Review: Lifeblood by Gena Showalter

, by Kt Clapsadl

Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
Everlife #2

My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.

I have to admit while I still really enjoy the concept behind this series, Ten's character made this a struggle for me. To be honest, Ten bothered me in the first book as well, but I chalked it up to being a new series and all the growing pains involved with that. I had hoped since she finally made her big decision by the end of the last book, she'd be less wishy-washy. Unfortunately, I think she was actually worse in this book now that she's chosen a side, but her romantic interest is on the opposite warring side. I can't count the number of times I growled in frustration at her actions and choices. It just made it hard to fully enjoy the book when I spent most of the time annoyed at the main character.

That being said, I did find myself looking past those main character frustrations and enjoying the rest of the characters as well as the very fascinating world. I feel like I had a better grip of the various elements at play this time. Sure it's at its core a story about good vs evil, but it's told in an incredibly interesting way, with no clear answers to who is really good and who is really bad. Both sides had their pluses and minus, with Troika admittedly seeming more the *good* side. The dynamic between humans and the two afterlife warring sides are incredibly fascinating and should only get more so as things progress.

Main character woes aside, LIFEBLOOD was an intriguing read that added new depth to this rich series that I overall enjoyed. It will be great to see how things turn out next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     (un)Convntional Book Views
     Shell's Stories
     Under the Covers Book Blog

Previous Books:
     1. Firstlife

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Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

, by Kt Clapsadl

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
The Others #5

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

ETCHED IN BONE was an utter treat. I have to admit while all the happenings in previous books centering around the major changes in the world were interesting and gripping, I missed the lesser focus on the Courtyard and Meg/Simon. They've had a very slow burn building up in a romance and I really appreciate how it was all woven together in ETCHED IN BONE. The slower pacing allowed for much more character focus this time around and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Don't get me wrong, there's no massive movement in said romance department, but enough that it satisfied my inner romantic, while still staying true to the characters. Very well done!

The first half of this book felt like the aftermath of a storm, a storm in the name of claw and teeth. So while the first half doesn't have much action, it paves the way for how everyone is going to adjust to the new ways, and it was enjoyable to watch them all trying and figure things out. Even more interesting, we get a more personal look into the claws and teeth. You can imagine how well their direct interaction with the courtyard turned out, leading to both some very tense moments and also strangely hilarious ones as well. 

That being said, while the first half or so of the book was about new beginnings, the second half took off with a massive bang. Things literally hit the fan, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I found the balance between the various pacings to be incredibly well done, with just the right amount of character focus, yet also adding in intense plot points to thrill. 

All in all this was a very good somewhat ending to a much loved series. The author has announced she'll be back to this world in the future. But for now, I'm more than satisfied with how everything played out. It was a perfectly fitting goodbye, and I know I'll be back to re-read this series again!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Between Dreams and Reality
     My Guilty Obsession
     Just Read

Previous Books:
     1. Written in Red
     2. Murder of Crows
     3. Vision in Silver
     4. Marked in Flesh

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Early Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

, by Kt Clapsadl

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson #10

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy's bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she'll learn what it truly means to be alone...

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

I had a lot of fun while reading SILENCE FALLEN. The author gives fair warning at the start to pay attention to Mercy’s notes at the start of the chapters, and that the timeline would be less than linear. This back and forth in the timeline made the book even more interesting in my opinion. Rather than detracting from the story, it added an interesting element to see how it all panned out. Very fun!

I’ll keep things vague to avoid spoilers, but I have to talk about my absolute favorite part of this book. There’s one hell of a twist near the end of MERCY BOOK that is simply utter perfection. I was thoroughly enjoying every moment while reading, especially all of Mercy’s penchant for trouble, but once we got to the twist part, I literally cheered out loud, disturbing my husband in his sleep in the wee hours of the morning. It just answered a long running question/issue for me with the series, and I couldn’t adore the author possibly any more for her choice in this matter. In fact, this twist was so incredible that as soon as I finished the book, I already made plans to start a re-read the next evening in order to catch all the clues that had been leading up to that incredible twist. If it says anything about the quality of this book, it was even better the second time.

I adore each and every Mercy book, but this one? It simply blew it out of the park for me. This book proves once and for all the Mercy series is by far one of the best there is. Run, do not walk, and get this book immediately!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Books Over Coffee
     Just Read
     SnoopyDoo's Book Review

Previous Books:
     1. Moon Called
     2. Blood Bound
     3. Iron Kissed
     4. Bone Crossed
     5. Silver Borne
     6. River Marked
     7. Frost Burned
     8. Night Broken
     9. Fire Touched
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Release Day Review: The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine
Ravenspire #2

An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

I really enjoyed THE WISH GRANTER! Honestly it was a bit of a surprise for me as Rumplestiltskin never really was my favorite fairy tale, but the author has won me over with this retelling. I was fully hooked from page one until the very end. Not one moment felt slow or lagging, which is rather impressive as it's decent sized book. Sure it's not action, action, action the entire time, but there's plenty of time spent building the characters and the story. 

I especially enjoyed seeing how much Ari grew from the start until the end. In the beginning she's uncomfortable in her newfound princess skin, and it really shows. But as time goes on, while she'll never be a traditional princess (NOT a bad thing) she does truly start to find her way. Navigating court politics is tricky enough, without even adding in their troubles with the Wish Granter. Speaking of character growth, Sebastian, the love interest grew an incredible amount as well. He truly was rather admirable, and honestly the perfect match for the new found princess.

All in all, THE WISH GRANTER was a very enjoyable retelling, that kept me hooked from the start. C.J. Redwine is two for two in this fantastic series, and I can't wait to see what fairy tale she'll tackle next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     The Eater of Books!
     Quite the Novel Idea

Previous Books:
     1. The Shadow Queen

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Kirsten Reviews: Feedback by Mira Grant

, by Kt Clapsadl

Feedback by Mira Grant
Newsflesh #4

FEEDBACK is a full-length Newsflesh novel which overlaps the events of New York Times bestseller Mira Grant's classic Feed and follows a group of reporters covering the Democratic side of the Presidential campaign.

There are two sides to every story...

Mira Grant creates a chilling portrait of an America paralyzed with fear. No street is safe and entire swaths of the country have been abandoned. And only the brave, the determined, or the very stupid, venture out into the wild.

Step inside a world a half-step from our own in this novel of geeks, zombies, politics and social media.

Feedback by Mira Grant, aka Seanan McGuire is the fourth book in the Newsflesh series and picks up the story with an entirely new cast of characters.This isn’t the place for new readers of the series to start, as there are spoilers for other books, but it does connect with previous events, from a fresh perspective.

Following the Rising, there’s been a shift in journalism, that being, it’s now done through blogging. Aislinn, Audrey, Benjamin, and Matt are housemates who all happen to be bloggers. They cover different industries, from makeup to news and fiction. Events start to move quickly when they’re picked to cover the campaign of Susan Kilburn, the blue pantsuit-wearing Democratic presidential candidate. Covering the Republican nominee are the Masons, who readers will remember from Feed.

Of course, no presidential campaign has ever run smoothly, and a zombie outbreak is the kind of disruption that makes more than a few headlines. On top of that, there’s a bigger conspiracy at work, and the bloggers soon find themselves targeted for uncovering and telling the truth.

For anyone who wants to be up to date on the series and the world, start at the beginning of the series, but anyone who doesn’t mind potential spoilers can pick it up here and enjoy a story full of zombies, journalism, and an interesting cast of characters trying to report the news and stay alive.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     Hot Listens
     Brad K. Horner

Previous Books:
     1. Feed
     2. Deadline
     3. Blackout

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Early Review: The Turn by Kim Harrison

, by Kt Clapsadl

Early Review: The Turn by Kim Harrison
The Hollows #0.1

Can science save us when all else fails?

Trisk and her hated rival, Kalamack, have the same goal: save their species from extinction.
Death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government's new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague takes the world, giving the paranormal species an uncomfortable choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or to show themselves in a bid to save them.

Under accusations of scientific misconduct, Trisk and Kal flee across a plague torn United States to convince leaders of the major paranormal species to save their supposedly weaker kin, but not everyone thinks humanity should be saved.

Kal surreptitiously works against her as Trisk fights the prejudices of two societies to prove that not only does humanity have something to offer, but that long-accepted beliefs against women, dark magic, and humanity itself can turn to understanding; that when people are at their worst that the best show their true strength, and that love can hold the world together as a new balance is found.

Oh. My. Goodness. THE TURN was so incredibly good, I'm going to have a very hard time writing this review without overly gushing like an utter fan girl. This book is everything I've been missing without my latest hollows fix. I have to admit I wasn't sure a prequel could live up to the epicness of Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, and Trent, but oh it does. Trisk is fierce and incredibly determined, but an outcast setting her up to be the obvious favorite, and Kal is a privileged slimeball to say the least making me loathe him at times. However, what made this a truly standout read is that neither character fits fully into those good/bad labels. There's just so much more to either of them, but I won't spoil things, just suffice it to say there's MUCH more than first meets the eye with both of them.

Now onto the plot, which while I knew what the outcome of THE TURN would be, the journey was a pleasant surprise every step of the way. I really enjoyed seeing how everything unfolded and honestly now I want to go back and re-read the entire series to see if some of the details in this book were hinted at in the original books. It definitely won't be a hardship. :)

I have searched everywhere to see if this prequel is a standalone, or the start of a new early Hollow series, but I can't find any info. I truly hope it's the latter because this book was utterly fantastic and I want so much more. Simply put, THE TURN was everything I had hoped for, just an utter treat. Fans of the Hollows should have this on their auto buy list pronto!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Between Dreams and Reality
     Tome Tender
     Hidden in Pages

Previous Books:
     1. Dead Witch Walking
     2. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
     3. Every Which Way But Dead
     4. A Fistful of Charms
     5. For a Few Demons More
     6. The Outlaw Demon Wails
     7. White Witch, Black Curse
     8. Back Magic Sanction
     9. Pale Demon
     10. A Perfect Blood
     11. Ever After
     12. The Undead Pool
     13. The Witch with No Name

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Blog Tour Release Day Review: The Ghoul Vendetta by Lisa Shearin

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Ghoul Vendetta by Lisa Shearin
SPI Files #4

Men in Black meets Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum in the fourth urban fantasy novel in the series starring seer Makenna Fraser and her fellow agents at Supernatural Protection & Investigation.

The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) are paid to keep the peace. But that’s not so easy when an endless evil threatens to tear that peace to pieces...

A vampire gangster’s nephew is abducted off his yacht by a bunch of low-rent Creatures from the Black Lagoon. A slew of banks are knocked over by what looks like the cast of Night of the Living Dead. All of this may seem like the movies, but, I promise you, it’s not.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI, and I know the culprits aren’t wearing disguises or makeup. They’re real. Deadly real. Especially their leader—an ancient shapeshifter who leaves a trail of chaos and blood in his wake. Now, he’s taken my partner, Ian—and his intentions aren’t pretty.

The worst part? This is only the beginning...

The beginning of the end of the human race.

This series is so much fun, I absolutely love it. Each book is a solid block of entertainment and THE GHOUL VENDETTA was no exception. There's so much humor between the phenomenal cast of characters despite all the very dark things they have to deal with. This time around was a doozy, and yet the story never once lost that sense of levity that I truly enjoy about it. Mac is fierce, but in a focused little engine that could type of way rather than your typical take no prisoners heroine. Her self deprecating humor mixed in with her determination to serve and protect is a breath of fresh air. You honestly never know what she's going to do next, but somehow she always comes out on top in the strangest of ways. She's unpredictable and admirable, and I just adore her for it. The rest of the characters are honestly top notch as well. From Mac's partner Ian, who is the definition of the perfect supernatural cop, to her mischievous lover, Rake, who is still a mystery, but oh so yummy, and to the rest of the SPI crew, simply fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic, man was the plot behind THE GHOUL VENDETTA one heck of a roller coaster ride. I read this book in one setting because I simply couldn't put it down. With each new release, Lisa Shearin has upped her game and brought higher stakes and bigger character developments, but this one takes the cake. Perhaps it's due to the fact that it hits very close to home for the SPI crew, but it just felt so much more intense. I won't spoil things, but trust me when I say you'll be on the edge of your seat while reading this one!

I couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable read. I truly hope there are many more books in this fantastic series to come!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Previous Books:
     1. The Grendel Affair
     2. The Dragon Conspiracy
     3. The Brimstone Defection

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Kirsten Reviews: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

, by Kt Clapsadl

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Sorcerer Royal #1

Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho begins the Sorcerer Royal series slowly, but the book soon picks up and the series should be well-received if it’s as funny and fast-moving as it starts off to be.
Zacharias Wythe is a freed slave and an exceptionally good magician as well as being the Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations in all of Britain. In spite of this, he is constantly dealing with the insults, bigotry, and even threats on his life leveled at him by the “best” of upper English society. At the same time, Zacharias is not without his own prejudices, as he thinks that women are simply too fragile to handle the raw power of magic - that is until he meets one Prunella Gentleman, a powerful young woman who soon changes his mind, even as she turns his head.

Meanwhile, England’s magical stocks are dwindling, there are powerful witches and others interested in taking advantage of any perceived weakness, and things soon get very exciting, or dangerous, if not both and Zacharias and Prunella have no need to look for trouble, as it’s probably chasing them.

There’s a lot going on in the writing as well as the world-building, and stylistically, this book has a bit of Austen, a dash of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and even some of Georgette Heyer. All of these comparisons are valid, but the book manages to balance all of that nicely. The story is therefore easily read by anyone who isn’t a huge fan of historical fiction and might otherwise be put off by it, here there’s as much modernity as one can get away with while not ignoring the time period.

Although the book moves rather carefully at first, its pace accelerates to keep things lively and bring all the plotting to an ending that leaves one intrigued at where the story will go in further books.
(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     Rabid Reads
     The Bibliosanctum
     Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Books

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Review: Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill

, by Kt Clapsadl

Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill
Chicagoland Vampires #12.5

In this all-new novella from the New York Times bestselling author of Midnight Marked, Merit, Ethan, and the rest of Cadogan House crew discover that not all undead creatures are kindred spirits…

Vampires generally aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, but Merit and Ethan are extra jumpy after a recent attack by a dark sorcerer. So when they learn that someone is messing with graves in Chicago’s cemeteries, stealing skulls and snatching souls, they fear that their powerful foe might be back for even more magical vengeance.

But after a specter begins haunting Cadogan House—and targeting vampires—they realize that they're being taunted by an altogether different sort of monster. A ghoulish villain straight out of the Windy City’s urban legends is on the prowl—and he won’t stop until he’s killed again...

I cannot believe this series is almost over! This novella is perfect for fans like me, who are just not ready to say goodbye to these awesome characters. It's a very quick read, but in true Chicagoland style, PHANTOM KISS is action packed and a lot of fun from start to finish. There's just something about these characters that keeps me begging for more. This time around a ghost is at the helm of the trouble which made for an interesting read, but it was the extra time spent with Ethan and Merit's relationship that I enjoyed even more. I really enjoy the two of them together, and sometimes the frantic pacing of the main books overshadows their relationship, so it was a definite treat to have more focus on them in this novella. Fans of the series will be more than pleased with this fantastic novella!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Goldilox and the Three Weres
     a GREAT read
     Fangs for the Fantasy

Previous Books:
     1. Some Girls Bite
     2. Friday Night Bites
     3. Twice Bitten
     4. Hard Bitten
     5. Drink Deep
     6. Biting Cold
     7. House Rules
     8. Biting Bad
     9. Wild Things
     10. Blood Games
     10.5. Lucky Break
     11. Dark Debt
     12. Midnight Marked

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Kirsten Reviews: Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen

, by Kt Clapsadl

Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen
The Shadow #2

Monsters, magic and the supernatural combine in this sequel to Wake of Vultures, in which a young woman must defeat the evil hiding beneath the surface.

Nettie Lonesome made a leap -- not knowing what she'd become. But now the destiny of the Shadow is calling.
A powerful alchemist is leaving a trail of dead across the prairie. And the Shadow must face the ultimate challenge: side with her friends and the badge on her chest or take off alone on the dangerous mission pulling her inexorably toward the fight of her life.

When it comes to monsters and men, the world isn't black and white. What good are two wings and a gun when your enemy can command a conspiracy of ravens?

Conspiracy of Ravens continues the exciting journey begun in Wake of Vultures as Nettie Lonesome discovers that she, and the world, are more than what they seem.

Conspiracy of Ravens is the second installment in author Lila Bowen (aka Delilah S. Dawson's) The Shadow series. The book picks up right where Wake of Vultures left off.

Nettie Lonesome had just realized that she could choose to be who she wants to be, that being transform into both a boy and a giant bird. She jumps off a cliff in order to literally spread her wings, lands as Rhett Hennessy and soon finds another shapeshifter named Earl O’Bannon.

At first there is some antagonism between the two of them, but Earl does tell Rhett a few things, including the fact that there is a railroad owner by the name of Trevisan who likes to cut limbs off monsters that he employs in order to use them in magic rituals. Whether the protagonist be Nettie or Rhett, as the Shadow, they share a stubborn streak that can get them into trouble at times.

Rhett decides that Earl’s story should be investigated and so takes him to the Durango rangers. Along the way, Earl assists Rhett in gaining more insight into his transformation and helps him learn how to remember what he sees as a bird after he changes form back into a man.

Going to see the Rangers gives readers the opportunity to catch up with a few characters from the previous book including Sam, the Coyote siblings Dan and Winifred, and The Captain. The Rangers have taken a commission to hunt down Sand Wyrms and this job will take them far away from Earl and Rhett’s destination. Rhett has to choose between going with the Rangers or act as The Shadow and follow the pull to track down the danger Earl has told him about. Winifred, Sam, and Dan decide to come along with Rhett and Earl and they make quite the troupe of characters.

While Rhett might want to burst into Trevisan’s camp and break up whatever evil scheme is playing out, that’s not the right move and it wouldn’t be as enjoyable as what does happen. The group works together to learn more about Bernard Trevisan, the way he runs his railroad camp, the horrible way he treats his workers as little better than dumb beasts to be used as labor until they give up, and the dynamics between the characters work well. Rhett has learned more about himself and continues to figure out how to use his abilities while also facing a few setbacks throughout the book which help him continue to mature.

The blend of fantasy and western elements give this series a lot of directions to explore and further adventures should continue to give it more depth.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Tenacious Reader
     The Tattooed Book Geek
     Shelf Quest

Previous Books:
     1. Wake of Vultures

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