Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday's Duo #Reviews - The Angel Knights & The Chosen Knights by Mary Ting #YALit #Paranormal

Series: The Angel Knights (Prequel)
Format: Kindle, 112 pages
Release Date: March 4, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC 
Source: Amazon
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

Michael and Claudia’s decision to move back to Crossroads was to keep their children safe, but they can’t escape who they are. Their children, Zachary and Lucia, were destined to be demon hunters—Venators. From the age they were able to hold a sword, they were trained to become the best and to ensure they would become leaders one day.

All is peaceful throughout the land until the Fallen and demons’ presences were felt in the between and on Earth. As the Venators investigate these locations, they will quickly learn how dangerous their lives are. Hearts will be broken. Teammates will lose their lives. And they will face obstacles which will test their faith.

As danger grows, the fear of fallen angels and demons regrouping has the Divine Elders on pins and needles. Now, Zachary and Lucia, along with Uncle Davin, must prepare themselves—mentally and physically—to live on Earth to investigate where the focal point of evil resides before it’s too late.

The Angel Knights is the prequel to author Mary Ting's The Angel Knights series. For those who have read the author's Crossroads series, this story begins 17 years after the ending of that series. While Claudia Emerson and Michael are not the main characters in this story, they are still rather important because of their current status as part of the Divine Elders. It is the Divine Elders who oversee humanity and assign missions to protect the world from demons.

This time around, we meet the couples twins Lucia and Zachary who are now training to become Angel Knights under "Uncle" Devin who was also in the Crossroads series with Claudia and Michael. While Devin is Both Lucia and Zachary are curious sorts because of who their father is. They have inherited his Archangel bloodline, as well as becoming Demon Hunters called Venators. 

The story is told via Lucia's narrative. It is a quick paced story that leads into the first installment called The Chosen Knights. The bottom line is this. There is a disturbance that has opened between worlds and demons are flooding in looking to begin another war. It is up to the Venators to try to figure out what is happening, and stop it before it's too late. There is one state in particular, Hawaii, where it seems this disturbance needs to be investigated more closely. And, this my friends, is where we lead into The Chosen Angels.

Series: The Angel Knights # 1
Format: Kindle, 379 pages
Release Date: March 19, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal

When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside. In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him.
There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen.

The Chosen Knights is the first installment in author Mary Ting's The Angel Knights series. As you have read in my review of The Angel Knights above, this series features the nephilim twins of Claudia Emerson and Michael who you may have read about in the author's Crossroads series. Things have changed. Lucia, Zachary, and Devin have moved to Hawaii to uncover why there seems to be such an imbalance of supernatural activity in the state, and why teens have disappeared without a trace. 

That means going to school, and learning how to be human. 
As we have learned, Lucia struggles mightily with her control and her human side at times which makes her reckless. A reckless and out of control Lucia is not one who will last very long. After all, she's half angel, and half human, and she has the blood of an Archangel flowing through her veins. Lucia has the strength, speed, and superhuman strength we can expect from someone with an Archangel father. What also makes both Lucia and Zachary different from other Venators, is that they both have Archangel wings which are much more impressive than normal wings.

Lucia's actions need to be addressed and broken apart because they come with consequences. From her meeting of new characters like Eli who makes her feel things she's not supposed to, and Jason, who is human, but comes from a long line of Knight's Templar descendants, Lucia finds herself drawn to both characters. Zac does a much better job of putting away his human side than Lucia does. If there was one character I had to say made this story, it would be Uncle Devin. He is fiercely protective of the twins, has a sarcastic attitude that left me laughing, and he takes his job absolutely seriously when it comes to stopping the Fallen and Demons from taking over the world.

This is a different sort of story because it involves traveling to the past to find something the villainous Cyrus wants badly. So badly, in fact, that he has started taking children who haven't chosen a side yet, and taken others from Lucia and Zach's school who have supernatural blood. This is a story that has demons, angels, vampire like beings, Knights Templars, and a whole lot of twisted fun. I do hope that Lucia finds a way to grow up a bit. I realize she's knew to all the human world, but she's already proven she will jump first and ask questions later.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday #Review - Blood Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers #2) by Alexandra Sokoloff

Series: The Huntress/FBI Thrillers # 2
Format: E-Book, 318 pages
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Genre: Thrillers / Mystery

Book Two in the Thriller Award–nominated Huntress/FBI series
Twenty-five years have passed since a savage killer terrorized California, massacring three ordinary families before disappearing without a trace. The only surviving victim of his rampage was a child…who is now wanted by the FBI for brutal crimes of her own.
Special Agent Matthew Roarke is on an interstate manhunt to track her down, despite feeling torn between his dedication to duty and his sympathy for her horrific history and motives. But when Roarke’s search unearths evidence of new family slayings, the dangerous woman he seeks—and secretly wants—may be his only hope of preventing another bloodbath. He just has to find her first.
The pulse-pounding sequel to Huntress Moon is sure to leave listeners on the edges of their seats.

Blood Moon is the second installment in author Alexandra Sokoloff's The Huntress/FBI Thrillers series. When I say that Blood Moon picks up right where Huntress Moon left off, I mean that the books are literally tied together by the last scene in Huntress Moon. You definitely need to read the first book to understand where the story is and what happened and why. Special Agent Matthew Roarke has a situation. He tracked down Cara Lindstrom, the only person to have survived The Reaper, after she led him to a major sex trafficking ring. The results were a major win for the FBI, and law enforcement.

But, he also made a huge mistake which allowed her to escape even though she was badly injured. Now, he has to put his feelings for her aside and try to find a way to bring her to justice. If you read the first installment, you know that it has been 25 years since the Reaper murdered three innocent families across California. Roarke was 9 years old at the time. It was what triggered his desire to become an FBI agent. But, Roarke knows that he must track down Cara before she kills again. Roarke is conflicted in that Cara is killing only those who have done something evil towards others. The murder of her family was the cause of this status as a vigilante. Being a vigilante isn't exactly something that Roarke can condone.

Meanwhile, Cara is trying to move on from what happened. She knows that any connections she made in the previous novel, needs to be broken. Cara is not an unlikable character. In fact, I would forgive her for her transgressions because of the people she targets. Those like bombers, rapists, corrupt cops, pimps, and pedophiles. I do wish that the author had had more scenes with just Cara involved. While she isn't completely pushed aside, she only has a few key scenes that lead to Roarke stumbling across ways to get her to help with his investigation at which point he'll have no choice but to arrest her.   

The tension in this book is so thick and heavy that you can cut it with a Katana. While Roarke and his team try to lure out Cara, they have an even bigger problem to deal with. With the murder of a family in Reno, Roarke sees similar connections to those 25 years ago. But, that would mean that either the Reaper has woken from his slumber, or someone else is copying what the original Reaper did to the families. I admitted that I love Roarke's team, especially Special Agent Singh who is just bloody marvelous. She is such a clever, and intelligent character that Roarke would truly be lost without her around.

I am curious about the relationship between Roarke and Cara. I think it's curious that one particular event triggered both of their paths. Him towards he FBI, her towards eradicating evil from the world. I think that Cara sees someone that she can trust, someone that she can bring along in her quest to rid society that lurks under the surface from public eye while encouraging people to do bad things to each other. I also feel for Cara as a human. I feel that she has nobody. She has no friends. She was ditched and left to her own devices until she turned 21 and just disappeared. I do have the next two books thanks to Xpresso Book Tours. Let's hope the brilliance of the author continues.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday #Review - Call of Fire by Beth Cato #Historical #Steampunk @BethCato @HarperVoyagerUS @carolineperny

Series: Blood of Earth # 2
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher
Genre: Fantasy / Historical

A resourceful young heroine must protect the world from her enemies—and her own power—in this thrilling sequel to the acclaimed Breath of Earth, an imaginative blend of alternative history, fantasy, science, magic, and adventure
When an earthquake devastates San Francisco in an alternate 1906, the influx of geomantic energy nearly consumes Ingrid Carmichael. Bruised but alive, the young geomancer flees the city with her friends, Cy, Lee, and Fenris. She is desperate to escape Ambassador Blum, the cunning and dangerous bureaucrat who wants to use Ingrid’s formidable powers to help the Unified Pacific—the confederation of the United States and Japan—achieve world domination. To stop them, Ingrid must learn more about the god-like magic she inherited from her estranged father—the man who set off the quake that obliterated San Francisco.
When Lee and Fenris are kidnapped in Portland, Ingrid and Cy are forced to ally themselves with another Ambassador from the Unified Pacific: the powerful and mysterious Theodore Roosevelt. But even TR’s influence may not be enough to save them when they reach Seattle, where the magnificent peak of Mount Rainier looms. Discovering more about herself and her abilities, Ingrid is all too aware that she may prove to be the fuse to light the long-dormant volcano . . . and a war that will sweep the world.

Call of Fire is the second installment in author Beth Cato's Blood of Earth series. Call of Fire picks up where Breath of Earth left off.  It has been an awful week for protagonist Ingrid Carmichael. As the world's only female Geomancer, she has watched her city of San Francisco be destroyed by a major earthquake. A group of geomancer's she knew well was murdered, and her mentor Sakaguchi was hurt badly and has disappeared. The plus has been that she's found herself on a quest alongside an eclectic and diverse group of friends from Cy Jennings, Fenris Braun, to Lee Fong who is more than who he appears to be.

The story takes place during the week of April 19-26, 1906. After surviving an encounter with her estranged father and escaping San Francisco alive, Ingrid and her friends have chosen to take The Palmetto Bug to what is being called Cascadian America. The area which we now call Portland to Seattle. Ingrid is a curious character who has the ability to pull energy out of the earth to mitigate earthquakes, but she is so much more powerful than other Geomancer's. She can also recognize fantastics, which are beings like sylph's, fairies, and Qilin. The qilin or kirin is a mythical hooved chimerical creature known in Chinese and other East Asian cultures who seems to have an affinity with Lee.

Because of her mixed race features, Ingrid isn't given the same respect as someone who is white. People actually believe that Ingrid is an immigrant who is likely illiterate since only white people have the brains and skills to be a Geomancer. Cato doesn't hesitate to use sexism and racism to tell her story. Something that is actually a breath of fresh air and accurate for this era, especially towards the Chinese and women. Ingrid is trying to remain one step ahead of Ambassador Blum who has her eyes on using Ingrid for her own nefarious goals. 

With help from Cy, a brilliant inventor, and Fenris, a MacGyver like character who can fix nearly anything, the adventure is anything but boring. The twist is that this series is set in an alternative history, steampunk world where the United States and Japan have formed an alliance called United Pacific. Cato has created a world where Japanese airships and technology helped the North win the Civil War. It is a world where Japan is the senior partner in the alliance with the US and has no hesitation in destroying China while showing its muscle.

This is a series that twists historical figures and events with fictional ones. In this story, readers get to finally meet Theodore Roosevelt who is one of the 12 ambassadors of the Unified Pacific. TR is an honest to goodness larger than life character who takes over the story from the moment he arrives. Kind of like the way he lived. He is also one that seems not to want to control Ingrid's every movement even though he clearly understands the power she has at her finger tips. Power that is not something to mess around with.

Just as in her Clockwork series, Cato's characters are a diverse group. Ingrid is a mixed-race young woman who was born on an Indian Reservation, and brought up in a predominately Japanese household. One could say that the author is a social injustice warrior who takes on this countries worse instances of prejudices and brings them to the light of day so that they won't be removed from our history books. The Blood of Earth series has appeals to both historical fiction and alternative history fans. It has a coming of age element that readers of authors like Gail Carriger, Cherie Priest, and Scott Westerfeld seem to enjoy. 

As a 411, Cato is the author of the duology called The Clockwork Dagger, which was nominated for Best First Novel by Locus, and The Clockwork Crown, an RT Reviewers’ Choice Finalist. Her Clockwork Dagger-set novella Wings of Sorrow and Bone was nominated for the Nebula Award. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

#Stacking the Shelves # 251 - Week Ending 08/19/2017

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!

Thanks for Shopping by!
Hope you find something you are interested in!
Edelweiss got around to finally approving some old requests! YAY!
Have a great weekend!

This Weeks Reviews: 

Monday - Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol (YA, SyFy)

Tuesday - The Keep of Ages by Caragh M. O'Brien (YA, Dystopian)

Wednesday - Buried Heart by Kate Elliott (YA, Fantasy)

Thursday - Last Breath by Karin Slaughter (Mystery)

Friday - The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (Mystery)

Saturday - Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta (YA, Fantasy)

*Received from Edelweiss & Library*

Friday, August 18, 2017

Saturday #Review - Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta #YALit #Fantasy @MaryTaranta

Series: Shimmer and Burn # 1
Format: E-Book, 336 pages
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Dark Fantasy

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.
Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.
Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.
With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

“With every high comes the inevitable, unavoidable low.”   

Shimmer and Burn is the first of two installments in author Mary Taranta's Simmer and Burn duology. Faris Locke is the main protagonist. She hasn't had an easy life. Not after her mother tried to kill her when she was 6 years old, and not after her mother killed after being accused of stealing the King's gold. Faris has been labeled the daughter of a drunk and a thief. Faris tries hard to support her younger sister Cadence. She has survived by fighting, and stealing food to survive. In this world, nobody is allowed to leave the kingdom of Brindaigel. 

Perrote, the King of Brindaigel, has powerful magic. He has not only bound all his soldiers to him as though they were puppets, but he has also walled off the country from the outside world. Especially from the country of Avinea which has been torn apart by a magically created plague that seeps into the soil, under your skin, and you end up dying slowly. In this world, just sneezing in the wrong direction can get you executed without a trial. Faris and a friend make plans to escape the city, but the escape goes wrong thanks to unfortunate circumstances, and Faris is forced to find a way to save her sister who is captured by the King's executioner.

With her sisters future on the line, Faris agrees to Princess Bryn's plan to carry stolen magic into Avinea as an incentive to gain an alliance with Prince Corbin and remove King Perotte. What she didn't agree to was Bryn following her into Avinea and being bound to her as her very own slave. Or, the fact that she is now considered a threat to King Perotte because she escaped Brindaigel. Or, finding a companion in North who guides Faris & Bryn across a very dark, very dangerous, world called Avinea where one wrong move will definitely end up you being dead, or losing body parts.  

During their journey they face many obstacles and unveils many secrets. North is a curious character who you will definitely be eager to learn about who he is, what he is trying to do for his country, and whether or not he is an actual ally Faris can count on, or just another layer to her road to save Cadence. Bryn is such a manipulative character. In one moment you want to punch her in the throat, while the next you wonder what she is actually up to, and how her actions will affect Faris. Can Faris survive this journey? Can she save her sister before it’s too late? 

This is also a book that does really well in world building. There is zero complaints from me on this issue. There is also an impressive group of secondary characters who really does shine. While I am loathe to admit I liked Bryn, I did. She's such a curious villain. She is the embodiment of self-entitlement, cruelty and cunning and will cut anyone's throat in order to get her way. She will even force Faris into doing her bidding for her. I am settling on 4 stars because I am truly not happy with the ending. I hate to admit this, but I would love for the book to end on a Games of Throne's full scale slaughter with everyone dying except Faris, North, and Cadence. This is one scary world. There are characters who are just horrible and Faris is caught right in the middle thanks to Bryn's machinations. But, Faris isn't a pushover folks. I am looking forward to the sequel. 

Friday #Review - The Lying Game by Ruth Ware #Fiction #Mystery

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Book, 384 pages
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Genre: Fiction / Mystery

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game.
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Ruth Ware's The Lying Game is a story that combines both Mean Girls, and Pretty Little Liars into a twisted psychological mystery that really pushes the meaning of what makes a person truly good, or truly bad. The story features
four women (Kate, Fatima, Thea, & Isa) who were best friends at a boarding school called Salten. Upon arrival at the school when she was 15, both Isa and Fatima were immediately drawn into a game Kate & Thea called The Lying Game.

The rules of The Lying Game were simple: Tell a lie, Stick to your story, Don't get caught, Never lie to each other, Know when to stop lying. But, after a terrible event happens, and things spiral out of their control, all four are soon expelled from the school. While they've each has gone their own ways, found new schools, and careers, and in Fatima and Isa's case, they now have children and husbands, they've never forgotten about The Lying Game, or what happened 17 years ago that irrevocably changed their lives.

When Kate sends a three world text to each of her friends, "I need you," it begins a dark journey back to not only Salten, but memories that would have been better having been buried forever. For Isa, who is a new mother, it means traveling with her newborn baby Freya and rediscovering the person she really was. A person that I didn't like much at all. It means uncovering the fact that these four young women were piss-talking, acerbity, insincere, trash talking hooligans who took liberties on everyone they encountered both at the school, and in the town, by mocking, teasing, ridiculing, and scoffing at anyone who was targeted.

Kind of like Pretty Little Liars in many ways, The Lying Game digs deep into a mystery that has gone largely unsolved. Until all of a sudden a body resurfaces, and then questions, and accusations, and fingers start to point towards Kate and her group. Especially Kate who still lives close to her former school. But, 17 years ago, the four made a solemn vow not to discuss what happened, and kept the secret from everyone, including their own families. Neither Isa nor Fatima has ever told their spouses. This is a story that is told in Isa's perspective, and alternates between the present and the past. 

One of the main reasons I rated this book as I have, was the creepy atmosphere that Ware creates. It is vivid, and completely strange. Part of the story takes place in a run-down Mill that has seen better days. When the water rises, things become even more dangerous. The mystery within this story is a pretty solid one. I could have fingered all four of these characters, plus several others, as being the one responsible for what happened 17 years ago, and really not been all that wrong. This Lying Game changed each of their lives, and in some instances like Kate, not for the better. The author does a good job of creating a realistic environment where anyone could be someone responsible for doing something horrific. 

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer, and is the internationally bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Woodand The Woman in Cabin 10. She is married with two small children. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter @RuthWareWriter.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

#Review - Last Breath by Karin Slaughter #Thrillers #Suspense @SlaughterKarin

Series: The Good Daughter #0.5
Format: E-Book, 176 pages
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Genre: Thrillers / Suspense

The fantastic prequel to The Good Daughter, the stunning new standalone from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series.
Protecting someone always comes at a cost.
At the age of thirteen, Charlie Quinn’s childhood came to an abrupt and devastating end. Two men, with a grudge against her lawyer father, broke into her home – and after that shocking night, Charlie's world was never the same.
Now a lawyer herself, Charlie has made it her mission to defend those with no one else to turn to. So when Flora Faulkner, a motherless teen, begs for help, Charlie is reminded of her own past, and is powerless to say no.
But honor-student Flora is in far deeper trouble than Charlie could ever have anticipated. Soon she must ask herself: How far should she go to protect her client? And can she truly believe everything she is being told?

Last Breath, by author Karin Slaughter, is the prequel to The Good DaughterThis story takes place in the year 2004, 15 years after 28 year old Charlotte "Charlie" Quinn survived a brutal attack on her family that ended her mother's life. Even though it was her father's job that led to her mother's death, Charlie is now a defense attorney. She struggles to pay her bills, but she is also married to the love of her life, Ben Bernard, who works for the DA's office. 

Charlie has a different set of values from her father, but that can't stop her from getting caught up in a devious game concocted by a rather smart young woman. While at a Girl Scout event, Charlie is approached by a bright young girl named Flora who claims she wants to be emancipated. That things at home are not exactly good. Flora, who lost her mother at a young age, reminds Charlie of her own loss. How can Charlie turn away Flora's request for assistance when she drives so many emotions? In a way, Last Breath reminds me of that old age story about of the spider and the fly. "Will you walk into my parlor? said the Spider to the Fly." 

The story tells of a cunning spider, in this instance 15-year old Florabama Faulkner, who uses a bit of cunning and flattery to lure Charlie into her web. There are so many layers of deceit, and betrayal, that you must hold on until the final page to see how things actually turn out. At 176 pages, this story is just the right length to get everything you want out of the story. Slaughter has been at the top of my list of authors to turn to when I need a brilliantly written story, with twisted characters, and layers upon layers of curious poses. She is the master of plot twists, and all of her characters have issues which makes them more enjoyable to read about. 

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her sixteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday #Review - Buried Heart by Kate Elliott #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Court of Fives # 3
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult series

In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy!

Choose between your parents.
Choose between your friends.
Choose between your lovers.
Choose who you are.

Buried Heart, by author Kate Elliott, is the third and final installment in the author's Court of Fives trilogy. For those who may be new to this series, the series is a high-fantasy adventure with a heroine who captures the imagination of fans from Sarah J. Maas, Rae Carson, and Victoria Aveyard. Set in the very Greek like setting of Efea, Half Saroese, half Efean Jessamy aka Spider has come a long way from the first installment. She's gone from being a nobody with the dream of becoming one of the finest Court of Fives contestants ever, to being a guiding light in a dark world that has been divided into Commoners, and Patrons.

Now she must choose a side and her destiny. As the story continues from Poisoned Blade, Jessamy has escaped from Saryenia and is on the run from King Nikonos who seized power in the most brutal way possible, and allied with enemies from East Soro. The only possibility left for Jessamy is to find a way to make Prince Kalliarkos the king of Efea, and hope that he can end the oppression that has long gripped his country while not losing what made him so appealing to her. But, will becoming the King, change who Kalliarkos is? Kal's actions in this book are really twisted, and that's saying a lot without actually saying anything spoiler-y.

Jessamy faces tough choices; does she become the face of the rebellion, or does she encourage others, like her father General Eslada, to fight alongside her and a surprising group of rebels led by an even more surprising leader? Jes's journey has been anything but easy. She is still being hounded by Lord Gorgaron who really did a number on her family. Jessamy knows that no matter what she does, her family is in harms way. She's already lost one sister who choose a different path, she doesn't want to lose anyone else. Except for the fact that misguided racists call her a mule, she speaks several languages fluidly, and is daring, and isn't afraid to jump in and get her hands dirty. 

Jessamy is a curious sort of character who has learned so much from her father who taught her how to survive in the brutal world where she is supposed to be seen, but not heard from. There are some current day issues with racism, sexism, and how it affects how Jessamy. It affects who she is, and who her parents are. It affects how she plans her future out, and whether or not she's make the right choices. I haven't talked much about Jessamy's parents, but I have to say that I really liked her father this time around. I respected him so much because he tried hard to make up for his mistakes. Even though he made a terrible choice, his love for his family is unmistakable.

I was blown away by Jessamy's mother, and how powerful she becomes in a very short manner. I knew she was feisty, and determined, but you really understand where her daughters get their strength from. I haven't talked much about the forbidden romance all that much. It has hanged over this series from the first time that Jessamy met Efean Royalty Kalliarkos while competing against each other in the Court of Fives competition. There are similarities, in a way, from living in this society, to living in the south in the early 20th century. It is definitely not something that is encouraged in this world. In fact, it could end up with Jessamy being killed if she is caught. 

The ending of this series didn't surprise or shock me. It was pretty much how I had hoped it would end with some twists, shocks, surprises, and plenty of awesome action scenes to bring the series to a beautiful ending. I do, however, wish that we would get an explanation as to what happened to one of Jessamy's sisters. I won't spoil who I am talking about. You will just have to read Poisoned Blade to find out more.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday #Review - The Keep of Ages by Caragh M. O'Brien #YALit #Dystopian

Series: The Vault of Dreamers # 3
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

In the fast-paced, high-stakes conclusion to Caragh M. O'Brien's Vault of Dreamers trilogy, Rosie travels to a derelict theme park to shut down dream mining once and for all.
Driven by fear when Dean Berg kidnaps her family, Rosie Sinclair strikes out across the country to rescue them. When an elusive trail leads her to Grisly Valley, the contaminated ruin of a horror theme park, Rosie has to consider that Berg may once again be manipulating her every move to make her fearful, priming her for a final, lethal dream mining procedure. As Rosie struggles to outmaneuver Berg, she unearths the ultimate vault of dreamers and the hint of a consciousness more powerful and dangerous than any she's imagined before. Faced with unspeakable suffering and otherworldly beauty, Rosie must discover how to trust her mind, her friends, and reality itself.
Propulsive and deeply speculative, The Keep of Ages concludes the Vault of Dreamers trilogy with stirring possibilities for what it means to be alive. 

The Keep of Ages is the third and final installment in author Carah M. O'Brien's The Vault of Dreamers trilogy. As the story picks up, Rosie Sinclair returns home for the first time in 6 months to find her family missing. Rosie knows that her fight against Dean Berg won't truly end until she can find a way to stop him once and for all. Even if that means traveling to the ends of the world. Rosie wanted to expose Berg's manipulation of dreamers but was caught and spent time stuck in what's been called a vault of dreamers. For months, she was kept asleep while having her dreams mined.

Rosie's dreams are unusually vivid which is like cat nip to someone like Dean Berg who is looking for a way to save himself from his own health issues. Rosie's journey will take her to a former amusement park in California. An amusement park which coincidentally has at its center piece The Keep of Ages where Rosie discovers an even more stunning surprise. Rosie must find a way to save her family, especially her sister Dubbs. Dubbs leaves a cleverly written message for Rosie to find that leads her to a woman in California. A woman who may hold the answers to Rosie saving her family and bring down Dean Berg. But, Berg won't be easily defeated or stopped, and he's got a few surprises up his sleeves.

The most curious characters in this book are Lavinia Jacobs, who once worked at the Forge School before Berg came along and turned it into something else entirely, and Dubbs. I loved Dubbs. She's just as adorable as you can imagine, and clearly clever as well. We get appearances by Burnham Fisk as well as Linus Pitts who we found out had a camera lens inserted in his left eye. Unfortunately for Linus, his road to redemption takes a bit longer while trying to find a way to regain Rosie's trust in him. Rosie meets a curious character in this book called ARSELF, and that's all I can say about this character without spoiling a huge part of the story.

In closing, The Keep of Ages is a fairly quick paced story with plenty of twists to keep the reader satisfied. The most interesting part of the story for me was the Grisly theme park. Here you get plenty of interesting twists and a character who defies explanation. Rosie has grown up as a character, and in the end, she may not be the badass that people were expecting, but to survive everything that she has been put through, who's going to complain at how she ends up?