Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday #Review - Cold Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff #Thrillers #Suspense

Series: The Huntress/FBI Thrillers # 3
Format: Paperback, 391 pages
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Source: Publisher
Genre: Fiction \ Thrillers \ Suspense

The hunt for mass murderer Cara Lindstrom is over. FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke has been working for this moment: the capture of a killer who savagely hunts the worst of humanity. But Roarke remains traumatized by his own near-death at the hands of the serial killer who slaughtered Cara’s family…and haunted by the enigmatic woman who saved his life.
Then the sixteen-year-old prostitute who witnessed Cara’s most recent murder goes missing, and suddenly pimps are turning up dead on the streets of San Francisco, killed with an MO eerily similar to Cara’s handiwork.
Is a new killer on the loose with a mission even more deadly than hers? In the pulse-pounding third Huntress/FBI Thrillers book, Roarke will have to go on the hunt…and every woman he meets, even those closest to him, may prove deadly.

Cold Moon is the third installment in author Alexandra Sokoloff's The Huntress/FBI Thrillers series. As the story picks up, FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is suffering from the after effects of his battle against the Reaper and the fact that the woman he was supposed to hunt down and arrest, Cara Lindstrom, saved his life. Cara has become a cult hero now that she has been apprehended and faces a trial for the murder of a john. She is a divine energy, a living myth, a female vigilante against the outrages that women have been trying to fight back against for years.

But, things really get strange in this story and quickly. Even though Cara is in prison for the presumed murder of a john, evidence against her comes down the the testimony of one 16-year old girl who has been living on the streets as a prostitute. Jade is hiding something. To her, everything is an act, and she is the archetype who comes to the rescue of the woman wrongly sent to prison for doing what the police, and law enforcement can't do. Get rid of evil in every form. When Jade suddenly disappears, the case against Cara is gone.

The hopes of keeping Cara behind bars is gone. Then another pimp shows up dead in the same manner that Cara had killed her previous victims. Then more pimps and johns show up dead. Who is really behind the killings and why? Has someone chosen to rid the streets of the sex traffickers and the pimps who use girls and toss them away like so much garbage? If so, what is there connection to Cara. The murders are all attributed to fabled Santa Muerte, aka Saint Death, aka Goddess of Death. As Roarke and his team scurry around like chickens with their heads cut off, even more curious revelations are twisted into the story.

Where we end is a social commentary on the need to revamp the entire justice system to focus more on abuse of children, and less time spent on talking about those convicted of soliciting drugs. Yes, drugs are bad, but sex trafficking is 10 times worse. I do agree that we need to do more to put sex traffickers a way for a very long time so that they have no hopes of parole. Apparently the penalties for drug possession and intent to sell drugs is much harsher than selling a child into prostitution. To me, that makes zero sense. Part of the story really got me wondering how many children, & teenagers disappear every day without their parents knowing what happened to them. Law enforcement needs to be proactive in searching for these kids.

Once again, if you are clueless as to the rages I have against sex trafficking and those who are involved, let me remind you that sex trafficking in this country is a $32 BILLION business. It affects both women and child. Boys, and girls of all ages, of all colors, and of all religions. Sokoloff breaks down in detail what happens to girls once they are taken off the streets. They are broken in, and broken down. They are beaten, they are imprisoned in darkness, they are shoved into trunks until the are so numb they are willing to do anything. If you truly believe that johns are good people, you need to really pay attention to this series. I do believe in the very essence of evil. Evil may not have a real name, but you can't refuse to admit that there are those who have been touched by its very essence, and once they have, there is no redemption. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday #Review - One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Three Dark Crowns # 2
Format: E-Book, 464 pages
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult \ Fantasy \ Epic

Picking up where the New York Times bestselling fantasy novel Three Dark Crowns left off, One Dark Throne continues with higher stakes, jaw-dropping reveals, and an ending readers will never see coming.
With the queens’ sixteenth birthday celebration on the horizon and the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them, the sisters must reassess their strategic paths to the throne in light of what has happened.
Katharine, once the weak and feeble queen, is curiously stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering she’s not a naturalist, must figure out how to use her potentially life-threatening secret before it winds up killing her. And even though Mirabella’s powers are as strong as ever, the incessant attacks on her and her people have left her questioning if being crowned is worth it if everyone in her wake dies.
But time is running out, and the triplets aren’t the only ones in Fennbirn scheming about what’s to come. Friends and foes alike who stand to benefit from the victory are trying to force the hands of the sisters, pushing them toward a shocking outcome that defies history, confounds nature, and forever changes everyone involved.

One Dark Throne is the second installment in author Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns series. This is a series that takes place on the fictional island of Fennbirn. There are three separate factions: Poisoners, Elementals, & Naturalists. 
Three queens. One crown. Simple, right? No, not really. Each of the three queens have their own special powers. Two of the three queens are keeping secrets from their own people. If you think the first book was a wild ride, you haven't seen anything yet. Things only get more twisted in One Dark Throne!

This story picks up about a month after the ending of Three Dark Crowns. The Ascension year is in full swing. The object now is for only one queen to remain alive at the end of the year. But, why wait for a year to kill your own flesh and blood and collect the crown? Why not go full out and eliminate the competition so that you can focus on who is going to be your consort? So, let's start with Queen Katharine of the poisoners. Katharine is not the same person that we met in Three Dark Crowns. She somehow managed to crawl her way out of Breccia Domain after being shoved in by someone she thought she could trust.

She also blames her sisters for her failings as the weakest sister of the three. But, that is no longer the case. Katherine aka Katharine the Undead is more powerful, more vengeful, and more dangerous than ever before. As the youngest of the three sisters, Katharine has never been taken seriously. By the time this story is over, I think everyone will be shocked at the turn of events that Blake unleashes. Katharine went from one of my most favorite characters, because she wasn't taken seriously, and was faced with horrors from the time she was fostered, to probably my third or fourth because of her actions in this book.  

Arsinoe, aka Bear Queen, is the Queen of the naturalists, but she carries a heavy secret. A secret so shocking that if it ever came out, she would find herself hunted down by her own people. Arsinoe isn't in the killing mood. She doesn't want to be the only Queen standing. In fact, she tries to make her older sister Mirabella understand that she would stand behind her attempt at winning the crown. Arsinoe has two very supportive people behind her. Jules and Joseph. I would dare say that Jules should have probably been one of the main characters of this book. Don't believe me? You haven't read the first book then. 

Mirabella is the oldest sister of the three, and presumably the most powerful because of her elemental powers. But, she really has her eyes opened after she discovers that everything she thought she saw at the Quickening, was perhaps more to it than she realized. Can she find a way to get past the goals and desires of the Priestesses, or will she quiver and fall to the more powerful Katharine. Now, it is up to her to stand up against her own sister Katharine who has become someone nobody recognizes. If she wins, she becomes Queen. I actually loved the fact that Mirabella and Arsinoe form a sort of alliance. I also am glad that the Joseph issue has been resolved. 

One Dark Thrown is a stunning story in many ways. Stunning that the series was supposed to be a duology and now it's a 4 book series. Stunning how the author really twists things and left this reader angry at how things ended in this story. Stunning to realize that it's possible that things could change even more with the realization of just how powerful Jules really is, and the introduction of a new power to the story. One Dark Thrown is definitely more twisted and action packed than it's predecessor. One Dark Throne is once again written in the third-person, present tense form. One of my favorite parts of this story was Arsinoe & Billy's relationship. Even though he is a pawn in a much larger game, he never waivers in his love for her. 

Just think, now we have to wait until 2019 to find out what really happens to Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

#Stacking the Shelves # 255 - Week Ending 09/16/2017 Post Irma

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!

Well, that was an exciting week. Got through the weekend with IRMA churning up to 80 mph winds, only to wake up on Monday morning and find that our power went out, and our cars were nearly buried in water. Power actually came back on rather quickly after the water disappeared, which was nice considering my cell phone charger decided to stop working. 12,000 people still have no power, but that's a whole lot better than 250,000. Doesn't that just figure? Moral of the story. Don't trust Hurricanes. Don't trust when they claim the Hurricane will go in one direction, and then you suddenly find that YOU are in the path. Don't wait until the last minute to fill up on gas, or run to the store to stock on on batteries, water, bread, and munchies that won't go bad. DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT YOUR PETS! DON'T LEAVE YOUR PETS OUTSIDE TO FACE THE STORM ALONE! Also, if you are able, look into getting a solar powered lamp so you don't have to go through so many candles. For the record, Jacksonville had the most flooding this city has seen since 1964. I've been in Florida for 17 years, and never once felt as though I was going to end up with water in my home. 
Have a great weekend!

This Weeks Reviews: 

Tuesday - Odd & True by Cat Winters (YA, Historical)

Wednesday - Fireblood by Elly Blake (YA, Fantasy)

Thursday - Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (YA, SyFy)


Friday, September 15, 2017

Saturday #Review - Shadowed Threads by Shannon Mayer #Urban #Fantasy

Series: Rylee Adamson # 4
Format: Kindle, 270 pages
Release Date: August 15th 2013 
Publisher: HiJinks Ink Publishing
Source: BookLending.com
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

“My name is Rylee and I am a Tracker.”

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

O’Shea is AWOL, and tracking him is proving to be harder than I expected.

Not to mention the small fact that I have the Beast of Bodmin Moor chasing me across Europe in a race against the odds, and my life as the prize.

But those things are minor compared to the secrets that finally come to light.

Secrets I wish had stayed hidden in the darkness . . .

Starring the irresistible, ass-kicking heroine Rylee Adamson, Shadowed Threads is the fourth book in USA Today bestselling author Shannon Mayer’s sexy, exciting, and laugh-out-loud series, a dangerously addictive paranormal romance.

Shadowed Threads is the fourth installment in author Shannon Mayer's Rylee Adamson series. The story picks up about three weeks after the ending of Raising Innocence
Rylee and her friends Alex, Eve, and Pamela are still in England trying to find Liam, and bring him back home. That is if they can actually find him. Liam the man is gone. Liam the wolf is hungry and hunting witches down one by one, and if Rylee doesn't get to him quickly, he might not be around much longer.

If you've read this series, you know that Rylee is one of the last remaining Trackers in the world. (We met Jack in the previous installment, and yes, he is still hanging around being a major pain in the arse). She's a badass who uses humor and sarcasm. She's also a smart-ass, not unlike this reviewer, and she has no fear of getting in the bad guys faces and telling it like it really is, and not what they want to hear from her. Even though she is also mostly Immune to magic, we all know that there is a particular twitchy witch who has betrayed Rylee, and has chosen to actively war against her.

Rylee's universe expands even more in this installment. Jack finally gets around to telling Rylee a few things that really rocks her world. Knowing that she may have to fight against an even bigger and more powerful villain, and she may have to put a coalition of the willing together to fight said super villain, leads Rylee to some interesting avenues, including meeting a DRAGON!!! Oh, my lord I love Dragons, and this Dragon has the perfect attitude to hang around Rylee. I love the way that Mayer uses a bit of humor to cover what could have been the end of Rylee, Liam, Alex, Pamela, and Eve. Rylee's pack, yes, let's get to the point and call them her pack, are really a remarkable group of beings. 

What stands out for me is that Pamela is really starting to prove that she's not just a one trick pony & that she can't just discharge her magic willy nilly and all things will be filled with sunshine and unicorns. I am not sure what to think about Doran's arrival or what his part will be from here on out. This is a rough story for reasons I will not spoil. Rylee really does get her money's worth out of every experience she is forced to face. From Doran's arrival, to finally getting a better understanding about Berget, to being chased by a dangerous being who just refuses to stop, Beast of Bodmin Moor. 

Even when Rylee picks up some useful allies, it also seems as though her enemies are getting smarter and more devious as the serious progresses. I will say this, without spoilers, Rylee's meeting with a certain character didn't exactly blow my mind. I had already guessed that this character would be a role player sooner rather than later. Especially with Milly and Faris doing whatever they are doing. There are some complexities rolling around in the background that could come back and thwart Rylee's desire to keep her pack safe and from harm. I just don't see how anyone can survive until the final book with all the backstabbing and machinations that are happening. 

I’m not sure we’ve been introduced yet to everything in Mayer’s world. But, so far we've been introduced to Trackers, witches, vampires, Shaman, harpies, werewolves and other shifters, as well as Guardians, dragons, gargoyles, Druids, ogres, necromancers, & demons. I will never tell you about the need to becareful about reading an Adult novel like this. I shouldn't have to tell you that there is vulgar language, dark situations, and blood. 

I shouldn't also have to tell you that there are sex scenes in this series. After all, the only character who is truly a teen, is Pamela and she's heard a whole lot from Rylee since meeting her. Finally, I want to thank those who are members of Booklending.com. You have been amazing, truly. Whenever I put in a request for one of these books, you respond quickly loaning me books in a timely and welcomed manner. I do hope that my luck won't run out before I get to book # 10! 

Friday #Review - The Equals by Daniel Sweren-Becker #YALit #Science #Fiction

Series: The Ones # 2
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages 
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Imprint 
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult \ Science Fiction

In this sequel to The Ones, a seventeen-year-old girl fights for the survival of genetically engineered teenagers after society deems them dangerous.

After the fallout in book one, The Ones—the one percent of the population who were genetically engineered in vitro—are rounded up and subjected to a vaccine that will reduce their brain function just enough to level the playing field.

Cody, heartbroken over a recent discovery, grows closer to a radical group of Ones who’ve fled to a compound in the woods. But once she’s welcomed into the trusted inner circle of rebels, she slowly uncovers clues that point to the existence of a mysterious genetic program—and a conspiracy that runs deeper than she could’ve imagined. Torn between loyalty to her first love and the exciting rebel who shares her cause, Cody will have to choose how to forge a new world.

With breakneck action and high stakes, The Equals is a page-turner until its dramatic conclusion.

The Equals is the second installment in author Daniel Sweren Becker's The Ones duology. In the authors world, we are not all created equal. Just ask Cody Bell who was told that she was one of the lucky ones randomly selected before birth to receive genetic engineering. Sanctioned by the National Institute of Health (NIH), one percent of the population, or 1/100 newborn babies, was chosen to be genetically modified via lottery. Known as the Ones, this one percent of the population is healthy, beautiful, and talented. 

Then there are those who claim the Ones have an unfair advantage in life. The Equality Movement is so hateful and spiteful towards the one percenters who were given no voice in how they were born, that their case ended up in the Supreme Court which handed down a stunning decision to make genetic engineering illegal in the country. Cody has faced stunning brutality & hostility at the hands of a group led by Agent Norton as well as her fellow students. The same Norton who heads the Equality Task Force which has rounded up Ones into camps against their will, and are willing to use the Vaccine to level the playing field. 

As the story picks up, Cody has found a curious connection to a radicalize terrorist group known as the New Weatherman and their unofficial leader Kai. Thanks to Edith Vale releasing the list of names of those who are Ones to the public, Cody's theory that she was one of them was crushed. But, she hasn't given up hope of helping Ones escape their current situations. Meanwhile, Cody's boyfriend, James Livingston, sacrificed himself to allow Cody, Kai, and another member of the group to escape being rounded up. James sacrifice is the driving force behind Cody's actions in this book. It is Cody who has to find a way to convince Kai's group to break James out before it is too late. 

Even though Cody isn't one of the Ones, she has chosen to take their side in this issue that has divided the country and forced families to make difficult and hard choices. The group isn't ready to go quietly into that good night without making some major noises and causing issues for the Equality Movement, especially Agent Norton. Que Edith Vale and the Ark where Ones are supposed to be able to feel safe and secure. Edith has something up her sleeve, and if it is allowed to go forward, society as we know it will fundamentally change forever.

You can argue with me over semantics, but when you pick up arms and make threats against others, including the government, you are in fact a terrorist. We can argue semantics about this story or genetic engineering pros and cons. The author has chosen to unravel the novel idea of genetic engineering which has led to designer babies. Don't believe this to be happening in this country? Just ask Kim Kardashian. Even though a majority of American's are against Designer babies, the rich of this country have gotten away with it for years. I don't think we, as the public, know enough about the technology yet to allow this to become normal. We should be very careful how we proceed unless we are using our own DNA to find a cure for incurable diseases. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday #Review - Nyxia by Scott Reintgen #YALit #Science Fiction

Series: The Nyxia Trilogy # 1
Format: E-Book, 384 pages
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult \ Science Fiction \ Space Opera

Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.


Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Story Locale: Present Day/Space

Nyxia, by author Scott Reintgen, is the first installment in the author's The Nyxia Trilogy. Emmett is the main storyteller of this series. Emmett is an African-American from Detroit who is given an extraordinary opportunity. Emmett is also one of Ten contestants chosen by Babel Communications to travel to the planet of Eden, and mine a substance called Nyxia. Nyxia refers to the substance the recruits will have to mine on the planet Eden. A substance that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe. To say that Nyxia is valuable, would be undercutting the real truth behind what the substance can be used for. 

But, there is a catch. There is always a catch. Only 8 of the 10 contestants will get the opportunity to actually go to the planet of Eden. What's even more fascinating & entertaining, is that each contestant is tested in many ways in order to win the most points. Points that are tabulated on a daily basis so that each contestant knows where they stand and what they need to do in order to survive and advance. Each contestant must survive and advance. Emmett must rub shoulders with nine others with similar backgrounds. Each of the 10 are from poor families and the money that they could each make from successfully landing on Eden, would set their families up for life and ensure that they each are able to have a stable future.

People have been crying out for diversity, and this book is stacked with diverse characters. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself: Kaya is Japanese. Bilal is Palestinian. Jazzy is American. Longwei is Asian. Azima is Kenyan. Isadora is Brazilian. Katsu is Japanese. Jaime is Swedish. If you ask me who my favorite characters are and why, I would offer up Kaya as my first. Kaya is a special character who brightens up the story. She is extremely intelligent, and with her on your side, you will end up doing well. My second character is Bilal who becomes Emmett's only true friend. Bilal is kind, generous and the boy you would love to be best friends with.

The story is set in a dog eat dog environment, and then the author piles on so many other surprises, that you really have to ask yourself if anyone will actually survive this competition and actually walk away with the huge prize they can each earn by making it to the surface of Eden. I loved Emmett's relationship with his parents. His mother is struggling mightily with health issues, and his father works his fingers to the bones in order to pay the bills in hopes of getting her better. But, his father never pushed the theory of giving up on your dreams because they are too hard.

He never demanded anything from anyone. Just to do the right thing all the time. Their connection is really amazing, especially the fact that Emmett is named after one of my favorite Florida Gators. Can you guess who it is? As for the fact that this book is the first in a 3 book trilogy, you know the author is going to toss in some strange and curious situations which makes the story both heart breaking and entertaining. This series opener stands out due to its fusing of an adrenaline rush of a plot with richly textured emotional undercurrents. If you are a fan of such books as Illuminae,
Carve the Mark, & The Diabolic, you'll really enjoy this story. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday #Review - Fireblood (Frostblood Saga #2) by Elly Blake #YALit #Fantasy

Series: The Frostblood Saga # 2
Format: E-Book, 416 pages
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult \ Fantasy

In this action-packed sequel to the New York Times bestselling Frostblood, Ruby must choose between her fiery homeland and the icy king who loves her.
Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his powerful throne. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby's powers and past....
Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax--which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.

Fireblood, by author Elly Blake, is the second installment in the author's Frostblood Saga. After finding a way to destroy the Frost Throne of Tempesia and King Rasmus, who sent his army out to annihilate all Firebloods in his Kingdom, Protagonist Ruby Otrera's life isn't much easier. Yes, she was the only Fireblood to ever survive a brutal challenge against Frostbloods in a gladiator like environment. But, the curse hasn't been broken, the shadowy creature known as the Frost Minax is on the loose, and causing tremendous problems for King Arcus. And, she wears a heart shaped mark on her face as a consolation prize.  

There are those close to Arcus who really want to see Ruby gone, and her relationship with Arcus is making people feel uncomfortable and down right rude towards her. She is, after-all, quite possibly the only Fireblood left in the land of Frostbloods. A nobody who rose from obscurity to change the direction of an entire country. This is a story that starts out with Ruby, Arcus, and Brother Thistle trying to find a way to destroy the evil Minax that is now haunting the Kingdom after being released. 

But, danger is lurking in the background in the form of assassins and others who want to see Ruby dead, and Arcus removed from the throne. But, it is the arrival of Kai that sends Ruby into an entirely different direction. Kai is from Sudesia. He arrived in Tempesia to discover who the girl is who did the impossible, and attempt to lure her back to Sudesia, which just happens to be her mother's homeland. 
Now, before you chide me on the whole love triangle aspect of this story, know this. Ruby loves Arcus. Ruby's future is most likely with Arcus even though he can be a stubborn arse at times. But, Kai is someone who is a Fireblood. 

He is someone who can teach her how to survive the trials necessary to become a Master. He, not Brother Thistle, can explain how it feels to actually feel the power of being a Fireblood. He is also a person who needs a second chance, and gets a chance to take it thanks to the arrival of Ruby. The movement to Sudesia for most of this story was a really great idea. Sudesia doesn't have any Frostbloods that are looking down at their noses to spite Ruby, or make rude and unnecessary comments towards her. 

That's because all of the Frostbloods have been removed at the behest of Queen Nalani. It is also a place where some really interesting surprises await Ruby that will take us right into the third book called Nightblood. Ruby is mostly
untrained, yet she is awfully powerful. As Ruby's training intensifies, she also has to find a book that may hold the answers in defeating both the Frost & Fire Minax's. In the end, this book also ends on an action packed breath taking battle between Ruby, Arcus, Kai, and a newly awakened villain who reveals a whole lot of twists that will leave readers heads buzzing. Bring on Nightblood!