Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday #Review - One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Seven Black Diamonds # 2
Format: E-Galley, 368 pages
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

The gripping finale to Melissa Marr’s lush return to faery, Seven Black Diamonds.

Now that LilyDark Abernathy is the heir to the Hidden Lands, everything is about to change.

The Queen of Blood and Rage wants Lily to help broker peace with the human world, but Lily knows that harmony won’t come easily. After decades of waging war on the humans, who cost the queen her firstborn daughter, the fae are struggling to accept Lily, a half-human monarch. And the humans, while no match against faery affinities, will hardly agree to the queen’s d├ętente without resistance.

Lily wants to be a fair ruler but fears having to abandon the life she’s known to do so. Now that she and Creed are more than just fellow Black Diamonds—operatives for the queen—her priorities have shifted. But her worries about assuming the throne are derailed when it becomes clear that someone—or some fae—is masterminding violent attacks to discourage peace.

In this gripping follow-up to Melissa Marr’s lush Seven Black Diamonds, Lily and her friends are forced to reckon with the truth of their own parentage and to protect one of their own, no matter what—or who—comes between them.

One Blood Ruby is the second installment in author Melissa Marr's Seven Black Diamonds duology. So, here is where we stand. Lily Abernathy, now LilyDark, has become the heir apparent to the Hidden Lands. She has become a voice for peace between the fae, and humans who have been at war over something that happened years before. But, there are still those who want to continue the war, and are doing everything they can to keep humans separated from the fae. 

Can Lily, who is more of a cardboard heroine than say Violet is, save the fragile peace, find answers to questions about her heritage, and live happily ever after with her scrub Creed? Outside of Lily, the only character less boring is Creed. Yes, yes, their relationship is cute, and adorable, but what do they really accomplish in the end? What can I say? I love Violet. She takes no lip from anyone, including the King and the Queen of the Hidden Lands. I also loved Eilidh. It is because of Eilidh's actions in the past and in this so called finale that lead to a future that may bring a brighter future.  

Speaking of Eilidh. I am curious about what actually happened to her after all her hard work of keeping Lily a secret, and then ensuring that she would become the heir. With her affinities, it makes zero sense that she wasn't chosen to become Queen over Lily who hasn't proven herself. At least Eilidh has the powers to keep people she loves safe, and it's Eilidh who takes the biggest risks and makes the most destruction of her enemies. I find myself liking Zephyr & Rhys relationship better than Lily and Creep, oh, I mean Creed. 

It's nice to see a father and son getting along, and not being at each others throats all the time. I do, however, feel that there are so many unanswered questions. What will happen to the fae world after Lily becomes queen? Was Eilidh actuall meant to be queen, rather than Lily? The land chose her, not Lily, so it makes zero sense to keep up the charade. What the hell HAPPENED to Eilidh anyway? Did she and Torquil ever get to be together after that ending? Did Violet give Erik a chance? Did Zephyr ever heal from his loss? What were the consequences of Will coming out to the press? 

Unfortunately, readers will be left unimpressed by this finale. I join other reviewers in saying that this story felt rushed to make the deadline. Conflicts, relationships, and resolutions were rushed, a character dies for no rhyme, nor reason, and the lead character once again doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Not even her boyfriend can save this story. The King and Queen of the Hidden Lands relationship was more appealing
to me. As I said above, Violet is my idea of what a heroine should be like. She's strong, she has an attitude that takes no prisoners, she doesn't really need a love life, she already has all the support she needs with her group of 7. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

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

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

Her vengeance. His vision.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

This Weeks Reviews: 

Thursday - Avenged by Amy Tintera (YA, Fantasy)

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

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

Talk Supe Blog Reviews

If I Run by Terri Blackstock (Mystery, Suspense)

*Received from...Publisher (Macmillan Lottery)




Friday, May 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

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

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

Some things are better left in the shadows.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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