Friday, June 22, 2018

#Review - Most Wanted (Star Wars Novel) by Rae Carson #YALIT #SyFy

Series: Star Wars Disney Canon Novel
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Release Date: May 25, 2018
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Space Opera

Set before the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story! Han and Qi'ra don't have a lot in common other than not having a lot. They're street kids on the industrial planet Corellia, doing whatever it takes to get by, dreaming of something more. They each jump at a chance to prove themselves in the perilous world of Corellia's criminal underbelly, only to discover they are on the same mission for the same unscrupulous boss. When the job goes disastrously wrong, Han and Qi'ra are on the run--from pirates, a droid crime syndicate, the Empire, and their boss--and will have to learn to trust each other if they are going to survive.




Most Wanted, by author Rae Carson, is part of the Star Wars Disney Canon series. Set before the events of Solo: A Star Wars StoryHan and Qi'ra don't have a lot in common other than not having a lot. The story is set on the Planet of Corellia, which is basically a run-down, backwater planet whose main industry is building ships and retiring older models. Han and Qi'ra are street kids on the planet, doing whatever it takes to get by, dreaming of something more. 

They are each given special assignments from their boss Lady Proxima. They both jump at the chance to prove themselves capable of being the new Head position in the perilous world of Corellia's criminal underbelly. Han is normally kept busy at night running around Cornet collecting payments, gathering information and fetching information for Lady Proxima. He knows the streets better than anyone which is why he is told he must not be seen by anyone. This will either be his greatest opportunity or his most dangerous assignment ever. 

Qi'ra is told that she's supposed to be noticeable, attractive, and poised. She needs to be seen entering and leaving the hotel where her mission is to take place. When the job goes disastrously wrong, Han and Qi'ra discover they are on the same mission and are forced to go on the run with their Rodian friend Tsuulo who is a brilliant addiction to this story. Running from pirates known as Kaldana Syndicate, a droid crime syndicate known as Droid Gotra, the Empire, and their own boss, the three will have to learn to trust each other if they are going to survive. 

That means dealing with a robot that Han has a previous relationship with, and a secretive woman from the Empire who has technology that could change things for those outside of the Empire. Carson does Han's character justice in that we see hints of his cockiness, and his piloting skills, and his love for flying, as well as his tendency of improvising, and his apparent ability to pick up languages quicklyHan trusts his instincts which have kept him alive more than once. Han prefers direct confrontation to innuendo, sneaking around, or the complicated planning Qi'ra seems to prefer. Qi'ra is more of a planner and one who dreams of bigger and better things for herselfQi'ra is a character who we only know because of the movie, but she's a pretty smart cookie as well who if you've actually seen the movie, you know what comes next. 

Even though there isn't any sort of romance in this installment, the author does come close. There are definite hints of feelings between the two of them, and one can dare say that Qi'ra was probably Han's first love way before he ever ran into Princess Leia. I have seen reviews that say that this story takes place 6 months before Han's story. That is in fact, inaccurate. Per the movie reviews, this story is more like 3 years before the Han movie. I won't spoil anything else since some of you, including me, haven't had the opportunity to actually see the full movie yet. 





Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday #Review - The Accused Dead by Rhiannon Frater #Dystopian #Fantasy

Series: The Hidden Necromancer # 2
Format: Kindle, 265 pages
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Rhiannon Frater
Source: Author
Genre: Dystopian / Fantasy

Though I’ve been exonerated through the Necromancer Trial, there are those who are convinced that I am a devil-woman who should be exiled, or worse, killed. 

I’m trapped by the Laws of the Lost Texts. I can’t simply buy a ticket to the train and leave. I have to endure the Bridal Auction and hope my newfound friend, Quade, will be able to purchase my hand in marriage. If he fails his bid, I will be married off to one of the Crats. I’d rather be declared Unclaimed and condemned to a life of servitude to the community. 

All the while, the secret necromancer lurks in the shadows threatening to upturn my life and expose my true nature. 

To finally have control over my own life, I may have to take the ultimate risk and escape over the wall into the Deadlands. 





The Accused Dead is the second installment in author Rhiannon Frater's The Hidden Necromancer series. The story picks up right where The Unblessed Dead left off. Having survived yet another test to determine whether or not she's a necromancer (thanks to the fact that her mother once saved the community from the so called Unblessed dead),
Protagonist Ilyse Nott is under the microscope by certain members of the Council of Crats who don't believe that she's innocent no matter how many tests she has to take to prove herself.

Now, things are about to get really twisted. Ilyse has turned 18, which means it's the day of her Bridal Auction. As a summary, Ilyse lives in a place called Atonement Settlement where they believe in the so called Lost Texts. Even though this series has been compared to the Handmaiden meets the Walking Dead, one could also compare the people of the story to Mormons, or even the Amish if you will. As I said, even though Ilyse has been found innocent of murder, and of being a necromancer, she's still ostracized by the community. 

There are those who have chosen to do everything they can to make her life virtually impossible, including sabotaging her Bridal Auction, and forcing her to become one of the Unclaimed, or even going as far as putting her through yet another even harsher tests to see if she caves in and admits her guilt. Ilyse's only hope lies in the hands of Quade Reed. Quade is what's called an Undertaker; an Undertaker can sense zombies and can tell when they are around but can't control them like a necromancer. 

Quade works for an organization called Chandry where they collect and train necromancers. Quade fully intends to bid on and win Ilyse's hand and marriage and get her the hell away from Atonement where she can be free of those who hate her. Surprising nobody, Ilyse's sister Carrie, and her brother Rennon are once again wonderfully supportive and attempt to ride to Ilyse's rescue when things seem their darkest. There's a hodge podge assortment of revelations, discoveries, betrayals, and surprising twists, including the introduction of a group who appear to be part of a rebellion. 

Such an interesting and twisted ending. Wow, did not see that coming at all. I am definitely eager to read the third installment in this series as I am hoping to learn more about the Chantry, the world outside one of the most oppressive communities that you will read about. I feel for Ilyse in many ways. She has such a roller coaster of emotions and things happen to her that really made me want to jump into the story and put certain characters in their place. Alas, the final scene gives me hope that things will hopefully look up soon for both Ilyse and Quade. 





Wednesday, June 20, 2018

#Review - Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews #Urban #Fantasy

Series: The Iron Covenant # 1
Format: EBook, 322 pages
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: NYLA
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Urban Fantasy

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work. 

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast. 

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify. 

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies? 

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.” 

Hugh and Elara may do both.




Iron and Magic is the first installment in authors' Ilona Andrews new series called The Iron Covenant. As this is a spin-off from the Kate Daniels series, and is in the same world as the Daniels series, you will definitely have to have some clue as to what I am referring to as I put together a review that makes sense, and but doesn't spoil anything for future readers. This series features former Roland acolate Hugh d'Ambray, and Elara Harper, a new character, with lots of power and secrets. More about her later.

Hugh is a character who we've all read or heard about before. He is the character who is perhaps Kate and Curran's biggest adversary outside of Roland. He's done some pretty horrific things to people that Kate and Curran call friends. He is the devil who was raised by a God to become the leader of a group called Iron Dogs, an elite private army built for Roland. Hugh jumped whenever Roland told him to go and destroy, and kill someone or something. But, then the unthinkable happened. After failing to do something that Roland asked him to take care of for him, he was cut off. 

Even though I've always felt as though Hugh was undeniably the most awful character to come out of this series. Even though he has no redeemable qualities whatsoever. Even though he definitely has a whole lot of pain, suffering, and hurt coming his way. What happens to his people that he put together and made promises to, may be the biggest thing to wake him up from the nightmare he has been living for far too long. As the story opens, we find a very different Hugh. A Hugh who has hit rock bottom.

Hugh's Iron Dogs are being hunted down by another of Roland's accolades. With his men and women being viciously hunted down and killed. With supplies, weapons, and food to feed his people running low, Hugh and his men find a way to make an alliance with someone who is desperately searching for protection from outside forces who are willing to do whatever it takes to push them out from their home and take their land. A character who will push Hugh's buttons. A character who will open another avenue of thinking. And a character that may finally defrost the ice surrounding his heart.

Here's where I talk about Elara Harper. If you thought Hugh was a badass, you ain't seen nothing yet. Elara aka The White Warlock, and her people called The Remaining, have found a home in a castle called Baile. But, there are those who are just waiting to move in and take everything they've worked hard for. Elara will do anything to protect her people, including marrying one of the scariest villains you'll ever meet. But, hold onto your hat people, because Elara isn't a Mary Sue. She's not a pushover.

In fact, she's damn scary, and powerful, and could give Kate Daniels a run for her money in the badassery category of top 10 female heroines. She also has no intention of being submissive and taking orders from anyone. Let alone Hugh d'Ambray. Elara is a remarkable character who I am anxious to find out more about. There is a deeper, darker, more frightening part of Elara that the authors have kept close to their chests. That's probably a good thing since we really didn't understand Kate's full potential until the series really got going.

Elara is the perfect personality for Hugh. She gives as much as she takes, and has some of the most entertaining lines in the story. Elara and Hugh have to face a wide range of villains. There is plenty of action, suspense, and brief romantic scenes. In the end, you start asking yourself questions. Can Hugh finally find the one thing that has been missing from his life, love? Or will his relationship with Elara cause even more blood, and suffering, and death? Can Elara and her people survive knowing that they are allied with some of the most dangerous people in the country, let alone the world? Can the two survive a marriage of convenience, or will the marriage burn to the ground over held secrets? 

Iron and Magic also has some curious cameos including Raphael and Andrea. I am particularly eager to understand where the author is going and whether or not other Pack members will be making a cameo in this series as well. With the Kate Daniels series ending this year, I am definitely eager to see what the authors do with this series. Would you call this an redemption series? Mayhaps. I will say that that was one helluva an ending. I am impressed but a bit curious why the authors held back what Elara really is and how come she is so powerful. I can say without spoilers, that she would definitely give Kate Daniels a run for her money in the power department. I would also add that I would LOVE to have Elara on the side of Kate and Curran when the final battle with Roland is fought. Can you imagine how impressive Elara, Hugh, Kate, & Curran as a team would be?





Tuesday, June 19, 2018

#Review - Stray Magic by Kelly Meding #Fantasy

Series: A Strays Novel # 1
Format: E-Galley, 336 pages
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Shiloh Harrison was hoping for a few days off to recover from a particularly nasty assignment, preferably with the help of the talented hands (and, well, the rest of his body too) of her sexy boyfriend, Vincent. But when a group of vampires takes an entire trailer park hostage, there’s nothing to do but make her apologies and get to the scene.

Such is the life of a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit.

Yet this isn’t like her typical track-and-nab case: something is going on that has vampires scared, and it takes all her strength not to imagine what could frighten such powerful creatures. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have that option. Her boss is MIA, someone is snatching vampires, and there’s a ticking clock that can only end one way: a bloodbath.
Unless she can stop it.

The first book in a new series, Stray Magic is a dark and sexy mystery, with enough twists and curves to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.



Stray Magic, by author Kelly Meding, is the first installment in the authors Strays series. Protagonist Shiloh Harrison is a 28-year-old US Marshall in The Paranormal Investigations Unit under the auspices of the DOJ. Shiloh has been with the unit for 6 years and is currently second-in-command. Shiloh is a half djinni with abilities to grant three wishes and has Quarrel pheromones that are hard for her to control. Her abilities often affect the combative nature of humans. She is tough, snarky, and fun to follow along with.

Her team includes Julius Almeida, the only human on the team, Novak (Incubus), Jaxon (Skin Walker), and Kathleen Allard (Dhampir). The story starts out with a bit of a bang. Shiloh is looking forward to a bit of fun and some much-needed downtime with her current lover, Vincent, when her team is called out to a trailer park where a group of vampires, led by Master Vampire Tennyson, is keeping the humans residents hostage & demanding answers to why his vampires, and some werewolves have suddenly disappeared without a trace.

On top of this, Julius, her team leader, has been missing since the day before, and there's no clue where he's gone, or if hanky panky is involved. As the team scrambles to find Julius, Tennyson manages to insert himself fully into the investigation and Shiloh's life. There are plenty of underlying currents just ready to spring up and surprise Shiloh and readers. Shiloh isn't a leader. But, she must become one quickly and without letting her emotions get the best of her. Who is behind Julius's disappearance and why? Is this same person responsible for the missing vampires and werewolves? Does the unit itself have a traitor in its midst, and if so, what is their end game?

Shiloh's group has some remarkable technology available to them that the author kind of skims over. The group can travel from place to place via specific ley lines, and everyone is hooked up to the latest technology called KIM (Knowledge Interface Matrix). This story has its share of vampires, werewolves, necromancers, and a very curious Goddess whose home is between worlds, and where time moves differently. I liked the fact that the author incorporates her mother, Elspeth, who is the daughter of a Romani, and her Earth Djinni father, Gaius, into the mix. For an adult novel, that is almost unheard of these days.

Shiloh is also not afraid of sex. In fact, she has a boyfriend who she has fun with, has had an encounter with one of her fellow teammates and may be falling for the very dangerous and powerful Tennyson. The author has a tendency of playing games with her characters by putting them in life and death struggles that even one slip up will find them in deep trouble. Really a trough way to end things. Even worse is knowing that there's a whole a year between this book, and the sequel called Stray Moon.

If you haven't read Feral House, in the Carniepunk Anthology, you might want to eventually. This the first chance you will get to meet Shiloh, and her father, and a few other characters who appear in this installment. It's also not a bad anthology with plenty of other big-name authors like Allison Pang, Delilah S. Dawson, Jennifer Estep, Kelly Gay, Kevin Hearne, Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, and Seanan McGuire.  

Meding is also the author of series such as Dreg City, which is also Urban Fantasy with some sexy romance, MetaWars, Cornerstone Run, and The Project Files duology.






Monday, June 18, 2018

#Review - Furyborn by Claire Legrand #YALit #Fantasy

Series: The Empirium Trilogy # 1
Format: Hardcover, 512 pages
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Dark Fantasy

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable―until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire's heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world―and of each other.



Furyborn, by author Claire Legrand, is the first installment in the author's Empirium trilogy. Set in the fantasy world of Aritas, there is a prophecy: Two Queens will rise. One of blood. One of light.
Generations ago in a war between humans and Angels, the angels were defeated and locked behind a gate. Due to their influence being taken from the world, magic slowly started seeping out of it. This is a story that alternates between two dynamic young women~~Lady Rielle Dardenne and Eliana Ferracora. 

During a disastrous horse race, Rielle is forced to use her elemental magic in order to save her best friend, and the boy she has feelings for, the Crown Prince Audric. The problem? For years, Rielle has kept her ability to use elemental magic a secret since revealing it would create too many problems. In response to Rielle's show of power, King Bastian forces her to undergo seven trials to discover if she is the Sun Queen, a long prophesied savior of their people, or the Blood Queen, bringer of destruction. 

During the time of her trials, she is persuaded and guided by an character named Corien. That, my friends, is all I am going to say since this character affects both storylines. Rielle also has Audric and her best friend Ludivine as support outlets for when the trial really gets going and Rielle is forced to prove that she's worthy of the title of Sun Queen. One could say that Rielle's story is the reason that Eliana's world exists in its current form. One could also say that Eliana and Rielle's stories mirror each other in the trials and tribulations that they both are forced to face in dealing with a nasty villain and awakening as the supposed destroyer or savior of their world. 

Meanwhile, One thousand years in the future, Eliana Ferracora is an assassin/bounty hunter known as The Dread of Orlins. She works to keep her family (including younger brother Remy) alive in a kingdom long conquered by the Undying Empire. She's also considered to be invincible and highly sought after by those who represent the Emperor. When her mother disappears, she has to decide if joining the rebels, under the guidance of a man called Wolf, or ingratiating herself to the Empire will give her a better chance of bringing her family back together. 

Eliana will learn that there is still a cosmic battle being waged that she and Rielle have both fought in their own ways. By the time Eliana was coming of age, the stories of magic, angels, and Saints are thought of as myths. Unlike Rielle's time, in Eliana’s world, the Undying Emperor has taken control of the lands and there's almost no free lands remaining to be controlled. It's easy to predict Rielle's background from the action-packed prologue. It's easy to predict who Eliana is as well. Readers will immediately know that something has already happened to both characters, and that the author is just filling in the blanks trying to catch up to the present. 

The book gets off to a slow start due to the large amount of world-building and the number of characters introduced. However, once the story truly gets underway, it quickly becomes a page-turner. Readers will find the complex and flawed characters immensely relatable. If you really pay attention, there, at the beginning of each chapter, is an epigraph that tells some important background information that will be revealed. I have to say that Eliana's story is much more action packed for the most part. She has to not only face more adversaries, including monsters, & assassins, while not only protecting her brother and searching for her mother, but learning how to trust other people. 

While she's trying to save someone she loves, she also has to deal with ever changing alliance swings, while also understanding her very unique abilities. Meanwhile, Rielle's story is filled with a whole lot of conversation; too much at times, and apparently the need to visually describe a character masterbating. Sorry, but ICK. I don't hate Rielle's story. She really gets tossed in the ringer time and time again. There are pretty revealing similarities between Eliana and Rielle which really shouldn't surprise you after you've read the book. They are both afraid of letting others know of the power they can control. Neither wants to feel as though they will be forced to do something against their will. And, they have others that they love and will do almost anything to save them.

In summary, yes, I will recommend the book giving only a minor warning of perhaps a bit too much information when it comes to sexual situations. Even though this is sold as being Young adult, please know that this is a deeply dark novel. I'm not one to put trigger warnings in my reviews. I enjoy dark fantasy. The darker the better. I could do without certain scenes that the author wrote, but that doesn't mean that I will not read the next installment. Too much of an appetizer has been put out for me to ignore the main course and the desert. Both characters storylines are told in the third person narrative and both end on surprising cliffhangers. If I haven't already mentioned it, I adore Remy. Remy is a curious character in that he knows all about the stories and isn't afraid to enlighten other characters into seeing what he actually knows is fact. I am hoping to warm up to Navi, Simon, Ludivine, and Audric by the time the second installment hits the shelves.
Finally, I feel like Elvis Presley at times of too much conversation and little action. "I need a little less conversation, a little more action please. All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me. A little more bite and a little less bark. A little less fight and a little more spark. Close your mouth and open up your heart and baby satisfy me. Satisfy me baby."




Saturday, June 16, 2018

#Stacking the Shelves #288 (Week Ending 06/16/2018)


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 Stopping by!
I do hope you find something you like!
Have a safe weekend folks! 
Shelley

This Weeks Reviews: 

 Monday - Nightblade's Honor by Ryan Kirk (Fantasy)

Tuesday - Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent (YA, Dystopian)

Wednesday - The Mermaid by Christina Henry (Historical Fiction)


 Friday - Eden Conquered by Joelle Charbonneau (YA, Fantasy)

Weekend - Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Fantasy, Paranormal)


*REC'D Via Publishers*

Thank you DAW Books, Disney-Hyperion, MacMillan!






Friday, June 15, 2018

#Review - Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab #Fantasy #Paranormal

Series: Villains (#1)
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates--brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find--aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge--but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.


“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”


Vicious is the first installment in author V.E. Schwab's Villains series. 10 years ago, Victor Vale and Eliot (Eli) Cardale were roommates and fellow medical students at Lockland University. Both were brilliant, arrogant, and itching for adventure. They shared research into adrenaline, near-death experiences, and the possibility of becoming EO's, or Extra Ordinary People. What they ended up with was a shattered friendship, death of an innocent who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and 10 years in jail for Victor. 

Victor and Eli are not your stereotypical villains. I would label them both with superiority complexes allowing them to do things that only serial killers would consider to be rational. Especially Eli. This tale of betrayal and survival, will collect characters from 13 year old Sydney Clarke, & her sister Serena Clarke, to Mitchell Turner who is a very curious character who seems as though he is a lure for trouble. 

My favorite is definitely Sydney. The girl isn't given much of a chance at all to survive, but when all is said and done, her powers make her the most impressive character in the entire book. I know that this book released in 2013, but since the sequel--Vengeful--will finally be released this fall, I figured it wouldn't hurt to start this book now so that I didn't have to wait 5 years to see what happens next. 

Schwab is a curious writer who seems to come up with the most interesting world and characters. Characters that feel as though they could step out of the pages and into real life and become either your friends, or your archnemesis. 
Vicious is a twisty tale that takes readers 10 years in the past, to days, and weeks ago. Vicious methodically ratchets up the tension as Victor, and his allies, and Eli and his ally, circle each other for the final inevitable clash between Victor and Eli. Schwab has definitely taken the superhero genre and turned on its head.