry between them, but they can't afford to be caught by the Captain who would love to give Niles even more grief. Another one of my favorite characters is Lt. Catspar who is leader of an elite marine detachment called Spades. Catspar became one of my favorites after seeing how Niles pushes ahead despite all the obstacles put in her way. He even bothers to help her train and learn how to fight knowing that it will most likely save her against the Republic, and others onboard the ship.

I saw this book on Amazon and a book tour web page and decided to jump in feet first. I am glad I did. This is an action-packed adventure that will keep you from wandering off in order to do something else. One could say that I am a fan of swash-buckling stories with ass kicking heroes and heroines. Plus, Niles isn't your typical spoiled Princess which makes things even more delightful for me. I know there is a prequel to this series, and perhaps one day soon I will read that as well. But, in the meantime, I can't wait until the sequel War and Wind is released this coming June.





Friday #Review - Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney #YALit #Fantasy @MalMcCartney ‏@CleanReads_ @XpressoTours

Series: Unknown
Format: E-Book, 180 pages
Release Date: February 14th 2017
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing 
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory's arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.
 




Black Dawn is author Mallory McCartney's debut novel. It is the first book in a series which remains nameless at the time of this writing. Black Dawn starts out with 21 year old Emory Fae finding two men in her apartment during a blackout, and then flips the script to the next chapter. No worries, things get really interesting from here. The story guns full speed to a world the author is calling Kiero. Kiero is a planet that could be considered to be post-apocalyptic in nature. It is the place where we find the Black Dawn Rebellion.

Black Dawn is led by Commander Memphis Carter, along with Brokk Foster, who is a soldier of the Black Dawn, and one of Memphis's main core which also includes Nyx & Alby. The Rebellion was formed to create a sanctuary for anyone who has been terrorized by the so called King, Adair. With Adair collecting the powerful among the survivors & killing the rest off, the Academy is supposed to be a place where humans with powerful abilities can train, be safe, and form a government based on equality and prosperity.

But, with the Rebellion trying to push forward to defeat Adair, Memphis calls in an audible. What if there was a way to actually give the rebellion a chance at winning? What if there was a girl who was spirited away to another planet, had her memories erased, and has no clue who she is, or where she comes from, or how powerful she may be, but could be the hope of a people who have been brutally subjected to Adair's reign? But, in order to get to where they need to be, Memphis & Brokk need to travel to Earth, kidnap Emory, bring her back to Kiero, and then hope she can regain her memories enough to actually help them, and not fall in with Adair and his minions after learning what really happened to her 10 years ago. 

Black Dawn is a story that is short of 200 pages in length. Even though it is short, it makes up for it in action, suspense, intrigue, and characters who really do stand out like Brokk who I have to say may end up being one of my favorites. This story has been compared to X-Men since part of the story takes place in an Academy for those who have a whole slew of amazing abilities. Brokk, for instance, can not only shape shift, but he can also travel through time. Emory makes some really interesting choices at the end of this story, so it appears I will be continuing to the sequel to see what the author comes up with next.




Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday #Review - Avenged by Amy Tintera #YALit #Fantasy @amytintera @harperteen

Series: Ruined # 2
Format: E-Galley, 416 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

A war that will fuel her. A bond that will destroy her.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure.

Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, she faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.
 




Avenged is the second installment in author Amy Tintera's Ruined series. In the first installment, Tintera used two main characters, Emelina Flores and Prince Casimir, to tell her story. This time out, Tintera adds Olivia Flores, as well as Aren, who has become an important cog to the series, and one that you definitely should keep an eye out for. Emelina, who has been called the "Useless One" and ignored by the Ruined, has done the impossible. She rescued Olivia from her year long nightmare, while also promising peace with Prince Casimir of Lera.

Now, it is time to return home, rebuild, and pick up the pieces, and hope that she really can keep the peace between kingdoms. But, things really can never go back to the way they were. Emelina, who is not Ruined, but has the strength to do what she needs to do, has to face the people of Ruina who still see her as weak. How anyone can be considered weak after everything that she and Aven did in the previous installment is beyond me. But, when you have superpowers, you see the world through distorted glasses. Em also has to face the disturbing possibility of dismissing her feelings for Cas, while accepting Prince August of Olso's in order to keep the alliance alive.

Meanwhile, with her home demolished, and alliances with the Olso warriors hanging on a very dangerous thread, Olivia, who is still technically Queen of Ruina, is showing signs of going supernova. Don't mess with Olivia. Olivia is really powerful and dangerous and plain crazy as we saw in the previous installment. Olivia has no worries about killing anyone who slights her, hurts Em, or attacks Ruina. The only one who can even come close to having the same level of power is Aren. Aren is able to control the body, and as the story picks up pace, so does his powers. Aren may, in the end, be the one person who can save the world from Olivia's rampage.

Meanwhile, Casimir has a whole lot of issues to deal with. The Ruined are gone. Olso warriors have taken his castle, and much of his kingdom is occupied. The survivors are holed up in Fort Victorra, and more arrive daily. But, none are as important as having his authority questioned and impeached by his own cousin Jovita. Jovita desires war with the Ruined and doesn't care that Cas is supposed to be in charge. Cas has been assured by Em that the Ruined will not attack Fort Victorra, but that doesn't mean that there are others who love to brew trouble in an attempt to reassert their dominance over Ruina.

Especially the hunters who killed Ruined indiscriminately, and would love to get some payback. Cas starts out in a questionable position. He has really no allies while others think he doesn't have the cajones to do what's right for his people. I'd like to say that Cas is a much better character later in the story. Especially when he has friends like Violet who I love along with Iria, who becomes close with Aren. Especially when Em is emphatically in love with him, and he her. Their love is the one thing that keeps this story from diving head long into dark fantasy land.

I have to say, after that ending, I am rather eager to see where Tintera goes with the third installment. Will Cas and Em be able to keep their people safe? Will Em, after everything that she's done, and gone through, including being used as a pawn, be able to gain her happy ever after? Will Aren be able to pick up the pieces left, or will he join with Olivia in world domination? I am Ok with the (4) separate POV's. I think they were warranted, and necessary to expand the world that Tintera has created. I also loved that Aren isn't just a secondary character who just happens to be rather dangerous. Tintera walks a brilliant line with these characters. Nobody is truly evil, nor are they fully good. They have all witnessed and done things that will be judged when all is said and done. 

Previous Installment




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday #Review - A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas #YALit #Fantasy

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses # 3
Format: Kindle, 707 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Gifted 
Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy 


Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
 






A Court of Wings and Ruin is the third installment in author Sarah J Maas' A Court of Thorn and Roses series. A series that does not end with this book, but will continue with other characters in this same universe. The story kicks off with a Rhysand moment which happens two years before the Wall went up, then jumps forward to where the previous story left off. Feyre has temporarily gone back to the Spring Court in order to destroy Tamlin and his ability to help the King who he is bound to. She made a promise to kill the Human Queens, King of Hybern, Jurian, and Ianthe, the High Priestess who betrayed her sisters. 

In many ways, A Court of Wings and Ruin is a slow building monstrosity that really doesn't go anywhere until almost half the book has already been read. Oh sure, there are interesting aspects of Feyre's time with Tamlin & the Spring Court, and how she deals with different characters. Sure, there were questions about Jurian and whether or not he was actually biding his time until something important happened, or just blowing smoke to seem that he was actually willing to help Feyre and her allies. Then there is the whole Lucien issue, and whether or not he made the right choice.

The most curious & boring aspects of this story took place between acts. There is a whole lot of talking, a whole lot of research, and a whole lot of attempting to put together a coalition to save the world, which means that Feyre gets to meet all of the Lords who saved her life but are more than weary of her. I loved Feyre and The Suriel, but that scene tore my heart into pieces. We know so little about Bryaxis, the creature who Feyre makes a bargain with. What we do know is that it is a good thing IT was on Feyre's side. Feyre and The Bone Crusher. The banter between the two sets things in motion for Feyre to move beyond her emotional baggage, which is a good thing. My other favorite scene is the arrival of Miryam, Drakon, and their army. Did I scream HELL YEAH! Why, yes, yes I did. 

There's not much I can say about the romance that hasn't already been written about hundreds of times before. I love Rhys. I love how he would hurt anyone who tries to hurt his mate. Oh, did you know that Rhys is a badass? Wow. On the other hand, Feyre has sex on her mind. She wants sex while having sex. She wants sex while battling to save her people. She wants sex while her sisters are struggling with being High Fae. She wants sex in the mud and blood while warriors are dying on the battlefield. But, I loved when Rhys and Feyre were reunited after she spent time away from him in the Spring Court. Yes, I did sigh just a little bit. 

I am not a huge fan of books that go over 500 pages, but I've never not finished one after I started it. If makes me feel as though I am a failure, or that I will miss something. Seriously, if you have DNF'd this book, go back and read it again. I am not a fan of triangles of any kind. There are plenty of conflicted emotions between characters. Who should be with whom and who can't be with whomever because the author totally decided to jump the shark and change course. 

I am also not a fan of characters who are diversified for the sake of diversities sake. It happened in The Hunger Games movie version, it happens so many times that I really am ready to scream. If you start out a series with character X being a gay or straight or black or Asian or Latino and finished the series that way, then I have zero complaints. But, the way character X is portrayed in this story, made me want to drink a bottle of antacid. I have zero respect for making excuses as to whom you will sleep with and why, and then claiming you are something else entirely. 

**Feyre & Rhysand “Night Triumphant - and the Stars Eternal. If he was the sweet, terrifying darkness, I was the glittering light that only his shadows could make clear.” So, yes, I am totally a fan of this romance. I couldn't take much more of Tamlin, even though I am sure that he really did have love for Feyre. Abuse is abuse no matter how you look at things. Tying someone down against her will, is not the way to get to that persons heart. Was I moved by the ending? Eh

**Nesta & Cassian - “Nesta looked at the king with death twining around his hands, then down at Cassian. And covered Cassian’s body with her own. Cassian went still - then his hand slid over her back. Together. They’d go together.” I do hope that this romance gets off the ground in the next installments. Nesta wasn't one of my favorites in the beginning, but she makes some interesting growth spurts as a character who can more than hold her own.

**Elain & Lucien & Azriel - Elain's situation truly broke my heart. I hated how things happened to her, but I do hope that the author resolves the issue between her and Lucien being mates, or will it be Azriel when all is said and done? I do like the Elain was given an interesting ability that helps Feyre and her allies. I like that Elain finds her niche and actually comes out of her cocoon.