Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday #Review - Aliens Abroad by Gini Koch #Science #Fiction

Series: Katherine "Kitty" Katt # 16
Format: Paperback, 656 pages
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: DAW
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction / Action & Adventure

With human populations growing and alien populations adding in, the Earth is becoming too overcrowded to sustain itself, and the solar system is already filling up with aliens. With the technology from the Alpha Centauri and Vatasusan systems having been given to Earth, it’s time to explore new planets and see if any uninhabiteds can be claimed. The President and First Lady, aka Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, aren’t supposed to be on this mission, but what looks like a snafu during a political photo op on the newly christened Distant Voyager spaceship turns out to be a call for help from a planet that might be Earth’s salvation…or its destruction. Now Kitty & company must figure out how to safely as well as boldly go where no one has gone before and this time, the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined.

Aliens Abroad is the sixteenth novel in Gini Koch’s rollicking Alien science fiction action series featuring Katherine "Kitty" Katt-Martini as the heroine who kicks butts, takes names, and rocks out to various cuts of music as she is doing so. As the story opens, Kitty is contacted by an unknown alien who asks for her help. This is the first time the author has introduced us to the so called Dreamscape, which no, has nothing to do with the movie from 1984. 

Shortly thereafter, on the day of the launch of the new starship called Distant Voyager, Kitty, her family, a slew of random others, including most of Jeff's cabinet, are sent on a mission of utmost importance. Apparently, the fate of the galaxy is in jeopardy, and Kitty, as the Warrior Queen, is once again called to stand up and protect others as she has done this entire series. Kitty brings her usual stock of sarcasm and snark to the story along with an intelligence that is often overlooked by those she has spent almost decade with fighting aliens and saving the universe.

This story is one with three different missions that Kitty and her crew must solve before moving on to the next stop. At each stop they are sent on, billions will die unless they figure out a way to stop the impending galactic apocalypse from happening. This is brilliantly thought out story, which impresses me since this is the 16th installment in the series and things still haven't gotten stale for me. In this story, a different super-consciousness guides the crew of the Distant Voyager to places that really need Kitty's unique ways of solving difficult issues.

I love the relationships that Kitty has with each of these characters, especially Lilith. They all adore Kitty because Kitty has shown that she can change the minds of even the most cynical person to her side. I am curious as one who has read this series from the beginning. I don't honestly remember if the author has ever left such a stunning ending to her story before. I will definitely have to go back and re-read my reviews to see if this has happened. This stunning ending really leaves me eager to pick up the next book in the series. 

One of the more interesting selling points I read recently about this series said, "this breakneck series includes plenty of sex and last-ditch efforts to save the world—imagine Men in Black and True Lies having a girls’ night out in Area 51."

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tuesday #Review - The Midnight Front by David Mack #Historical #Fantasy

Series: Dark Arts # 1
Format: E-Book, 464 pages
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Historical

Captain America meets The Magicians: Allied commando wizards fight their Nazi counterparts in World War II in the first book of a new action-adventure fantasy series. 

It's World War II and Winston Churchill has enlisted a secret front of wizards to combat the dark forces aiding the Nazis in their bid for world conquest.

Cade Martin is the key. But Cade isn't the Chosen One. The Chosen One was murdered by the sorcerous fire of Axis operatives before he could come into his power. In the war to save the world from plunging into darkness, Cade Martin is plan B.

Cade's teammates in the Midnight Front—magic users all—don't know what to make of him. Some don't trust him. But the stakes are higher than at any previous moment in human history, and the Midnight Front has no choice but to find a way to work together to somehow defeat Adolf Hitler's sorcerers before it's too late.

The Midnight Front is a thrilling, emotionally charged, action–packed tour–de–force.

The Midnight Front is the first installment in author David Mack's Dark Arts series. Like the series name, this story is very dark. It takes place during World War II (1939 thru 1945) when the entire world was at war or holding its breath to see who would be victorious. The story encapsulates the Nazi death camps, the Allied landing at Normandy, the German invasion of Russia, the Allied bombing of Dresden, as well as the American bombings of Japan. But, it also includes a war within a war that might change the course of the world.

The story actually has a slew of narrators from both sides of the conflict. The good guys are Cade, Stefan, Anja, Niko, and Adair Macrae. The bad guys are Segmar, Briet, and Kein Engar who pretty much control not only Hitler, but the Third Reich as well. While the synopsis mostly focuses on Cade's side of the story due to the fact that he is the only American among the group of heroes and villains, don't look away from the other characters. Each of them bring valuable back stories with them. Each of them are from different countries, different backgrounds, and have different reasons for partaking in a war that could end the worlds dependency on science.

Each of them is also at the highest level called Karcist, which mean they can summon and hold upwards of 11 demon servants at a time. This really is a character driven story without the necessity of any world building. The author puts you in the heads of Stefan, who fights his way through Poland looking for his lost lover and a valuable Codex, to Niko's quest in France to not only find his sister, but to destroy covens filled with dabblers that answer to the enemy, to Anya's heroic fight against the German army in her native Russia even though they don't like her kind all that much. 

Cade is understandably the main character because of who he is and what he is capable of being. From the first moment we meet Cade, there is something that just rings bells that you better pay attention or you will miss something the author has thrown in. Cade's journey is filled with just as many ups as there is downs. From the horror of losing his parents, to training harder than you can imagine, to learning how to summon and control demonic servants, to fighting across Europe in order to help defeat the villainous mastermind Kein and his accolades who are just as dangerous as he is. 

I respect that the author made no attempt at covering up the horribly, inhumane, and disgusting things that were revealed that took place during Germany's reign of terror. I respect that the author uses characters who are, in their own right, unique and just as terrified of being caught and sent to concentration camps where they'll likely not be heard from again. I respect that the author made zero attempts at saving the reader from heart break by reading the loss of a character you may come to respect. This is war. Nobody, and I mean nobody comes home unscathed. 

After an ending that left all sorts of questions as to what is going to happen next, I do look forward to seeing where Mack takes Cade and his characters. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Monday #Review - Unearthed by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner #YALit #SyFy

Series: Unearthed # 1
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction

From the New York Times best-selling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner comes a "literally breathtaking" new sci-fi series about a death-defying mission on an alien planet.
When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution humanity has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and their message leads to the planet Gaia, a treasure trove waiting to be explored.
For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an ancient alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Despite their opposing reasons for smuggling themselves onto the alien planet's surface, they're both desperate to uncover the riches hidden in the Undying temples. Beset by rival scavenger gangs, Jules and Mia form a fragile alliance... but both are keeping secrets that make trust nearly impossible.
As they race to decode the ancient messages, Jules and Mia must navigate the traps and trials within the Undying temples and stay one step ahead of the scavvers on their heels. They came to Gaia certain that they had far more to fear from their fellow humans than the ancient beings whose mysteries they're trying to unravel. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more Jules and Mia start to feel like their presence in the temple is part of a grand design--one that could spell the end of the human race...

Unearthed is the first installment in co-authors Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner's Unearthed duology. Unearthed is a story that is filled with non-stop action, intrigue, surprises, and yes, romance. Set entirely on a far off planet by the name of Gaia, the authors use dual alternating narratives to tell their story. 16-year old Amelia Radcliffe is a scavenger & thief who took a job on Gaia to find something valuable enough to pay off her sister's debts.

18-year old Jules Addison is the son of a disgraced scientist who was the first person on Earth to unlock the message sent by the people known as the Undying. Jules wants his father's reputation redeemed and in order to do so, he must combine talents with a scavvy in order to not only survive, but to unlock the true meaning behind the secretive messages. Now the two have been tossed together in a setting not unlike Laura Croft Tomb Raiders, or Indiana Jones in a race against time and enemies who will do anything to bring back fortune and glory.

Amelia and Jules couldn't be any different. They come from different backgrounds. She's from Chicago, he's from England. Amelia is the snarky badass, while Jules has never went a day without being able to do what he wants. She lived off scraps and stole in order to save her sister from a group that holds her hostage, while he was able to actually able to graduate from school and gain knowledge in order to be one of the most valuable persons on any planet.

This story is filled with puzzle pieces, villainous humans who are out for their own prizes, a temple filled with so much danger that it will take all of Jules and Amelia's skills to survive. PLUS, a very breath taking cliffhanger ending that has me pensive about what will happen next. 

Dislikes? Ok, fine, I struggled with the necessity behind using so much of the book to write a romance that really could have been edited out of the book. Sometimes I believe authors use romances as a crutch in order to fill story holes they created. 

Lots of time was spent with Mia and Jules attempting to unlock twisted through puzzle pieces left behind by a race that supposedly destroyed themselves long ago. Along the way, I got the sudden urge to sprint to the finish because I was already guessing something wasn't all that was cracked up to be. Kind of reminded me of the Lara Croft games where you have to search and search and search for a way out of your current scene before bad things happened. 

Waiting until 2019 for the final installment to come out. Why do you authors torture us like this? Write faster!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

#Stacking the Shelves #271 - Week Ending 1/27/2018

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!
Hold onto your seat folks. This was another impressive week!
Have a great weekend!

This Weeks Reviews: 

Monday - The Keeper by Kim Chance (YA, Paranormal)

Tuesday - The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (YA, Fantasy)

Wednesday - Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen (YA, Fantasy)

Thursday - The Rebels of Gold by Elise Kova (Fantasy)

Blog Tour Friday - Blood and Sand by CV Wyk (YA, Fantasy)

*REC'D VIA Edelweiss, NetGalley & Library*

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday #Review/Blog Tour - Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Untitled # 1
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Romance / Historical

The legendary Spartacus is recast as a fierce female warrior in this action-packed tale of a 17-year-old princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic
Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire—an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves. 
Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.
Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end—and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...
From talented debut author C. V. Wyk comes an action-packed, stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire.

Blood and Sand is the first installment and debut release from author C.V. Wyk. Wyk re-images the story of Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator who was one of the escaped slave leaders in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Empire. In this story, Wyk does a gender bender to make Thracian Princess and Maedi Warrior Attia the lead character. Attia was chosen as heir and warrior, but once the Roman's decided to attack and destroy everything in their sight, Attia was taken as a slave as the last remaining Thracian.

Once a warrior, Attia is reduced to a slave sold to a Roman peacock named Timeus, the dominus of a gladiatorial school. Attia's closely guarded identity remains a tightly guarded secret until much further into the story when a secondary character reveals they know who she is. Meanwhile, Attia is given away to Xanthus Maximus Colosus the Champion of Rome. While Attia tries hard to intentionally sabotage every job she is given, Xanthus gives her the space she needs not to be thought of as a piece of meat.

Things are going swimmingly along until she becomes the caretaker of the youngest Timeus, Rory. Xanthus, like Attia, was taken from his home of Britannia 10 years ago. He has faced battle after battle as a gladiator and remained undefeated. He and his brother gladiators wish to one day burn down Rome and attempt to return home. As we meet Xanthus, he is stick of killing and wants it all to end. Which is of course where Attia comes in.

While Attia is doing everything she possibly can to seek out and gain her revenge against those who murdered everyone she knew, Xanthus tries to do everything he can to make sure she doesn't get herself killed in the process. Attia is really a wonderfully written character, and a badass who can really stand on her own. But, I wanted a whole lot more. I loved a particular scene where she really shows her mettle in a battle royal even though she is warned of trouble for herself and everyone else. I wanted more of that. 

Her relationship with Xanthus isn't one of instant love fest. It becomes one of respect, admiration, and mutual experiences with being torn away from their homes and everyone they loved. Xanthus isn't one to ravage anyone against their will which takes Attia sit up and take notice. Plus, Xanthus brothers are all an amazing group that made me laugh. Other secondary characters of notice are Sabina, Lucretia, Rory, and of course Xanthus gladiator brothers. 

The ending really gave me pause, and not because there was anything especially wrong with it. There is a particular series of events that shocked me. Writers are allowed to take chances with their characters and their world building, but this was perhaps the most anxious part of the entire story. I do hope to continue this series. I have to find out how close the author pays to historical events that are supposedly the trademark of the man known as Spartacus. 

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday #Review - The Rebels of Gold by Elise Kova #Fantasy

Series: Loom Saga # 3
Format: Hardcover, 523 pages
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic

A new rebellion rises from the still smoldering remnants of the five guilds of Loom to stand against Dragon tyranny. Meanwhile, on Nova, those same Dragons fight amongst themselves as age-old power struggles shift the political landscape in fateful and unexpected ways. Unlikely leaders vie for the opportunity to shape a new world order from the perfect clockwork designs of one temperamental engineer.

This final installment of USA Today bestselling author Elise Kova's Loom Saga, The Rebels of Gold will reveal the fate of Loom's brilliantly contrasting world and its beloved inhabitants.

The Rebels of Gold is the third and final installment in the Loom Saga by author Elise Kova. The author alternate's her story through four main characters; Arianna, Florence, Cvareh, and Coletta. I am pretty sure the cover is supposed to reflect Florence as we have already had Ari, and Cvareh in the previous two installments. I have a whole lot of mixed feelings about this story and the way it finally wraps up. The most interesting part of this story is the role that Florence wraps herself in and pushes the envelope into being the brightest star in this story.

But, let's start with Arianna first since she is still such a badass and she never stops fighting for those she loves. Ari has seen a whole lot in her life. She's survived against all odds, she's lost friends and lovers, and she became something of a legend. Arianna's story starts right where The Dragons of Nova let off. Ari has returned from Nova after surviving her confrontation with the Dragon King and her fall to Loom where she was found by Mercury Town's King Louie for whom Ari and Florence have done work with before.

Louie now expects a whole lot more from Ari than just bits and pieces. Ari is known as the White Wraith, but she is also the Perfect Chimera with nearly every part of her body replaced by dragon parts. Ari's journey is this book is more or less a supportive role, but don't dismiss or ignore her. She stands back and let's Florence take control yes, but that's because she has more than done enough to hold her head high. Her relationship with Cvareh is barely mentionable for most of the story. I am one who is Ok with this part since both are fighting for their very lives and the lives of others. 

Meanwhile, Florence has united the 5 Loom Guilds for a rare Vicar Tribunal which she hopes to bring everyone together in order to fight for freedom against the Dragons who nearly wiped out the guilds again in the previous installment. Her relationship with Ari is secondary to her desire to fight. While it is nothing like was in the first book, it's because Flo has found her niche. Florence finds herself in a leadership position which really suits her attitude. She also finds herself in a relationship, but that relationship did nothing for me except to prove that we are able to accept nearly everything at this point in life. Florence is the more intelligent, the most fascinating, the character with the most confidence, and the one who can gain the most if the rebellion against the Dragons actually goes their way.

On Nova, Cvareh is about ready to get the shock of his life. Things didn't go the way he thought they would in the previous installment. This shock will drive Cvareh to finally standing up, and as they say, dragon up and show some back bone. Cvareh's relationship with Ari is hot and cold, mostly cold since she has so much going on in helping Florence put together an army that can defeat the dragons. Cvareh real adversary in this story is Coletta. If you haven't read the first two books yet, get moving!

Coletta is the female villains villain. She leaves nothing to chance. She can cut you to the core, and laugh while you bleed out. She's smart, cunning, deceitful, and it appears she's always one step ahead of others. My only regret is that we don't have a final battle between Coletta and Ari which would have been brilliant. 

Overall, I am kind of disappointed with how this story wraps up. Most of the story is preparing for war, with the interspersing of battles on Nova to keep things interesting. I do believe the ending felt a bit rushed. As I said above, I would have loved to see Ari get her revenge on the Dragon King, or face off in a battle to the death match against Coletta. As always, I am impressed by the creativity of the author's world building. Even though Ari wasn't the overall focus of this book, she's still one of my favorite characters.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday #Review - Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen #YALit #Fantasy

Series: The Elementae # 1
Format: E-Book, 448 pages
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

With powerful magic, dangerously cunning royalty, and heart-stopping romance, this new sweeping fantasy series is perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir.

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate to end the violence. Willing to trade her freedom for peace, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bone Lands, a country where magic is outlawed and the Elementae—those that can control earth, air, fire and water—are traitors subject to torture . . . or worse.
Before she is even crowned, Shalia discovers that she can bend the earth to her will. Trapped between her husband's irrational hatred of the Elementae and a dangerous rebellion led by her own brother, Shalia's only chance to survive is to harness her power and make an impossible choice: save her family, save the Elementae, or save herself. Dramatic and richly drawn, this new series by the author of Scarlet will thrill fantasy fans.

Reign the Earth is the first installment in author A.C. Gaughen's The Elementae series. 17-year old Shalia is a daughter of the desert from the clan known as D'Dragyn. To ensure her families future, she agrees to an arranged marriage to Calix, the king of a neighboring country called Bonelands to keep the peace between the factions. Calix has made it his mission in life to hunt and kill Elementae (people with elemental magic) like Shalia's best friend Kata. 

Even though Shalia is warned by her best friend Kata that she herself is an Elementae, the warning is ignored for much of the story. Bad idea. Once her powers which are triggered by her emotions finally do appear, she will have no choice but to accept that her abilities are incredibly powerful. Now, Shalia must walk a delicate balance of deception and hope that she isn't betrayed by anyone which would lead to her death. At the same time, Shalia urges changes in the way things are done from her new husband.

Speaking of whom. Calix is truly the monster made from the myths of the most villainous bad guys ever. One can hate a villain and still love the overall story. This is that story. He truly believes that there is a prophecy that says an 
Elementae will one day end his life. The lengths Calix goes to snuff out every single Elementae might be a bit much for younger audiences. The lengths he treats Shalia, at times, is also a bit on the dark side. One can have thoughts and emotions on what Calix puts Shalia through, but facts are this is a different world where men don't see women as their partners but property to be misused and tossed away.  

On the other side of the story, there's Shalia's own family for whom she would sacrifice everything to save. Her brother Rain is a member of a rebel faction that continues
to fight against Calix. We don't get a whole lot of Rian; just enough to give you an idea about who he is and who else belongs to the resistance. Thankfully, there are others who do stand by Shalia. I already mentioned Kata who has a command over water and can heal. She is also responsible for a whole lot more which I won't spoil.

The other important secondary character is Shalia's brother Kairos who travels to the Bonelands to help keep her safe. Kairos is a chippy character who I actually liked a whole lot. There's no one going to get in his way of protecting his younger sister. He has no safety net when it comes to how hard he pushes Calix's buttons. Finally, there is Galen, Calix's brother and the commander of his army. Galen will become an important figure when all is said and done. I won't speak a whole lot about Galen. There are some good things, and some things that happen that lead to a seriously twisted cliffhanger ending.   

This book may not be for the feint of heart so I am warning you up front. There are unexpectedly dark situations that may not be suitable for younger audiences. There are situations with emotional abuse, physical abuse, torture, violence, and shocking deaths. I often refrain from trigger warnings because they are subliminal ways to shut down freedom of expression. So, here is your only warning. Reader beware.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday #Review - The Cruel Prince by Holly Black #YALit #Fantasy

Series: The Folk of the Air # 1
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Fiction / Dark Fantasy

By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him--and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

The Cruel Prince is the first installment in author Holly Black's The Folk of Air series. The Cruel Prince is a blend of Faerie and Fantasy. In this world, Fae are a mixture of horror and pleasure. As with The Darkest Part of the Forest, Black has returned to the genre that launched her YA career with a setting and cast of faerie characters, and successfully mixes her expertise with the tone of bestselling fantasies such as the A Court of Thorns and Roses, And I Darken, and Red Queen series. 

When she was 7 years old, Jude Duarte, her sister Taryn, and step sister Vivienne, watched as a man named Madoc showed up and murdered her parents. Madoc isn't just any man, however. He is a redcap general of some merit who has fought many wars in his time. The sisters found themselves being dragged into the land of Faerie where we find them 10 years later. For 10 years, Jude has strived to be more than a puny human whose life span is short next to those she not only lives with, but goes to school with.

Jude wants to be a knight to prove that even mortals are worthy of rising to the top of the ladder. When that path is closed to her, she reinvents herself into a person that is as cruel as any fae. Jude's time arrives when Prince Dain asks her to be his spy and puts a geas on her to never to reveal who she is working for, or what she is doing. Even in the face of danger and threats from magical, violent faeries, she holds her own and manages to find her own power. Jude's ends up belonging to a group known as the Court of Shadows which includes Roach, Bomb, and Ghost. Loved all three. 

There is nothing like a group of  anti-heroes fighting the good fight against even more nastier villains to peak my interest. As Jude is fighting off those who hate her guts and want to see her dead, she doesn't leave any room for how much she is willing to do and the things she is willing to go through in order to survive and make her home in Faerie where she will finally get the respect she wants. For Jude, her antagonist is Prince Carden. Let me briefly summarize my feelings for Carden.

He is the most arrogant, the most selfish, the most twisted, the most damaged, the most cruel, the most curious male character in this entire book. As the youngest in his family, he doesn't give two craps about who is in charge or who he offends as long as he is having fun. He just wants to drink, taunt everyone who is lower in rank them him, and party like it's 1999. He struts like a peacock while everyone is looking. His main target more times than not just happens to be Jude who doesn't back down but fights back. He's also got a curious side that ends up making the final chapters that much more entertaining.

So, while Vivienne is acting out in rebellion against her father and wanting to return to the mortal world, Taryn is being sneaky as a snake. We shall leave that right there because while I would love to speak my mind about Taryn. Taryn's behavior goes towards Jude's growth as a character and the choices she makes. Jude's relationship with the Court of Shadows and her unknown pull towards the Cruel Prince Caden grows. Can Jude keep her head attached while sifting through the politics of the Fae world? Or, will she just become yet another casualty? 

This book is, in a way, very cruel. There are twists galore, and you better be ready for anything to happen. The ending leaves you wanting to connect this book with Games of Thrones and the Red Wedding episode. Yep, it is that bloody. Those who are left standing, will have to put the pieces together in order to go forward. In Jude's case, everything she's done, lie, steal, murder, and become a leader all of her own, means selling her soul to the boy that may end up breaking her into pieces.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday #Review - Keeper by Kim Chance #YALit #Paranorml @_KimChance ‏

Series: Untitled # 1
Format: E-Book, 408 pages
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Flux Books/North Star Editions
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Wizards & Witches

When Lainey Styles, an SAT whiz and bookworm, discovers she’s a Keeper—a witch with the exclusive ability to wield a powerful spell book that has been stolen by a malevolent wizard—she is forced to leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.
When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother. After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic. With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.

Kim Chance's Keeper is her debut young adult novel in a yet to be named series. Lainey Styles is the main protagonist of this story. She is a bookworm and a nomad having moved 14 times in a brief 5 year period. Raised by her Uncle Gareth, Lainey is what most people would call a science nerd. As Lainey is preparing to take her SAT so that she can graduate early and get into a top level college of her choice, things slowly start to unravel. 

First, she sees a bloody woman after hearing her name called. Then, the bloody woman leaves a mark on her arm. As they say, magic always leaves a mark. What's more disturbing is that upon further research, the woman appears to be wearing the same pendant that her deceased mother once wore. The woman's name was Josephine, and she, like her own mother, were Keepers. Apparently, Lainey is now the last Keeper who can access a powerful spell book called Grimoire.

What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here? With the help of her comic-book-loving, adventure-hungry best friend Maggie who absolutely steals the show and keeps you in stitches, and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter named Tyler (Ty) Marek, Lainey must leave behind her life of books and studying to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book from the Master. 

There are two other people in Lainey's life who play important parts. Gareth, who raised her since her mother died, and Serena, a seer who is the first person to enlighten Lainey about her calling. Both made vows to keep Lainey safe and hidden until her Seventeen birthday when her powers would come active, and from those that serve the master, like Scavengers, can find her easily. Even though both Gareth & Serena kept major secrets from Lainey, I still can't fault them. 

I will reiterate my feelings about cliffhanger endings. I don't care for them. In Keeper's case, the last 20-30% of the story was by far the most entertaining, the most action packed, and the most troubling in regards to several of the secondary characters. It is filled with revelations, betrayal and life altering situations. Not only do readers meet the diabolical villain and his merry band of Guards, but the Hetaeria, who are rebellious Supernaturals fighting the Master, as well.

Chance also gives readers a back story on Josephine which is both enlightening and connects a whole lot of what happened in the past to what is happening with Lainey and her new role as Keeper. Shall I also mention that there's a whole lot of pop-culture references in this book? I’m talking comic book stories, television shows, and literally anything else you can nerd-out about. Thanks Maggie! I have searched the internet for information regarding a sequel. The author has apparently stated that this is not a standalone. Since the ending leaves a whole lot of unanswered questions, this is a good thing.