Review: White Heart of Justice by Jill Archer

, by Kt Clapsadl

White Heart of Justice by Jill Archer
Noon Onyx #3

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting...

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Noon has grown by leaps and bounds from where we first met her, almost to the point where she's almost unrecognizable in comparison. Gone is the whiny, insecure overall annoying girl, and in her place is this confident woman, not afraid to use her magic and fight for what she wants. It honestly was refreshing to see. There were several times throughout reading this book where I was cheering her on and wanted to give her around of applause. Funny thing was, this quest was by far her most daunting yet, but she never once faltered. So major kudos to you Ms. Archer for writing a heroine with incredible character growth!

Now as much as I did enjoy this book, there is a bit of a "Danger Will Robinson" warning I have to give. It looks like there's a love triangle well on its way. Since that's typically an annoyance of mine it's ironic that despite it's inclusion, this series has drastically turned around for me. But again, the main character's maturity level is one of the fastest ways to turn me off, so it's good that's resolved. This also helped things work well with the addition of this new love interest. Since Noon is so much more mature, I felt stronger about their potential than I ever had with her and Ari. But of course, things aren't exactly smooth, thus the love triangle statement. I'm not completely sure it's headed that way, but based on the way things ended, I have a good feeling it's all going to get messy. Only time will tell.

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE is the perfect example as to why I try and give series multiple chances before giving up. I had only rated the first two books two stars each, but this one easily earns a four from me. Don't get me wrong, the books weren't terrible, I just had some issues, but I had seen the spark of potential there. Granted in my review of the previous book I was largely frustrated and stated I wouldn't be continuing on, but the blurb for this one intrigued me so I figured one last shot was warranted, and after finishing, I'm glad I did. WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE pulls together all of the best elements from the first two books with none of the bad, making me a very happy reader.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     The Reading Cafe

Previous Books:
     1. Dark Light of Day
     2. Fiery Edge of Steel


Kirsten Reviews: Defender by Mike Shepherd

, by Kt Clapsadl

Defender by Mike Shepherd
Kris Longknife #11

Kris Longknife is back in the good graces of the brass—and to demonstrate that, they've promoted her to Admiral. Now her mission is to find the home base of the space pirates who are plaguing the fringes of the galaxy.

But no mission is ever simple when your name is Longknife. And this time the complications range from the military to the personal, as Kris finds herself—reluctantly—having to make some command decisions about her future...








Defender by Mike Shepherd is, for anybody looking to pick up the series, the eleventh book centering on Kris Longknife. That means new readers need to start at the beginning, because most of what happens in this book won’t have any emotional or storytelling payoff otherwise.

The short version is that Kris Longknife has gotten back in the good graces of the higher ups, and in the course of the first few chapters, the brass even promote her to Admiral. With renewed confidence in her abilities, she has been tasked with finding the hideout of the space pirates who are continuing to plague the edges of the galaxy. But, since this is a mission which includes Kris Longknife, there are complications, and she has to handle both military and personal issues, which naturally prevents this from being a simple matter of finding and capturing a bunch of pirates.

For any longtime readers of the series, there is a good bit of time spent in the beginning focusing on the relationship between Kris and Jack, but once that’s been covered, the story begins to pick up.

The solution to many of the problems of having a planet in a pre-industrial state, and then accelerating its growth to advancements in weaponry, factories, cities, and mining seems to be the use of smart metal, by default, which is awfully convenient.

Setting that issue aside, there are plenty of space battles for anyone who felt the other books were lacking in them, and more importantly, Kris is the one giving the orders this time. That means far more responsibility falls on her shoulders, and some of it is handled with more ease than other things.

The author’s comfort with the characters, and their evolution are evident, and will make anybody who’s stuck with the series up until now feel that character evolution, particularly that of Kris, has been well-earned. As is the case with a series, especially one that has lasted for so many books, numerous things are explained and some plot threads are tied up by the end of the book, while others are left hanging until the next book.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
     1. Mutineer
     2. Deserter
     3. Defiant
     4. Resolute
     5. Audacious
     6. Intrepid
     7. Undaunted
     8. Redoubtable
     9. Daring
     10. Furious


5/27 Select Releases & Giveaways

, by Kt Clapsadl


Whether you’re looking for a romance that makes you laugh, makes you ‘walk the plank’, keeps you guessing, or stars your favorite paranormal, look no further. Select books have the single-title stories you crave, and the longer length you need to really get ‘lost’ in a great book. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.


Today I'm happy to be featuring Select's May releases:


A Hornet Novel

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A Sanctify Novel

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Never show fear to a demon.

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Save the Dragons

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A week together could be
just the cure she needs...


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It's never the
same old song...


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Fall in love,
save some immortal souls,
break a curse...
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Early Review: A Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton

, by Kt Clapsadl

A Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton
Merry Gentry #9

I am Princess Meredith NicEssus. Legal name Meredith Gentry, because “Princess” looks so pretentious on a driver’s license. I was the first faerie princess born on American soil, but I wouldn't be the only one for much longer...

Merry Gentry, ex–private detective, now full-time princess, knew she was descended from fertility goddesses, but when she learned she was about to have triplets, she began to understand what that might mean. Infertility has plagued the high ranks of faerie for centuries. Now nobles of both courts of faerie are coming to court Merry and her men, at their home in exile in the Western Lands of Los Angeles, because they will do anything to have babies of their own.

Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, is a more dangerous problem. He tried to seduce Merry and, failing that, raped her. He’s using the human courts to sue for visitation rights, claiming that one of the babies is his. And though Merry knows she was already pregnant when he took her, she can’t prove it.

To save herself and her babies from Taranis she will use the most dangerous powers in all of faerie: a god of death, a warrior known as the Darkness, the Killing Frost, and a king of nightmares. They are her lovers, and her dearest loves, and they will face down the might of the high courts of faerie—while trying to keep the war from spreading to innocent humans in Los Angeles, who are in danger of becoming collateral damage.

My first thought when I heard about this book: "Finally, a new Merry book!" My last thought when finishing this book: "I wonder how long we'll have to wait until the next Merry book..." For some reason I had thought that since there was such a very long stretch between the last installment and this one that A SHIVER OF LIGHT would be the final installment and would wrap everything up in the series. No such luck, and I'm trying really hard not to let that sour my experience with book. I was really hoping for some resolution, but while things definitely moved forward on the personal front, the actual overall plot with faerie and the different factions honestly didn't change all that much. However, all of that being said I don't think any of this would have been a complaint at all if it had not have been for the long wait to get to this book, as the story moved a long well and there was more than enough going on with that personal front with Merry's babies and men and her court, and of course there was plenty of political stuff too, because how couldn't there be in a Merry book. So, now onward with things putting my wants aside...

Poor poor Merry. I honestly don't know how she does it. No one respects her except for her men, and yet they are some of the reason she is so looked down up. It doesn't seem to matter who it is, but everyone from fae to humans all sneer at her for one reason or another. While she does have moments where she breaks down and falls to pieces and it takes Frost and Doyle to comfort her through it, she always picks herself back up and continues on. She is amazingly strong and I just love how she doesn't back down from anything she believes in. It's both funny and awesome to watch her go all momma bear when one of the "elite" fae make negative comments about the lessor fae, especially one of her men. She truly is one of the most fair, yet ruthless rulers, and frankly incredibly admirable. If all of her opponents just paid even the slightest bit of attention to how much her people love her, well it would be a real eye opener for sure. But no, she's left with fear, elitism, and resentment to deal with and it just breaks my heart for her. But I guess that's the sign of a truly good book where challenges to the characters break the reader's heart right alongside them, and that's definitely the case here.

There's so much more I could say about this book, like how great it was to finally "meet" the babies, and see the fathers interact. There's also much to be said about the political machinations going on, and the way things ended, but all of that is better left alone for readers to enjoy themselves. So I'll end things by saying that the long awaited A SHIVER OF LIGHT doesn't disappoint and is an absolute must buy for all Merry fans out there.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
     1. A Kiss of Shadows
     2. A Caress of Twilight
     3. Seduced by Moonlight
     4. A Stroke of Midnight
     5. Mistral's Kiss
     6. A Lick of Frost
     7. Swallowing Darkness
     8. Divine Misdemeanors


Early Review: Dark Days by Kate Ormand

, by Kt Clapsadl

Dark Days by Kate Ormand

The future world has been divided into sectors--each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors' thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what's coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future.

Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she'll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.

They says be careful what you wish for, and I can't help feeling that saying applies to this book for me. So many times with Dystopian trilogies I've found myself thinking that things should have been condensed down into two books rather than dragging everything out. So when I saw that this was a dystopian standalone, I was admittedly excited to get my fix from this genre all in one setting without cliffhangers to worry about. Unfortunately, I think the book would have largely benefited by being stretched out into two books. Everything was so rushed along in order to keep it all in one book that I felt like only half of a story was being told and there were pieces missing everywhere. Nothing frustrates me more than when things aren't fully developed. So much happens in this book, yet I wasn't "involved" with any of it because it's just one thing to the next. There's no real substance behind it, which left me feeling less than satisfied. It's ironic because the short length of the book was what crippled it the most, but in the end was the biggest thing it had going for it, because if it had been any longer and kept up the same way, I doubt I would have continued reading past the first few chapters. But as it was, I knew that the book was short and a stand alone, so I might as well continue on hoping for it to turn around. Unfortunately it never did.

So as I said, things are all over the place and the plot is just one thing to the next, and frankly leaves a lot to be desired in the logic area. I mean if you really wanted to exterminate all of these communities why would you give so much notice. It makes no sense to me. Why not just grab out who you want to "save" and then get on with your awful plot. Sure, they played it off like they wanted to see how everyone behaved after this news to see if they were worthy, but honestly they've been told they will be brutally murdered by machines, I think a little crazy reaction is more than warranted even in the best of people. So there was a pretty big disconnect from the start there, but I was hoping once we got to the big reveal, it would all of a sudden make sense, but unfortunately that didn't happen and wound up feeling like a cookie cutter "bad guy" speech. Speaking of cookie cutter, that's a very apt description for Sia. I quite frankly can't think of one remarkable thing to say about her. Again, a lot of this goes back to the short length of the book which just didn't allow for much development in any area, but not being able to connect with the narrator is probably the biggest book killer for me.

As I'm reading back over this review I can't help feeling a bit sad. I wanted to like this book for so many reasons but it just wasn't meant to be I guess. Perhaps this one will appeal more to others, but for me, it's a pass.

(Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss)

Rating:





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Early Review: Ignited by Corrine Jackson

, by Kt Clapsadl

Ignited by Corrine Jackson
Sense Thieves #3

Nobody hides forever.

Ever since Remy O'Malley discovered her dual identity as a Healer and a Protector, she's kept alive by staying one step ahead of both sides in this centuries-old war. Now someone's trying to draw her out of hiding, using her kidnapped father as bait.

To save him, Remy will need every friend she's got. But as new alliances form, old bonds fray. Her boyfriend Asher is losing his powers, becoming more mortal every time she touches him. Meanwhile, Remy finds herself growing closer to Asher's brother Gabe, even as a family tragedy drives her sister Lucy farther away.

On a rescue mission to London, Remy decides she's tired of being the hunted. It's time to end this war once and for all, as Protectors and Healers alike hurtle towards a final, violent confrontation that not everyone will survive.

One of the best things about this series is both the world behind it and the progression the characters make as they navigate it. I love how every Remy thought she had things figured out, something new would come along or something would change throwing a wrench into things. Not only did this keep things interesting, but it only made me fall for Remy more as she continued to persevere and stand up for what she thought was right no matter the obstacle thrown in her path. And boy let me tell you there were some major obstacles this time around. Everything really came to a head, and I loved seeing it all come together one last time to blow things out of the park. 

I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles. When they do pop up in books, generally I'm loyal to a core, choosing the first guy and sticking to him throughout. However, that wasn't the case here as I feel head over heels for Asher's brother, Gabe in the previous book. After Asher dies, Remy and Gabe become very close and you can see how much he cares for her, but things never move past just "closeness" as Remy's still hurting so much from her loss. I understood that and loved Gabe all the more for not rushing things. But of course at the end the rug got ripped out from under me when it turned up Asher wasn't gone after all. Don't get me wrong, his death was devastating, but the author handled the healing and transition to Gabe so well that I wanted only Gabe for her. Unfortunately IGNITED opens up with the love triangle in full force as Remy and Asher try to reconcile who they were and who they are now, with Gabe mixed in there too, leaving me more than a little frustrated. It was painfully obvious things were more than over between the two of them, as Asher just couldn't cope with her making him human. Gabe on the other hand never once faltered, and I have to admit wanting to yell at Remy more than a few times to wake up and see. But don't get me wrong, I do think the whole situation was handled very very well from a writing stand point as it was very realistic and there wasn't any sudden changing of feelings. A definite win in my book.

It's always bittersweet to say goodbye to a series I've loved, but I do enjoy it when that series ends with a good send out. One where you close the book on a sigh of contentment, and that definitely was the case here. Would I have wanted more from this series and world? Sure, as it's really well written and the characters suck you right in. But despite my wish for more, I'm very satisfied with the way things turned out and want to give the author major kudos for doing a great job pleasing this very hard to satisfy with endings reader. Two thumbs up, you won't want to miss this one!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
     1. Touched
     2. Pushed

Early Review: End Times by Anna Schumacher

, by Kt Clapsadl

End Times by Anna Schumacher
End Times #1

Carbon County, Wyoming is like a current running through Daphne’s heart.

When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.

Daphne landed in Carbon County for a reason. She only has to read the signs—and believe.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this one. On one hand, it kept my attention and read very quickly. In fact I finished in one afternoon as the family fished along the bank. However, there just didn't seem to be any real substance despite keeping my attention. The characters were a bit wooden and slightly off, almost as if they were mostly fleshed out, but not quite. And then the plot, well there didn't really seem to be a clear cut one honestly. The story just kinda meanders around, and then at the end there are attempts to tie everything together, but again, it just felt a bit... off. Then when you add in the almost zealot religious aspects and I was left scratching my head at some points. Look don't get me wrong, I realize that there have to be some towns that take their religion really really serious like this, and revolve a lot around it, but this case was just a bit over the top. Everything somehow was a sign from God be it good or bad, and quite frankly it was a bit too much for me. I think everyone has a right to believe what and how they want, but this just was overboard in my opinion as they seemed to continually throw reason out the door for the sake of religion and that just isn't my cup o tea.

Getting further into the characters, this story rotates through several perspectives, and while they all seemed to be missing a bit of something in my opinion, I will say that each one did have a very unique voice. Daphne was incredibly strong, yet broken due to what she went through prior to and during this story. Her being standoffish to men was completely understandable because of that. What threw me though was her instant and fierce attraction to Owen. It just seemed forced, almost as if it was decided there must be a love interest, so hey, let's make this guy work. This false nature especially held true at the end when certain plot lines are revealed, and once again I'm left scratching my head. Owen on the other hand had no such issues with relationships etc, so it was natural for him to be attracted to Daphne, but again there was a wrench thrown into things when he tried to push things too fast. Once again I was thrown out of the story as it didn't quite jive. 

When I first finished reading END TIMES, I rated it a three as I figured despite my frustrations, as I said, it did keep my attention. But now that I've put my thoughts all together in this review, I realize a three is a bit high. I'm not saying it's a terrible book, but it definitely was missing a good bit that kept me from fully enjoying the read. If any one of my issues had of been corrected, I think this could have been a much better read honestly as it had all of the components, they just weren't quite there. I'm not opposed to giving the second book a shot, if nothing more out of curiosity for what comes yet, but it probably won't be on my most anticipated list. Still all in all, if you don't mind a slower moving book that heavily revolves around religion, this one may be worth a shot. 

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Kirsten Reviews: A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda

, by Kt Clapsadl

A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda
Night's Edge #1

The village of Marrowdell is an isolated pioneer community, but it is also the place where two worlds overlap, and at the turn of light--sunset--the world of magic known as the Verge can briefly be seen.

Jenn Nalynn belongs to both Verge and Marrowdell, but even she doesn't know how special she is--or that her invisible friend Wisp is actually a dragon sent to guard her... and keep her from leaving the valley. But Jenn longs to see the world, and thinking that a husband will help her reach this goal, she decides to create one using spells. Of course, everything goes awry, and suddenly her "invisible friend" has been transformed into a man. But he is not the only newcomer to Marrowdell, and far from the most dangerous of those who are suddenly finding their way to the valley...


A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda is the first in her Night’s Edge series, and is a heavyweight, both in terms of length and the worldbuilding done in order to establish this universe.

Marrowdell is an isolated village, and the site of an overlap between two worlds. In Marrowdell, magic is simply another part of life, and the audience slowly realizes how different their life is in a series of small touches that make it clear, but not overdone. The book’s protagonist, Jenn Nalynn is a part of both Marrowdell and the Verge, a world of magic, but as is the case in many fantasy stories, she is unaware of her own importance. In fact, she doesn’t even know that her invisible friend Wisp, is a dragon tasked with keeping her safe, and preventing her from ever leaving the valley.

But Jenn, wanting to see the world, makes up her mind that if having a husband might help accomplish her goal, she'll make one herself. Then, things go slightly wonky, and her formerly invisible friend is suddenly a man. However, there are more strangers coming to Marrowdell, and not all of them are friendly.

This book is not a quick, or light read, as there is quite a bit of plot to set up and several worlds in need of careful construction. For this reason, the pacing is quite leisurely, and readers who are impatient for a story to get moving will be frustrated by this book.

Also worth noting is the fact that the audience is aware of very nearly everything going on, while characters are ignorant or oblivious to what’s happening. This may become tiresome for readers who figure out very quickly where the story is going and prefer to have more twists in their fantasy stories. But, for those who are more interested in fantastic beasts, a village that is a character in and of itself, and magic, this book will be worth settling in to savor.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Early Review: The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz
Dark World #1

Paige Kelly is used to weird--in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn't fazed by Paige's propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she'll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that's overrun by demons-and she might never make it home.




The world building behind The Dark World was interesting and somewhat complex. It definitely kept me on my toes as I was trying to figure everything out. While I did guess some things ahead of time,  other caught me off guard, making for the perfect blend of suspense in my book. I especially enjoyed how this book is quite different than most of the paranormal YAs out there. It gave me something new and fresh to read, and I loved it for that alone, nevertheless all the other things that drew me in, like the fabulous cast of characters. I loved how they, just like this world were very unique and fully fleshed out. It certainly made for an enjoyable read.

I loved, loved, loved the slower build of the romance between Paige and Logan. Sure, it's still pretty fast, but compared to many similar books in the genre, it moved at almost a turtle's pace. This allowed me to attach more to the two of them together so much more than an instalove would have. So when roadblocks came into play, I felt the pain and angst right along with them. While I won't spoil things, I will say that by the end this better attachment to the characters and their romance became very important. So that when the whopper of an ending came into play and a certain character makes a huge life changing choice, it didn't lead to an eye roll from me. A definite win in my book.

I enjoy Cara's Spellbound series, but this one steps it up a notch for me. The characterization, world building and romance have only gotten better, and I love getting to see an author grow like this. I'll definitely be on the look out for the next book in the series after that ending, and frankly anything else Cara writes will more than likely be on my radar as well. So if you are looking for a fresh read and a good book to escape into for an afternoon, look no further than THE DARK WORLD.

(Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley)

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