Early Review: Vengeance of the Demon by Diana Rowland

, by Kt Clapsadl

Vengeance of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Kara Gillian #7

Demon summoner Kara Gillian is on the wrong side of the law, and there's evidence to prove it. Too bad the courts don't accept "fighting demonic forces" as justification for murder and mayhem.

Yet Kara has problems that go way beyond her legal woes. When the enemy demonic lords spur their human accomplices into high gear, master summoner Katashi aggressively pursues their goal to establish a permanent gate between Earth and the demon realm. To hell with the consequences for humanity.

The line between ally and enemy blurs as Kara gathers the remnants of her posse to prevent a devastating demonic incursion, but a shattered trust may cost them the war and put Kara behind bars. With treachery rife, and her loved ones in danger, Kara must call upon the essence of who she truly is in order to rally back from a crushing loss.

And if she can't, the world is going straight to hell.

This one is going to be a bit difficult to review. While I never found myself losing interest, and was continually able to stay easily focused on the story, it just wasn't as engrossing as I would have liked. The book seemed to meander throughout a lot of different things to the point where there just didn't seem to be any focus. Don't get me wrong, it was an enjoyable read, I just don't feel like there was a clear plot or even resolution of much of anything by the end especially with that cliffhanger. Granted, she's written some pretty nasty cliffhangers in the past, but this time around I'm not sure it was necessary or really warranted. I just wasn't sucked in enough for the cliffhanger to have had that full sucker punch effect. Typically that leaves me desperate for the next book but this one just didn't have the momentum for that to work. 

One thing the book did get really right for me was Kara. She's been through so much and I really enjoy seeing how much she's matured. While it's hard to watch her have to make the hard decisions, she's really become a power to be reckoned with. Then of course the rest of the cast of characters are pretty fabulous too, and they are all fully three dimensional throughout. That's more than a little impressive considering just how large the cast has become. In many series, I forget who the older characters are between books, but this time around I had no trouble jumping back in, which goes to show how real the characters seem. My only complaint in the character department is that there wasn't more time with Mzatal, but hopefully that will change in future books. 

In the end, VENGEANCE OF THE DEMON was a decent read that kept me entertained, but I can't help hoping for the next installment to return to the engrossing style of the previous installments. This still is a great series that I'd love see more great reads from, so here's hoping.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     Book Junkiez

Previous Books:
     1. Mark of the Demon
     2. Blood of the Demon
     4. Sins of the Demon
     5. Touch of the Demon
     6. Fury of the Demon

Interview with Tracy Clark

, by Kt Clapsadl

*Where did you get the inspiration for the Light Key series?

The Light Key Trilogy was inspired by my fascination with energy—specifically how some people make us feel uplifted and awesome when we’re around them while others make us feel totally drained, craptastic, and low-energy. I wanted to create a mythology to explain this very real phenomenon.

*Any hints you can give us for what's in store next?

I’m excited to tell you that in DEVIATE, the second book in the series, I’ve introduced the point of view of Finn Doyle. I loved writing from his pov and sharing with the reader his tortured reality. It was great to explore the conflict of a being a good person who must kill in order to survive.

SCINTILLATE is very much the “origin story” of my mythology and from there it continues to get bigger and broader as the enormity of what Cora is facing is revealed in books 2 and 3.

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

I was VERY lucky on the agent front. Michael Bourret with Dystel & Goderich is a rock star agent in YA and I feel so fortunate that he wanted to work with me. He actually signed me on a partial of a previous manuscript. That was a serious “up” moment in my publishing story. The downside is that the book he loved went about as far as you can go in the acquisition process before it was ultimately rejected and we set it aside. I was heartbroken to get so close and have my dream fall at my feet. I still have hopes for that book, but timing has to be right. Luckily, we went on to sell the Light Key Trilogy to Entangled Publishing and a forthcoming YA thriller, MIRAGE, to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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

I’m a huge fan of Cassie Clare’s, especially The Infernal Devices series. I also think Laini Taylor is one helluva writer. I loved Divergent and Hunger Games for dystopian.

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

I hope that both my books and myself are always getting better. :)

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

I used to skydive and tapped into that experience in my upcoming thriller, MIRAGE. I wasn’t a very good skydiver, mind you. But that summer, man…that summer. It was a buzz.

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

My peeps. A girl can handle anything with the love of the people around her.

*Finish this statement: "You'll like the Light Key series if...

…you like the big questions, adventure, and like to be surprised by the direction a series takes.
Thanks Tracy!

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Author Info:

I was born in Reno, Nevada, and lived there until I was eleven. Though my real growing up occurred in Southern California. Yes... I am like, totally a Valley Girl. I moved back to northern Nevada in my early twenties. The short list is that I'm a mother, lover of words, private pilot and irredeemable dreamer.

Find Tracy Online:
Website    *    Facebook    *    Twitter

Tormented after a daring escape, Cora Sandoval must find a way to stop the Arrazi from murdering innocent people and from violating, using, and killing the Scintilla for their powers. She must also accept one bitter betrayal: Finn Doyle—the Irish boy who has both a piece of Cora's heart and soul—is Arrazi...

On the verge of extinction and sought by those who would either consume or destroy them, Cora and the remaining Scintilla survivors must solve the mystery of The Light Key. If they fail, the truth will stay buried forever and mankind will pay the ultimate price.

No longer will she hide.

No longer will her loved ones be hunted.

And she will have her vengeance...even if she shatters her heart in the process.

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Kirsten Reviews: A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda

, by Kt Clapsadl

A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda
Night's Edge #2

What would you risk for family?

The truthseer who won Jenn Nalynn’s heart, Bannan Larmensu, learns his brother-in-law was sent as a peace envoy to Channen, the capital of the mysterious domain of Mellynne, and has disappeared. When Bannan’s young nephews arrive in Marrowdell during a storm, he fears that his sister, the fiery Lila, has gone in search of her husband, leaving her sons in his care.

The law forbids Bannan from leaving Marrowdell and traveling to Mellynne to help his sister. At least, in this world.

As a turn-born, Jenn Nalynn has the power to cross into the magical realm of the Verge—and take Bannan with her. Once there, they could find a way into Mellynne, if they survive.

The Verge is wild and deadly, alive with strange magic. Dragons roar and kruar wait in ambush, and the powerful turn-born who tend their world do not care for Jenn Nalynn. But Jenn is willing to try. Their friends Wisp and Scourge -- and the house toads -- offer their help.

But what none of them know is that Channen is rife with magic, magic that flows from the Verge itself. And not even a turn-born will be safe there.

A Play of Shadow continues Julie E. Czerneda’s Night’s Edge series, and finds Jenn Nalynn and her lover, truthseer Bannan Larmensu dealing with some family issues. Bannan has learned that his brother-in-law was sent as a peace envoy to Channen, the capital city of Mellynne, and he has disappeared. Bannan’s nephews come to Marrowdell to see him, and he worries that his sister Lila has gone looking for her husband. But, the law forbids Bannan from leaving Marrowdell in order to help his sister. Well, at least in this world, and as a turn-born, Jenn is able to cross into the Verge, a magical realm beyond it. If she does so, and takes Bannan with her, they may be able to find their way to Mellynne, if they live through the journey.

After all, the Verge is no peaceful world, and is filled with magical creatures such as dragons and turn-born who don’t count Jenn as their friends. But this is Bannan’s family, and Jenn is willing to do what she can, so they set out with their friends Wisp and Scourge, as well as the house toads. Yet, there are more surprises in store, because Channen is also filled with magic, all of which comes directly from the Verge, and even Jenn may not be able to handle what that means.

With this book, the author builds on the world previously established, and in doing so, gives the audience a wider look at magic and the way it touches the different settings, people, and other creatures. It’s enough to present the story from feeling overwhelmed with the intricacies of magical rules that sometimes dominate works of fantasy. In addition, there are now political elements which Jenn and Bannan will have to take care in navigating.

Any fan of A Turn of Light who is concerned that a sequel might diminish the first book can rest easy, and rejoin Jenn, Bannan, and their friends, as they learn more about their world.
(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     Beauty in Ruins

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     1. A Turn of Light

Kirsten Reviews: Deadeye by William C. Dietz

, by Kt Clapsadl

Deadeye by William C. Dietz
Mutant Files #1

The national bestselling author of the Legion of the Damned novels, "a must-read for any fan of Mil Fic," (Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy) begins a brand new science fiction police procedural series...

In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…

Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.

In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…

Deadeye is the first book in The Mutant Files, a new series by William C. Dietz, and blends the police procedural with a sci-fi premise. In 2038, there was a bioengineered terrorist attack, which hugely reduced the population, and anyone who survived was either unaffected, or developed a wide range of mutations. This has left humanity grappling with the consequences of both the attack, and these ‘mutants,’ a scenario which has obvious parallels in the present day, as well as being widely used in a variety of literature and movies.

The protagonist, Detective Cassandra Lee has built her career on pursuing some of the worst criminals in Los Angeles. So when the daughter of Bishop Screed, leader of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped, everyone thinks it was the work of mutants. Lee is assigned to the case, along with her new mutant partner, and the two of them must hurry to save the young woman before she is sold to human smuggling rings in the Red Zone, who often use women for breeding. But, there are plenty of obstacles to hinder their progress, including Bonebreaker, a serial killer who is suspected of killing almost half a dozen police officers, including Frank Lee, Cassandra’s father.

As the first book in a new series, there is quite a lot of ground to cover, and Dietz lays the foundation of a society that is dealing with issues of prejudice, as well as science and technology gone awry. While there are any number of intriguing details that flesh out this world, and the ways in which people and mutants are segregated and fearful of one another, at times they are delivered in the form of large chunks of information. This slows the pace of the book, and can make some chapters feel a bit more like sections from a textbook rather than a work of fiction.

The story itself is an interesting one, and once a reader gets through some of the factual overloads, and some of the jarring point of view shifts, they will find it enjoyable. All told, the beginning and end of the book feel as if they are trying to do too much in terms of sharing information, and wrapping up the story, but the rest of the book holds itself together.

Cassandra Lee has the potential to be a well-developed protagonist, and the secondary characters are also worth further exploration. Hopefully a sequel will smooth out some of the book’s other issues, and bring things together more smoothly.
(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     The BiblioSanctum

Review: Infinity Bell by Devon Monk

, by Kt Clapsadl

Infinity Bell by Devon Monk
House Immortal #2

Return to national bestselling author Devon Monk's heartpounding House Immortal series, where eleven powerful Houses control the world and all its resources. But now, the treaty between them has been broken, and no one—not even the immortal galvanized—is safe....

Matilda Case isn’t normal. Normal people aren’t stitched together, inhumanly strong, and ageless, as she and the other galvanized are. Normal people’s bodies don’t hold the secret to immortality—something the powerful Houses will kill to possess. And normal people don’t know that they’re going to die in a few days.

Matilda’s fight to protect the people she loves triggered a chaotic war between the Houses and shattered the world’s peace. On the run, she must find a way to stop the repeat of the ancient time experiment that gifted her and the other galvanized with immortality. Because this time, it will destroy her and everything she holds dear.

is her enemy, and every second brings her one step closer to disaster....

Devon Monk's skill to keep a world fresh and interesting never ceases to amaze me. And her ability to shake things up? Surpurb. Of course that has a bit of downside as well, as the ending of this one has left me desperate to get my hands on the next installment to see how those wonderful twists play out. But perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself here skipping to already wanting the next one before even telling you why you want this one. Simply put, the plot behind INFINITY BELL is an on the edge of your seat roller coaster ride. I couldn't put it down once I started as I had to know what happens next. Granted I felt similar about the previous, but this one even more so. Everything has been turned upside down and I really enjoyed how easy it was to immerse into the book right alongside the characters. I'm being purposely vague here as you'll want to read for yourself, so just trust me when I say, this one has one heck of a gripping plot.

As much as I loved the intensity of the plot, the characters are who really stole show. Everyone from Tilly, Abraham, the two Neds, her brother, and so on, made me fall completely in love with them all over again. I just loved how fully fleshed out all the characters were and reading the book felt like I was experiencing things right alongside these fabulous characters. Then on the reverse side are the villians, and they were just as every bit as fleshed out as the main cast. I cannot tell you how much I despised the main villan. Of course, that's not a bad thing considering it only sucked me further into the plot and plight of the "good" characters. So overall, a stellar job on both the characters and the plot.

In my review of the previous book I called her a powerhouse in the genre, and that proved itself true again in INFINITY BELL. I know with absolute certainty that when I pick up one of Devon Monk's books I'll have a guaranteed solid block of entertainment that I'll immensely enjoy. The track record is holding steady, and this series and INFINITY BELL are an absolute must buy for fans of the genre.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Between Dreams and Reality
     Carole's Random Life
     Vampire Book Club

Previous Books:
     1. House Immortal

Kirsten Reviews: Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire

, by Kt Clapsadl

Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
InCryptid #4

Endangered, adjective: Threatened with extinction or immediate harm.Australia, noun: A good place to become endangered.

Alexander Price has survived gorgons, basilisks, and his own family—no small feat, considering that his family includes two telepaths, a reanimated corpse, and a colony of talking, pantheistic mice. Still, he’s starting to feel like he’s got the hang of things…at least until his girlfriend, Shelby Tanner, shows up asking pointed questions about werewolves and the state of his passport. From there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Australia, a continent filled with new challenges, new dangers, and yes, rival cryptozoologists who don’t like their “visiting expert” very much.

Australia is a cryptozoologist’s dream, filled with unique species and unique challenges. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with Shelby’s family, who aren’t delighted by the length of her stay in America. And then there are the werewolves to consider: infected killing machines who would like nothing more than to claim the continent as their own. The continent which currently includes Alex.

Survival is hard enough when you’re on familiar ground. Alex Price is very far from home, but there’s one thing he knows for sure: he’s not going down without a fight.

Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire is the latest novel in her InCryptid series which features the Price family, who are cryptozoologists, and and a generally rowdy bunch. Their ranks also include two telepaths, a reanimated corpse, and a colony of talking mice who worship the Price family as their gods. If it sounds a bit complicated, then that’s part of the joy of this series. Alexander Price and his sister Verity, whose alternating adventures make up the four books written thus far in this series are definitely not superhuman, although several of their family members aren’t human. What makes them good at what they do is their love of knowledge, respect for cryptids, and a determination to see every sort of creature as worth saving, unless it happens to be attempting to chew their face off. Even then, they might just pause long enough to try and reason with it before defending themselves.

‘Cryptids have feelings too’ is not an attitude common to many organizations that are aware of such creatures as gorgons, Church Griffins, or Aeslin mice, and this has put the Price family at odds with some rather unfriendly people. This time, though, the unfriendly people Alex is dealing with are his girlfriend, Shelby Tanner’s parents and the rest of the Australian cryptozoologists who have a werewolf problem they don’t want any outsider jumping in to solve.

Alex has his own history with werewolves, and he isn’t eager to hop on a plane and head to the other side of the world, but if werewolves manage to spread to other continents, they will literally take a bite out of almost anything, and after all, this is what he does for a living.

That puts Alex squarely in the middle of family drama that isn’t, for once, his own, facing down the hostile locals, both werewolf and human, and figuring out where he and Shelby’s relationship is headed from here.

McGuire has a knack for blending great characters, creatures, and humor with a plot that moves at a quick pace. All of these elements make this book a very enjoyable read, and will have readers eager for the next adventures of the Price family, wherever they may happen to wind up next.
(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Previous Books:
     1. Discount Armageddon
     2. Midnight Blue-Light Special
     3. Half-Off Ragnarok

Review: Grave Matters by Lauren M. Roy

, by Kt Clapsadl

Grave Matters by Lauren M. Roy
Night Owls #2

Night Owls bookstore always keeps a light on and evil creatures out. But, as Lauren M. Roy's thrilling sequel continues, even its supernatural staff isn’t prepared for the dead to come back to life…

Elly grew up training to kill things that go bump in the night, so she’s still getting used to working alongside them. While she’s learned to trust the eclectic group of vampires, Renfields, and succubi at Night Owls bookstore, her new job guarding Boston’s most powerful vampire has her on edge—especially when she realizes something strange is going on with her employer, something even deadlier than usual…

Cavale isn’t thrilled that his sister works for vampires, but he’s determined to repair their relationship, and that means trusting her choices—until Elly’s job lands all of the Night Owls in deep trouble with a vengeful necromancer. And even their collective paranormal skills might not be enough to keep them from becoming part of the necromancer’s undead army…
This book and series is rather frustrating for me. There's so much potential there for an excellent story, but it's massively hindered by the constant switch in narrators and their subsequent different storylines. Due to this constant shift I was never able to settle into anyone's head as as soon as I started to get hooked on one character and their chain of events, it would all be ripped away and into the next. Sometimes the changes were so abrupt that I hadn't even started to get sunk in at all. It just made for a very frustrating read. That being said, considering all this frustration it does speak to the impressive skill and writing that I continued on and did enjoy as much as possible. I just feel like this book would have been so much better if the rotations and perspectives had been cut in half. There was just two much going on with too many characters getting the limelight.

Putting all that aside, I did enjoy the characters in this book/series as there is one heck of a cast. Each and everyone had a very unique personality and were fully fleshed out despite the short amount of page time featuring each one. I absolutely loved the extra backstory on each character that was filtered in throughout the book, and it only endeared me to the cast of characters more. The two succubi and Chaz probably were my absolute favorites, followed up shortly by Justin. And the rest of the cast was pretty interesting too, again I just wish there had been a bit more screen time with each. 

I enjoyed this one more than the first one as I had more time with the characters to get to know them etc, but overall it was still frustrating. I just wanted to get more time with the characters and perhaps more focus on fewer storylines. Granted everything was tied together really well at the end, which was no small feat considering and impressive writing, but prior to that point it was just too much for me. That being said, there wasn't a dull moment and despite my frustration with the rotation, over all it was a decent read that kept my attention. So the end verdict is a bit flawed but still entertaining.   

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Gizmos Reviews
     Badass Book Reviews
     The Qwillery

Previous Books:
     1. Night Owls

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