Friday, May 27, 2016

#Friday Review - Deviate by Tracy Clark (Young Adult, Fantasy)

Series: The Light Key Trilogy # 2
Format: E-Galley, 356 pages
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


Tormented after a daring escape, Cora Sandoval must find a way to stop the Arrazi from murdering innocent people and from violating, using, and killing the Scintilla for their powers. She must also accept one bitter betrayal: Finn Doyle—the Irish boy who has both a piece of Cora's heart and soul—is Arrazi...
On the verge of extinction and sought by those who would either consume or destroy them, Cora and the remaining Scintilla survivors must solve the mystery of The Light Key. If they fail, the truth will stay buried forever and mankind will pay the ultimate price.
No longer will she hide. No longer will her loved ones be hunted.
And she will have her vengeance...even if she shatters her heart in the process.




Deviate is the second installment in Tracy Clark's The Light Key Trilogy. The trilogy features 17-year old Cora Sandoval as the main protagonist. If you have read Scintillate, or read my review, then you know that a whole lot of pain, suffering, and heartbreak found its way into Cora's otherwise quiet life. Cora has found out that she is a rare human called Scintilla, and discovered that she wasn't truly alone just yet. She also discovered that another race called the Arrazi are itching to wipe out the last remaining Scintilla from the Earth.

Alongside Cora is fellow Scintilla/Italian Giovanni Teso, her cousin Mari, best friend Dun, as well as her mother Grace who had disappeared for 12 years while searching for answers. Now, with the Arrazi in full beast mode to hunt them down, and a devastating loss that has left Cora reeling, Cora & group need answers. But, without Grace's research notebook, they are up the creek without a paddle. Plus, there is an even bigger challenge awaiting them and will be lucky to get out alive.

One of the more interesting aspects of this series is Cora's psychometry powers. Whenever she touches something, a tattoo forms some where on her body after giving her a vision of what the object hold. This makes things rather interesting and dangerous when she is trying to hide who she is. Deviate is actually a bit different from Scintillate in that Clark alternatives narratives between Cora and Irishman Finn Doyle who just happens to be one of the Arrazi. 

Finn's narrative is from a boy who doesn't want to be like his parents or his demented Uncle Clancy who can astral project and discover where Cora's group is found. Finn has some choices to make. He can either give up and not feed or kill anyone, or he can accept his fate, while trying to also help Cora who he still has feelings for. Finn still has a desire to try and help Cora and her group even after they suffer some really heartbreaking losses that will leave you breathless. 

I dare say that there are a whole lot of surprises waiting for readers once you get past the second half of this book. Surprises that leave you with a very, very interesting ending that pretty much forces you to read the final book in the series called Illuminate. By the end of this book, Cora has really taken a huge leap forward as a character, and has become a the groups leaders thanks to all the losses and betrayal. I am eager to see how Clark manages to wrap this series up!  




Thursday, May 26, 2016

#Thursday Review - Scintillate by Tracy Clark (Young Adult, Fantasy) @TracyClark_TLC @EntangledTeen

Series: The Light Key Trilogy # 1
Format: E-Galley, 304 pages
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

"A mighty flame follows a tiny spark."
Cora Sandoval's mother disappeared when she was five and they were living in Ireland. Since then, her dad has been more than overprotective, and Cora is beginning to chafe under his confines.
But even more troubling is the colorful light she suddenly sees around people. Everyone, that is, except herself—instead, she glows a brilliant, sparkling silver.
As she realizes the danger associated with these strange auras, Cora is inexplicably drawn to Finn, a gorgeous Irish exchange student who makes her feel safe. Their attraction is instant, magnetic, and primal—but her father disapproves, and Finn's mother orders him home to Ireland upon hearing he's fallen in love. After a fight with her father, Cora flees to Ireland, both to follow Finn and to look for her missing mother.
There she meets another silver-haloed person and discovers the meaning of her newfound powers and their role in a conspiracy spanning centuries—one that could change mankind forever…and end her life.



Scintillate is the first installment in Tracy Clark's The Light Key Trilogy. The trilogy features 17-year old Cora Sandoval, a quiet, introspective, book lover who is half Latino (Chilean) on her father's side and half Irish on her mother's side. A mother who disappeared without a trace when she was five. A girl who basically only has only two real friends in her cousin Mari, and Dun, he who is of Indian descent. After finding herself in the Hospital with an extremely high temperature, Cora finds that she can now see colors around people.

What's even stranger for Cora, is that there are apparently different colors for different moods a person is feeling at the time. Cora's own aura is silver. Something no-one else apparently has. Here's where things get a bit crazy. First, why did her father take blood from her when she was in the hospital? Second, why has he been keeping secrets about what is happening to her, and what happened to her mother so close to his chest? Third, why does a stranger say to her "A mighty flame follows a tiny spark?"

The final curiosity in this book was the insta-connection between Cora and Irish McDreamy Finn Doyle which sort of goes through a strange rollercoaster ride that left my head hurting. Who is Finn really, and why after getting close to Cora, does he jet back home to Ireland without any explanation? If that doesn't raise several red flags, I dare not say what will. So, again, what does this all mean? Does what Cora is going through have anything to do with her mother's disappearance, or the research she was supposedly doing at the time of her disappearance?

Without any word of warning to her father, Cora jets off to Ireland in hopes of following the trail of her mother, Grace Sandoval. A trip that opens Cora's eyes into the fact that there are those people called Arrazi, who are hunting down and killing those like Cora, called Scintilla's. Have you ever wanted to scream because author's love to screw with readers heads by introducing yet another romantic possibility into the story? Meet 19-year old Giovanni Teso who Cora meets at the airport.

OK, so, even though Giovanni has his own secrets. Even though he is supposedly the one with the information that Cora is searching for, I think their relationship is more of a friendship, and the fact that they are both being hunted for what is inside of them. I will say that the second half of this book was the most exciting and entertaining for me. Especially when things really start to get dangerous, and even more secrets, and stunning revelations are thrown at the reader like rapid fire.

Since I requested this book, and the sequel Deviant from Entangled: Teen, I shall be continuing right until the final page of the final book. One of the biggest questions from this first book, is who can Cora really trust outside of Mari, and Dun? There are a whole lot of things that need to be explained. A whole lot of villains that haven't been revealed. And, whether or not Clark chooses to allow any of the core members of this cast to survive or not is truly up in the air at this point.





Wednesday, May 25, 2016

#Wednesday Review - Divine Descendant by Jenna Black (Urban Fantasy)

Series: Nikki Glass # 4
Format: Kindle, 228 pages
Release Date: May 16, 2016
Publisher: Pocket Star
Source: Amazon, Kindle
Genre: Urban Fantasy


For Immortal Huntress and cunning private investigator Nikki Glass, vengeance trumps all in the final novel in acclaimed author Jenna Black's addictive urban fantasy series!

What happens when fertility goddesses go on strike? Nothing much—except maybe the end of the human race.

When private investigator Nikki Glass became immortal as a descendant of Artemis, she never dreamed she’d find herself playing marriage counselor to the gods. But she doesn’t really have much of a choice when the crazed ex-wife of Anderson Kane—a god in disguise who just happens to be the son of a Fury—decides to enact revenge by wiping out all of humanity. Somehow, Nikki must convince the two to kiss and make up, but with Anderson now gone AWOL, she'll have to find him first. To top it all off, the cat’s out of the bag that Anderson killed Konstantin, the Olympians’ deposed leader. Now their new boss—Konstantin’s son—is out for blood.

With every mere mortal’s fate now resting in Nikki’s hands, can she outsmart the gods…or will she be doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a barren and desolate world?
 





Divine Descendant is apparently the final installment in author Jenna Black's Nikki Glass series. Things have been rather curious for Private Investigator Nikki Glass over the past three months. She found out that she was a Descendant of Artemis, the supposed goddess of the hunt, chastity, virginity, the moon, and the natural environment. Now, apparently immortal, she's a member of Anderson Kane's Liberi group which is heavily outmatched in numbers by the Olympians, lead by Cyrus Galanos, son of Konstantin who offered Nikki no amount of trouble and heartache. 

Even though Cyrus is the supposed enemy, she finds that perhaps they have common ground, especially when fertility goddesses fail to do their jobs, and Kane's ex-wife Niobe shows up with vengeance on her mind. The fact that Nikki isn't all that happy with what happened in Rogue Descendant, and Kane's very public revelation of who he really is, and then his abrupt disappearance, makes for an interesting temporary alliance with Cyrus. The one thing that is apparently clear right from the onset of this story, is that Nikki has taken the leadership role in Kane's group. Nikki's group of Liberi includes Logan (Ares Descendant), Jack (Loki), Maggie (Hercules), Blake (Eros), and Jamaal (Kali). 

Let me say that if I were a person new to this series, I would definitely be eager to start from the beginning with Dark Descendant. Nikki is a very developed character at this point. She's tried to keep her humanity in the face of major challenges in her life, and that of her families. She is far from a character who makes silly and stupid mistakes. She's also not entirely sure of her powers at this point, only that they are stronger at night and with the moon. Nikki has kept her bleeding heart sense of mortality almost from the beginning when she was shoved into her current position. 

What has made this series interesting for me, is that Black finds ways of twisting things until they actually make sense. Who could have imagined that the first descendants of the Gods were immortal, but subsequent generations of mortal descendants are able to take their places by killing them? You would think that only immortals can kill other immortals, but you would be wrong. Black's world is far from being black and white. The good guys are not necessarily all that good, but the bad guys are truly despicable and evil. Look no further than Konstantin's search and kill mission of all mortal descendants. 

Even though it has been three years since Rogue Descendant released, I am fully onboard with the way Black wraps up her series. Hell, I am damn happy that she was able to come back to this series after that gut wrenching ending to Rogue Descendant and not just abandon her readers to the darkness of feeling unsatisfied. I am more than happy with the romance that finally, yes, finally develops fully between Nikki and Jamaal who has absolutely grown from being the angry dude who wanted to kill her. I am extremely happy that Black didn't use rape as a weapon this time around. I can't ever support rape as a weapon under any circumstances. I am also happy with Black giving Nikki not only hope for the future, but someone she can spend her immortality with.




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

#Release Day Review - Struck by Amanda Carlson (Paranormal, Mythology, Romance)

Series: Phoebe Meadows # 1
Format: E-Galley, 271 pages
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Source: Author
Genre: Urban Fantasy


When Phoebe Meadows gets struck by a strange light in the stockroom of Macy’s, life as she knows it flies out the window. As if being hit by lightning isn’t bad enough, she’s accosted in the subway by a man with a missing hand, arrives home to find a raven on her kitchen counter, and her neighbor, Ingrid, shows up dressed like a gladiator hell-bent on protecting her.

Before Ingrid can shuttle her to safety, Phoebe is kidnapped and tossed into one of the Nine Worlds where she’s quickly forced to come to terms with what she is: A valkyrie. The only problem is, she has no idea what that means.

After a narrow escape, she finds an unlikely ally in Loki’s son, Fenrir. Together the valkyrie and the wolf must battle their way back to New York City and reach the valkyrie stronghold where Ingrid is waiting for her. But with danger and obstacles at every turn, she might not live long enough to learn the full truth about who and what she really is





Struck is the first installment in author Amanda Carlson's Phoebe Meadows series. 24-year old Phoebe Meadows is working at work at a NYC Macy's department store when she is struck by a bolt of electricity that temporarily knocks her unconscious. By the time the day is over, Phoebe's world has been fundamentally changed. In sequential events, Phoebe becomes more energized, and then she encounters a strange man with scars on his face and no hand telling her that New York is no longer safe for her.

But the strangest things haven't even begun to happen yet! From her neighbor Ingrid showing up in her apartment wearing battle gear saying she's supposed to protect her, to being dragged into a strange world where Norms Vervandi, Skuld, and Ord want to see her dead and are mad as hell that she somehow escaped their radar all these years. To top things off, she ends up escaping to a demon infested world where the one and only Fenrir Wolf has been exiled to.

If you're a fan of Carlson's previous series featuring Jessica McClain, then you know she has a tendency to throw her characters into situations where they fight for their lives right up until the final page of the story. You should know that Phoebe is NOT Jessica. While Jessica grew up in a world where she knew that the paranormal existed before becoming who she is today, Phoebe grew up in Wisconsin unaware of the Norse Mythology which now includes her or who her real parents are.

Carlson continues her use of romantic situations to take away the levity and danger of what her characters are going through. With Fen, Phoebe finds someone who, even though he really hates Valkyries with a passion and wants to escape, ends up being more than a lover. He becomes her backbone, her bodyguard, and her guide into the new and strange world that she wakes up into. 

As for important characters outside of the Norns, and Ingrid, you should keep an eye open for Samantha (Sam) Reed, and Tyr, the God of War who just happens to be Phoebe's brother. Secondary characters are an important part of any story. In this case, Tyr and Sam are important cogs to Phoebe's chances at survival and ending up with her new sister
Valkyries and learning about who she really is. I especially loved Sam's reaction to Phoebe's new reality. She's a keeper! 

Struck is a story that you really can't skip over pages just because you might be bored with certain aspects of the story. (Like with me and the sex scenes which I am labeling New Adult-risque). Struck flows from one realm, to another pushing Phoebe into accepting who she has become now that she's been exposed as a Valkyrie. I am definitely eager to see if Phoebe travels to the other non-Midgard realms over the course of this series.

The second installment in Phoebe's series is called Freed. The book is set to release in the fall of this year. 





Monday, May 23, 2016

#Monday Review - Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis (YA, Fantasy) @AuthorJennifer @Month9Books

Series: The Order of the Krigers # 1
Format: E-Galley, 300 pages
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: YA, Fantasy


The people of Nelebek live in fear of persecution from the evil Morlet, who reigns with a dark and destructive magic. The kingdom’s only hope lies with the Order of the Krigers—twelve warriors with mysterious powers linked to magical weapons.

For over a century, Morlet has been annihilating the Order, picking them off one by one. Eleven Krigers have been hunted down, tortured, and imprisoned in his dungeon. Now, only one remains.

Sixteen-year-old Kaia survives by keeping her head down and minding her own business. But when she finds herself in the middle of a public execution where the mysterious Morlet is in attendance, an odd compulsion she can’t resist comes over her.

Kaia looks into Morlet’s eyes.

Soon, an ancient power awakens and Kaia can no more blend into the scenery. Will she heed the call of the Krigers or will Morlet’s dark magic destroy the last of the Order?





Rise is the first installment in author Jennifer Anne Davis' The Order of the Krigers trilogy. Davis creates a story that is set in a fictional country of Nelebek. Nelebek is ruled by a megalomaniac
King named Morlet who is obsessed with finding and killing all Twelve members of a group known as the Order of the Krigers. The problem is that he needs all Twelve together, but he is missing the Twelfth member who remains elusive to his attempts to capture them. 

16-year old Kaia is the series protagonist. Kaia knows that surviving is the one and only goal of living in Nelebek. Her father, who works as a guard, has trained Kaia to fight and survive while living in squalor. Thanks to his efforts, and Kaia's hard work, she is more than ready for what comes next. Kaia knows that King Morlet has an obsession with the warriors known as the Order of the Krigers, but couldn't for the life of her have imagined that she is the Twelfth
member of the Order.

But, after staring down Morlet who is tearing the country apart looking for the Twelfth Kriger, something awakens inside. She feels energy in her hands, and she knows that something has changed. She is forced to go on the run with an assassin named Anders who saves her life more than once, and becomes her staunchest supporter. It has been foretold that when all Twelve members are together, they will have the ability and magical powers to bring down the evil King who has ruled Nelebek for a century. 

In a quest to understand why she is apparently the Twelfth member of the Order, and why she may be the most important cog in defeating Morlet, she will also discover her strength, her courage, friendship with two men who are bound by a curse, and danger at every turn. She will be forced to face death in the face, loss at at an personal level, and begin to question if what is written about her is even half true. 

Even though Kaia is young, and idealistic at times in not liking when Anders kills to save her life, but she doesn't run and hide. She opens herself up to being swayed by Morlet, and in the end, questions how a man so evil, can have any feelings whatsoever for her. One could say that the line between good and evil is truly blurred in this story. Morlet is an evil man. He does sick and twisted things to get his way and find the Kriger's. He took to black magic like a fish out of water, but apparently hasn't gone full Sith Lord since he finds different ways to make the reader question his behavior.

Anders is another one who blurs the line. He is a blood thirsty assassin. He's done some really bad things since he was cursed, yet he finds a connection to Kaia. For me, Vidar remains a question mark. He is not truly bad, but I'm not sold on his being pure good either. Let's hope the sequel called Burn reveals even more.



Saturday, May 21, 2016

#Stacking the Shelves / Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged # 17 - Featuring Chloe Neill, Faith Hunter, Sarah J Maas


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! 
Have a great weekend!

~Shelley~

This Weeks Reviews: 

Monday - The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry (YA, Mystery)

Tuesday - Ruined by Amy Tintera (YA, Fantasy)

  Wednesday - Traitor Angels by Anne Bankman (YA, Historical)

Thursday - Dream On by Kerstin Gier (YA, Fantasy)


Saturday - Elixir by Ruth Vincent (Urban Fantasy)

Dissolution by Lee S. Hawke (Science Fiction, YA) - Talk Supe Blog



Scheduled for Next Week: 

Monday - Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis (YA, FANTASY)

Tuesday - Struck by Amanda Carlson (Urban Fantasy)

Wednesday - All Fixed Up by Linda Grimes (Urban Fantasy)

  Thursday - Divine Descendant by Jenna Black (Urban Fantasy)

Friday - Scintillate by Tracy Clark (YA, Fantasy) 

 Saturday - Deviate by Tracy Clark (YA, Fantasy)

*Received from Publisher/Authors*

 

*Granted approval via NetGalley/Edelweiss*

 

*Borrowed from Library*

   





Friday, May 20, 2016

#Saturday Review - Elixir by Ruth Vincent (Urban Fantasy)

Series: A Changeling PI Novel # 1
Format: E-Galley, 384 pages
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Source: Publisher
Genre: Urban Fantasy


Mabily “Mab” Jones is just a twenty-something, over-educated, under-employed New Yorker trying to survive as a private eye’s unpaid intern . . . or is she? Once a powerful fairy, but tricked by the Fairy Queen into human form, Mab is forced to face her changeling past when investigating a missing person case at a modern speakeasy.

Obadiah Savage bootlegs fairy Elixir to human customers thirsting for a magical fix. But when Mab and Obadiah become joint suspects in a crime they didn’t commit, the only way to prove their innocence is to travel back to the fairy realm. And when Mab confronts the Fairy Queen and learns the depth of her betrayal, she must decide if the fate of the fey world is worth destroying the lives of the humans she’s come to love.





Elixir is the first installment in Ruth Vincent's A Changeling PI series. Elixir features Mabily Jones, a 22 year old recent college graduate who is looking for a job as a Private Investigator in New York City. "Mab" also has a bit of a secret as well. Mab is actually a Fae stuck in human form, or as author Vincent is calling her, a Changeling. She has no magic. She has no way of returning home to Fairyland aka The Vale, and she hasn't fulfilled her original duty of finding out what is causing the Elixir levels in The Vale to drop drastically.

Mab accepts an internship of sorts from Chief Investigator Reggie Ruggiero. Reggie has been searching for a missing girl who was last seen in a trendy bar where he isn't actually welcomed. Upon entering the bar where Reggie's missing girl was last seen, Mab encounters Obediah Savage who knows exactly what Mab is. Neither are any of the customers. To Mab's horror, she discovers that Obediah has been selling bootlegged Elixir from The Vale to human customers that cause some strange side-effects. 

Side effects that eventually hurt Mab's best friend and roommate Eva Morales. Caught between a rock and hard place with Eva's situation, Eva and Obediah agree to work together in order to travel back to The Vale where they hope to encounter the one person that betrayed Mab; The Fairy Queen. Mab and Obediah must find a way to save Eva, stop the Fairy Queen's plans of stealing more children to save her Fairies from dying off, and staying alive long enough to prove they had nothing to do with Eva's unfortunate situation. 

Will Mab find a way to outsmart the Fairy Queen and save Eva? Or, will the Fairy Queen get the best of Mab and ensure that she is forced to play by the Queen's rules to survive? With this being the first installment in a new series, there are a few hiccups that I tried to put behind me so that I didn't allow my feelings to get the best of me. Mab is an interesting character, but her character acts about 6 years younger than she really is. 

Her time as a Changeling has left her lacking of her former powers, and angry at the Fairy Queen who betrayed her so completely that she's basically human through and through. Her relationship with Obediah is an interesting one, and HIS background saved this book in more ways than you can imagine. I think that readers will find the plot enjoyable enough to get through the character flaws and continue onto the next installment. I really liked Mab's relationship with Eva as well. Of course, there is a surprise waiting for readers once you reach The Vale. Let's hope patience gets you to this point so that you can be as surprised as I was.