Early Review: Fireborn by Keri Arthur

, by Kt Clapsadl

Fireborn by Keri Arthur
Souls of Fire #1

From New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur comes a brand new series featuring heroine Emberly Pearson—a phoenix capable of taking on human form, and cursed with the ability to foresee death…

Emberly has spent a good number of her many lives trying to save humans. So when her prophetic dreams reveal the death of Sam, a man she once loved, she does everything in her power to prevent that from happening. But in saving his life, she gets more than she bargained for.

Sam is working undercover for the Paranormal Investigations Team, and those who are trying to murder him are actually humans infected by a plague-like virus, the Crimson Death—a by-product of a failed government experiment that attempted to identify the enzymes that make vampires immortal. Now, all those infected must be eliminated.

But when Emberly’s boss is murdered and his irreplaceable research stolen, she needs to find the guilty party before she goes down in flames…

Can I just start off by saying I absolutely love Keri Arthur's books. There's just something about them that really works for me. In fact, I've re-read her Riley series several times, they are that good. So, you can imagine just how excited I was to see a brand new series coming from her. And a phoenix to boot? Well, there just wasn't a chance I wouldn't be reading this book. So bear in mind that I'm more than a little biased. So that being said, I had very high hopes for FIREBORN, and I'm happy to say that it more than lived up to my expectations. 

I absolutely adored Emberly. She's so strong yet incredibly vulnerable at the same time. Her life is incredible and extraordinary in her abilities, but they come at a very steep price. The curse phoenixes are under are harsh and frankly staggering. To be bonded to another with your very existence dependent upon them yet be unable to love them is just utterly heartbreaking. And the fact that they fall in love with someone outside of their fated partner each life cycle, yet cursed for that love to end badly, is just cruel in my opinion. And yet through it all Emberly stays strong and continues to push on. There were several times throughout where it would have been so easy to walk away from the circumstances she had been forced into, but she doesn't and I loved her for it. I also loved the dynamic she had going with her life mate, Rory, and despite the lack of romantic love, they loved each other all the same, and somehow that made all of the other romantic mess easier to bear.

Of course after all this gushing, you may be wondering why I didn't rate this a 5 if I loved it so much. That's mostly due to giving the series a bit of room to grow, but also the frustration that comes from starting a new series and having to learn that new world and all the frustration that goes with that. I will say that Keri handled things mostly well in this department, but I think I would have preferred just a bit more world building or explanation as even after finishing this first book, I feel a bit muddy about what's going on. I'm sure it will build over time and after several installments are out, and I have more knowledge, this will be a 5 star re-read, but for the first time through to be fair, I just can't quite give it the highest marks. Putting that slower world building aside, FIREBORN is an excellent star to a fresh new urban fantasy series that will please fans of the genre and Keri's writing alike. This one will definitely be staying on my keeper shelf!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:



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Review: Pia Saves the Day by Thea Harrison

, by Kt Clapsadl

Pia Saves the Day by Thea Harrison
Elder Races #6.6


In the latest story of the Elder Races, two mates face their deadliest challenge yet—each other…

Pia and Dragos’s magical young son Liam (the Peanut), is growing at an unprecedented rate, and if that isn’t enough, he is also exhibiting new, and unpredictable, magical gifts. To protect him, the concerned parents decide to move to upstate New York.

Both Dragos and Pia relish the idea of leaving behind the city. They finally have the space to indulge their Wyr side, and Liam can grow in safety. It’s a breath of fresh air—literally—but their idyllic situation is shattered when Dragos is injured in a freak accident.

Stripped of his memory and bereft of Pia’s taming influence, there’s nothing holding back Dragos’s darkest side. And in order to restore her family and save her mate, Pia must confront the most powerful menace in Elder Races history.

It’s going to take more than a penny to fix this…

When I finished this novella, I was left scratching my head just a bit as things were anything but settled, and typically with outtakes like this there aren't any huge game changers. Only, in this case there was, and that caught me off guard and probably would have upset me if it had not of been for the note from the author about the third book in this mini out-take series. Hopefully that will bring a little more resolution to things.

Getting more into the actual story, I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan of the amnesia trope, so that did lessen my enjoyment of this novella just a bit. That being said, as it was Dragos and Pia, it wasn't too hard to overlook as I love seeing them together, and this gave a nice throwback to the initial tension and massive push/pull between them. Just when I thought there couldn't be any risks or danger to their relationship, this huge wrench was thrown into things, and I love how Thea keeps the readers from becoming complacent. I can honestly say I never know what to expect next in this series, and I love it.

I haven't read anything from Thea Harrison that I haven't enjoyed, and Pia Saves the Day is no exception to that. I highly recommend this to any Pia and Dragos fans, trust me you won't want to miss this.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:



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Other Reviews:
     Bodice Rippers, Femme Fatales and Fantasy
     Tome Tender
   
Previous Books:
     1. Dragon Bound
     2. Storm's Heart
     3. Serpent's Kiss
     4. Oracle's Moon
     5. Lord's Fall
     6. Kinked
     6.5. Dragos Takes a Holiday

Select 6/24 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 June releases:



Queen of Wands by Katee Robert

Available in Print and Digital!


Never in Mac Flannery’s wildest dreams did he imagine Jenny O'Keirna would be the one sent for him. He sees beyond the mad grin the sexy princess of Hansarda presents to the world, and that combination of vulnerability and wicked humor is a siren call he can’t resist. But Sanctify is after them. On the run—and unable to keep their hands off each other—Jenny and Mac devise an insane plan: kidnap the leader of Sanctify, and stop this war once and for all. Unfortunately, they’ve just played right into his hands…


Giveaway


Crimson Hearts by Heather McCollum

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Highland warrior Searc Munro's dark, killing magic must never be known. But when his father’s life is threatened, Searc’s secret is revealed. When Elena Seymour's lineage as the illegitimate daughter of King Henry VIII is discovered, she runs for her life. Teaming up as exiles, Elena and Searc seek refuge in Edinburg. With a series of ritual killings haunting the city and a traitor attempting to assassinate Scotland’s regent, suspicion turns to Searc. Now the two must find a way to trust each other, despite their secrets, before it’s too late.



By Jove by Marissa Doyle

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Going back to graduate school to study ancient languages and mythology is a dream come true for Theodora Fairchild. Falling in love with Grant Proctor is an added bonus. But then Theo discovers that being chosen for the prestigious program has more to do with who she is than what she knows. When evil forces threaten Grant’s life in an effort to tear the two apart, Theo must rely on her wits and wisdom to save her true love and survive the semester.




Curse of the Phoenix Bundle by Rachel Firasek

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Book One: The Last Rising

Saving souls without any hope for her own redemption isn’t how Phoenix Ice imagined spending eternity. Fed up, she decides her next death will be her last. But when she sacrifices her own life for a sexy Texan in a catastrophic plane crash, she has no idea the consequences will be so great. When the mysterious Ice comes into Turner Alcott's life, he knows she’s the one. If he wants to win her heart, Turner must teach Ice how to forgive herself, and prove that love is the ultimate sacrifice.

Book Two: The Last Awakening

Ex-soldier Greyson Meadows desperately wants to be freed from the nightmares and guilt that haunt him. Arabella's been gifted her mortality and long-gone voodoo magic. She must save her next soul within a week without using magic, or she’ll lose her power forever. When Greyson is confronted by a waif of a woman who forces him to face the truth about his past, he runs fast and hard. Now one will have to give up everything so the other can have peace, but will love’s magic withstand the loss?

Book Three: The Last Beginning

Though she’s always hated being a phoenix, Sadie has to admit immortality has its advantages. She’s seen and done more in the last 150 years than she’d ever dreamed of, but she can’t get past the fact that Osiris has done nothing but manipulate her and her fellow phoenixes. Sun god Osiris is ashamed of his role as ruler of the Underworld, but unless he can figure out how to save Sadie, that’s exactly where she’s going to end up. Permanently. He'll help her the only way he can—even if it means she’ll hate him forever.


Rebel Nation Blog Tour

, by Kt Clapsadl



*Where did you get the inspiration for the Viral Nation series?

Hmm...a couple of places. First, I was inspired by my two oldest kids to write a story about autism, and about the relationship between siblings when one has a disability. When I was writing Viral Nation, in 2009, a bunch of bad stuff was happening all at once. The US economy was tanking, everyone was terrified of the pig flu or the bird flu or both, no one could find a job, wars were raging. I started to wonder what would happen if just one of those things went to its worse case scenario—I went with virus, and Viral Nation was born.

*How many books do you have planned in the series? Any hints you can give us for what's in store next?

There will be one more book in this series. The second in the trilogy, Rebel Nation, comes out on July 1 of course, which I'm super excited about! I'll also be releasing a prequel novella as an e-book in the next couple of months. Follow me on Twitter (@shauntagrimes) for updates. The novella is a story about the start of the Bad Times told through the point of view of Leanne Wood, who becomes Clover's trainer.

*If your books were to be made into a movie, who would be your top picks for the cast?

I'm not a very visual person, so it's hard for me to answer this one. If Viral Nation and Rebel Nation were ever made into movies, I think I'd be so excited, it wouldn't matter to me at all who they cast. I think it would be cool if someone who really does have autism was cast as Clover, though.

*Could you tell us a little about the ups and downs you have experienced in publishing?

Even the downs are ups, if that makes sense. Writing books is my dream job. I love working with an experienced, talented editor, copy editor, design team. Sure, there a few frustrations, but even when something doesn't go exactly how I wanted it to or hoped it would, it's completely overwhelmed by the incredible joy of being able to do what I love as an actual job someone's willing to pay me for.

*What are some of your favorite books in the paranormal or dystopian genres?

Oh, wow. I have so many. Stephen King's book The Stand is my favorite book of all time, followed closely by David Birn's The Postman. I loved Hugh Howley's book Wool. Of course, I loved The Hunger Games series. I also really enjoyed Jeffery Hirsch's book The Eleventh Plague. I love City of Embers, and The Giver, and Nancy Farmer's book The House of the Scorpion. Dystopian is my favorite.

*If you could tell readers one thing about yourself or your books, what would that be?

That, at heart, I'm a storyteller, and telling a good story is my happy place. I hope that when you read my books you feel like you've been told a good story.

*What is the craziest or at least most interesting thing you have ever done?

When I was 24 years old, I was a newspaper reporter in a tiny little rural Nevada town. My first day on the job I was sent to start covering a murder trial for two 15 year old boys named Kyle and Colby. They killed Kyle's family. In a lot of ways, covering that trial shaped the kind of writer I am today. It made me want to tell the truth of a story, not just the sensational parts. It made me learn, fast and on the job.

*Just for fun. If you were stranded somewhere but had electricity, what three things other than basic survival supplies, would you have to have?

Either a fan or a heater, depending on where I was. My Kindle, fully loaded. (That's not cheating, right? LOL) And a fridge.

*Finish this statement: "You'll like the Viral Nation series if...

You'll like the Viral Nation series if you like dystopian books, but want a different angle.

Thanks Shaunta!


Author Info:




Shaunta Grimes has worked as a substitute teacher, a newspaper reporter, a drug court counselor, and a vintage clothing seller. No matter which direction she strays, however, she always comes back to storytelling. She lives in Reno with her family, where she writes, teaches, and perpetually studies at the University of Nevada. Viral Nation is her debut traditionally-published novel.











Book Info:


Sixteen years ago, a plague wiped out nearly all of humanity. The Company’s vaccine stopped the virus’s spread, but society was irrevocably changed. Those remaining live behind impenetrable city walls, taking daily doses of virus suppressant and relying on The Company for continued protection. They don’t realize that everything they’ve been told is a lie…

Clover Donovan didn’t set out to start a revolution—quiet, autistic, and brilliant, she’s always followed the rules. But that was before they forced her into service for the Time Mariners. Before they condemned her brother to death, compelling him to flee the city to survive. Before she discovered terrifying secrets about The Company.

Clover and the Freaks, her ragtag resistance group, are doing their best to spread the rebellion and stay under The Company’s radar. But when their hideout is discovered, they are forced, once again, to run. Only this time, The Company has special plans for Clover, plans that could risk her life and stop the uprising in its tracks…
 


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/23/2014- A Book Obsession- Review
6/23/2014- Word Spelunking- Interview
6/24/2014- Reading with ABC- Review
6/24/2014- Pieces of Whimsy- Guest Post
6/25/2014- bookaholics anonymous online- Review
6/25/2014- Fire and Ice- Interview
6/26/2014- Cold Tea and Crumbs- Review
6/26/2014- Such a Novel Idea- Guest Post
6/27/2014- modern-assassin- Review
6/27/2014- Page Turner Blog- Interview

Week Two:

6/30/2014- Buried Under Books- Review
6/30/2014- Bookhounds YA- Guest Post
7/1/2014- The Demon Librarian- Review
7/1/2014- Library of the Seen- Interview
7/2/2014- Crystal in Bookland- Review
7/2/2014- the Windy Pages- Guest Post
7/3/2014- My Dear Bibliophage- Review
7/3/2014- The Book Monsters- Interview
7/4/2014- Books, Bones & Buffy - Review


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Early Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

, by Kt Clapsadl

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Molly Harper is on my auto-buy list. Hands down anytime I see a new book coming from her you can guarantee I'll have it pre-ordered. I just love her style of writing and her humor. That being said, I do have to admit this one was a bit slower for me to get into at first as things were told in several points of view rather than the first person narrative that is in most of her books. These split narratives made it take a bit longer for me to grow attached to the characters than I would have liked. But as I prefer the first person narrative, I wouldn't say the slower attachment was any fault on the author's writing, just on how I like my stories. I will say though that following the multiple different perspectives did open things up a whole lot further than they could have been with just Nina at the "helm," and I especially enjoyed seeing Nina through everyone else's eyes. Made for an interesting and open perspective on things.

This is a cute and fun read, precisely what I expect each time I pick up one of Molly Harper's books. She has this way of making even the most mundane things suddenly become downright hilarious. While this book had a bit of a different feel than her previous books due to the multiple points of view, it was still fun and light hearted all the same. I really love how despite parts of this book being rather dark and well, scary, it never once lost that fun feel. Seriously, we're talking close calls, murder, and some really spooky events, yet the wimp in me never had a single problem because I was too busy laughing at what was going on otherwise. Trust me, if you are looking for a solid block of entertainment in the form of a humorous read, BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS is a must buy for the perfect afternoon read.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:



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Other Reviews:
     Obsessed by Books
     read what i like
     stiesbooks

Kirsten Reviews: The Given Sacrifice by S.M. Stirling

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Given Sacrifice by S.M. Stirling
Emberverse #10

Praised as a truly original combination of postapocalyptic sci-fi and military-oriented medieval fantasy, S. M. Stirling’s Novels of the Change depict a future without technology, where people must master skills from ages past in order to survive. Now, to ensure that survival for all he cares for, a king faces his greatest challenge in the latest chapter of the New York Times bestselling saga....

Rudi Mackenzie has won the battle that expelled the enemy from the new High Kingdom of Montival. Now he must free the people who live in the state once known as Idaho from occupation by the legions of the Church Universal and Triumphant and pursue them to their lair over the mountains. There he will finally confront the forces behind the Church—the Powers of the Void.

Yet even a victory will not end the conflict forever. The Powers of the Void are malevolent and infinitely patient, and the struggle is one that involves the entire world. They threaten Rudi not only in the present, but also in the future represented by his children, Ă“rlaith and John. Rudi knows this.

And as his heir Princess Ă“rlaith grows up in the shadow of her famous father, she also realizes that the enemy will do anything to see that she does not live to fulfill her parents’ dream....

The Given Sacrifice by S.M. Stirling, a novel of the Change, is the conclusion of the saga begun in The Sunrise Lands. But, one of the themes of the series is that everything is connected, and the challenges faced by characters in this book are, in fact, played out on a far grander scale, and so, in a sense, it will never be over.

However, at least for one character, the journey is over, and Rudi Mackenzie’s arc ends, as he and his allies finally close in on the Church Universal and Triumphant. The plot covers what are to be the last battles against the Cutters, glosses over their defeat, and then introduces characters that will be the focus of later books.

One weakness of this book lies in the fact that although there is a lot going on, the focus is more on shifting from Rudi to Orlaith, his heir. Not only that, but the fate of Rudi isn’t given a climactic scene, but rather feels as though it’s been slotted in so that readers won’t wonder what happened, while at the same time, making sure they are aware that Orlaith is the new protagonist. As a result, Orlaith gets more in depth development, and feels more relatable, not being an Arthurian-esque figure whose destiny and importance are brought up repeatedly, so that the reader can’t forget how important he is, instead of using his actions to the same effect.

Overall, the book wraps up Rudi’s story and effectively shifts the narrative to Orlaith, although readers may find that the way it’s handled leaves them unsatisfied.
(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:


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Other Reviews:
     A Wicked Convergence of Circumstance

Previous Books:
     1. Dies the Fire
     2. The Protector's War
     3. A Meeting at Corvallis
     4. The Sunrise Lands
     5. The Scourge of God
     6. The Sword of the Lady
     7. The High King of Montival
     8. The Tears of the Sun
     9. Lord of the Mountains

Early Review: Shaman Rises by C.E. Murphy

, by Kt Clapsadl

Shaman Rises by C.E. Murphy
Walker Papers #9

Joanne Walker has two choices:

Defeat the enemy…or lose her soul trying.

For over a year, Joanne has been fighting the Master—the world's most abiding evil. She's sacrificed family, friendships, even watched potential futures fade away…and now the Master is bringing the final battle to Joanne's beloved Seattle.

Lives will be lost as the repercussions of all Joanne's growth come to her doorstep. Before the end, she'll mourn, rejoice—and surrender everything for the hope of the world's survival. She'll be a warrior and a healer. Because she is finally a Shaman Rising.



Whooo boy, was this one heck of a roller coaster ride from start to finish. There was an incredible amount going on in this book, it was almost frantic. Granted that did make it just a bit hard to follow at times, but I tell you, Joanne and the rest of the characters were put through one heck of a ringer. There wasn't a dull moment, that's for sure. What's even better yet was that despite me feeling like I had everything figured out by now considering this is the ninth installment, there were more than a few curve balls thrown into things that I never would have guessed were coming. There was one massive shock that, wow, just wow. I loved that twist and I have a feeling other readers will too. Definitely a high point in the book.

And now onto Joanne, the star of the show. Never could I have imagined the gal who annoyed me terribly in the first few installments due to her refusal to accept who she was magically, would turn into who she is today. Not only has she fully embraced her magical heritage, but she's consistently at the front lines fighting with her all. There was a point in this book where it would have been so easy for her to give up and run away like the old Joanne, but she never once faltered and I fell for her all over again. (and I think Morrison did as well, but that's just a bonus.) Seriously, Joanne Walker has earned herself a place on my top 10 favorite heroines, and I don't see her being dethroned anytime soon.

It's always very bittersweet to say goodbye to a loved and long running series like this. So, I was both eagerly anticipating and dreading reading this installment in equal amounts. On one hand, I was dying to know how everything turns out for Joanne and crew, but on the other I knew that I would have to say goodbye and that they may not get the send off I had hoped for. Now that I've finished, I can largely that I'm happy with the way everything turned out. Granted, I would have preferred a bit more solidity on the personal front with Joanne, but that was addressed in a short story part of No Dominion, and since the actual action and plotline with the Master was tied up well, I can't really complain. Too much. I'm a sap for a good romantic happy ending and I do like everything to be very settled, but that wasn't the case here, and in the long run I'm fine with that. The author brought us to the part where the characters can now start their real lives and be settled however they choose, leaving that largely up to the reader's imagination. So that being said, I think fans will be largely pleased with Shaman Rises' send off, and after nine books, that's an impressive feat for any author. So bravo to you Ms. C.E. Murphy, bravo!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:



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Other Reviews:
     So I Read This Book Today

Previous Books:
     1. Urban Shaman
     2. Thunderbird Falls
     3. Coyote Dreams
     4. Walking Dead
     5. Demon Hunts
     6. Spirit Dances
     7. Raven Calls   
     8. Mountain Echoes

Kirsten Reviews: Stone Cold by Devon Monk

, by Kt Clapsadl

Stone Cold by Devon Monk
Broken Magic #2

Marked by Life and Death magic, Shame Flynn and Terric Conley are “breakers”—those who can use magic to its full extent. Most of the time, they can barely stand each other, but they know they have to work together to defeat a common enemy—rogue magic user Eli Collins.

Backed by the government, Eli is trying to use magic as a weapon by carving spells into the flesh of innocents and turning them into brainless walking bombs. To stop him, Shame and Terric will need to call on their magic, even as it threatens to consume them—because the price they must pay to wield Life and Death could change the very fate of the world...and magic itself.




Stone Cold by Devon Monk is the sequel to Hell Bent, and the second book in the author’s Broken Magic series. Firstly, this is a spinoff from Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, but new readers don’t need to have read those books first in order to jump right into the storyline. For the record, that’s a good thing, because if you like this book, then you can go back and read the others to pick up additional details.

The shortest way to describe the world these books take place in is: magic is real and so are its problems. That’s putting it extremely simply, but this book is replete with interesting characters, and the issues that come from having any sort of contact with, or ability to wield magic. As is amply demonstrated by the two protagonists, Shamus ‘Shame’ Flynn and Terric Conley, who happen to be Death and Life magic users, and soul complements. This doesn’t mean they’re the best of friends, or that they want to spend every waking moment together. In fact, they often want to avoid each other for some very good reasons. But, they have a common foe; Eli Collins, who has aims beyond mundane crime and mayhem, and is the sort of adversary that will take both of them working together, in the truly impressive, and often scary way that they do so well.

Shame, as he’s called by everyone, is the most powerful wielder of Death magic alive. Terric is his equal in Life magic, and were close growing up, but finding out that they were soul complements made things more complicated between them. Notably, their relationship is platonic, while Terric is gay, and Shame is not, and Shame often pushes Terric to go out and find love, as he deserves it. Meanwhile Shame has a ghost or two following him around, and tries to avoid emotional entanglements because he literally kills people for a living.

Ordinarily, being so powerful would give Terric and Shame an edge on somebody like Eli Collins, but there’s the not insignificant issue of them having become the literal embodiments of Life and Death. Unsurprisingly, this is slowly eating away at their humanity, and each of them has issues asking for help.

Throw in complications from a coterie of other characters, including Davy, Allie, and Zay, a large amount of mortal peril, and this book stands alone from its parent series, and is a pleasure to read.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:





 
Order Links:



Other Reviews:
     A Book Obsession (Katie's Review)
     BiblioSanctum
     Bookworm Blues

Previous Books:
     1. Hell Bent


Release Day Review: Push by Eve Silver

, by Kt Clapsadl

Push by Eve Silver
The Game #2

It’s either break the rules or die.

Miki Jones lives her life by her own strict set of rules, to keep control, to keep the gray fog of grief at bay. Then she’s pulled into the Game, where she—and her team—will die unless she follows a new set of rules: those set by the mysterious Committee.

But rules don’t mean answers, and without answers, it’s hard to trust. People are dying. The rules are unraveling. And Miki knows she’s being watched, uncertain if it’s the Drau or someone—something—else. Forced to make impossible choices and battling to save those she loves, Miki begins to see the Committee in a glaring new light.

And then the Game crosses a new boundary, pushes harder into Miki’s and her friends’ lives, and there’s nothing in the rules that can save them now.

Push is the sequel Rush fans will be screaming for.

One of the most impressive things about this series is how fast paced it is, which I love as it gives a thrilling ride while reading. Yet, even more important, that frenzy pace never once got too out of hand where it would have become too hard to follow. There was just the right amount of downtime and slower moments plus character development mixed in to keep things moving along perfectly. Trust me, this is one of those books that will suck you right in and when you finally emerge, time will have passed without you noticing. And for me, that's the best kind of read. 

I was really impressed with Miki's growth in PUSH. She's been through so much and obsessively tries to control her life, but if nothing else that's good has come from her being forced into the game, it's that she's learning to let some things go. She's made amazing steps towards learning where to push for that control and when to let things go that only serve to hold her back. Honestly, I'm surprised that she's doing so well. Most people would be in far worse shape, yet shes finding her way and taking charge. There was one scene where she stood up for herself and others despite facing certain death, and I wanted to give her a standing ovation. My kind of gal.

Fair warning, PUSH ends in a cliffhanger just like the first book. I'm not a fan of them, so when I finished RUSH, I had to give myself a few days before writing this review to allow my annoyance with the ending to settle in order for it to not color my review. I want a book to grab me enough on it's own merit rather than using a ploy to drag me into reading the next book. They just aren't necessary, and I especially think that's the case here. But, cliffhanger aside, much like the first installment PUSH is a very enjoyable and fast paced read that will appeal to YA fans who are looking for a fresh series that outside the box. 


(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:



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Review: Masks by Karen Chance

, by Kt Clapsadl

Masks by Karen Chance 
Cassie Palmer #4.3

Fifteenth century Venice is a safe haven for the masterless dregs of the vampire world, a city where they can live without the fear of retribution for violating another’s territory.
Still, there are plenty of ways for a young vampire to die in the glittering city, a lesson that prince turned pauper Mircea Basarab must learn quickly. But there are opportunities, too—in the service of a secretive courtesan, in the bed of a beautiful senator, and in the hunt for an ancient assassin.
As a vendetta older than Venice itself comes to a climax, Mircea struggles to evade the dangers of his current life, to come to terms with his past, and to uncover the truth hidden behind a city of masks…





Masks was a real treat for me. I loved seeing into Mircea's head back before he became so powerful and had lived as long as the vampire Cassie knows today. To see him powerless and the bottom rung was really different. It's interesting to note that despite his lower power level and much less experience, at the core he was still the same man. He still was a leader and one not satisfied to just let things happen around him without him trying to fix or influence them for the better. Sure, this wasn't apparent to him at the start of this book, but the experiences in this book definitely were the turning point in him finding his confidence as a vampire.

Not only was MASKS very focused on Mircea and him finding his way, there also was a fully formed plot interwoven into the story as well. Granted, it's nowhere near the typical frenzy pace of the rest of the two series, but more than enough to fully hold my attention. I loved the mix of political intrigue and the way it kept me on my toes throughout. The little hints and clues added together, and while I had my suspicions on certain things, I still was caught off guard by the big reveal at the end, which I loved.

For a novel that was just supposed to be an extra bonus story, MASKS caught me completely off guard. Don't get me wrong, I knew I would enjoy the story as I love Karen's books, but I definitely wasn't expecting such a well crafted and lengthy story. What I had thought was a bonus look into Mircea's past actually wound up being a fully fledged story and one heck of a read. Trust me, this is a must read for any Cassie fan as it gives some much needed look into our favorite (or not so favorite, depending on your preference) master that you won't want to miss.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     3. Embrace the Night
     4. Curse the Dawn
     5. Hunt the Moon
     6. Tempt the Stars

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