Early Review: The Veil by Chloe Neill

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Veil by Chloe Neill
Devil's Isle #1

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

THE VEIL brings a fresh and interesting world as it's an interesting blend of dystopian and urban fantasy. So, pretty much the perfect combination in my book. There's a whole lot going on between the paras, human magic users, the Veil itself, and the Containment control and oppression over everything. What really interested me was that so many chose to stay in the zoned French Quarter. It's made clear that the "outside" world wasn't affected much and yet so many chose to stay behind with limited resources and constant struggle.

Claire made for a really interesting character. At the start of THE VEIL, she knows about her own ability but is living in hiding. Despite having these unwanted abilities with magic, she's still rather prejudiced about other magical users and the paranormal world. Granted considering what magic and paranormals cost her, I don't blame her one bit. That being said, her eyes are slowly opened in this book and I really enjoyed her progression from almost naive with a huge lack of confidence, to someone decidedly stronger by the end of the book. It was interesting to watch, and I can't wait to see how she grows even more over the next few books. Speaking of interesting characters, the supporting cast was very well fleshed out. From Claire's best friends, to their enemies, the paras, and an interesting newcomer, Liam, every single character really stood out, only further serving to hook me into this new series.

I enjoyed this start of a new series from Chloe Neill. While she's most known for her Chicagoland books, I can see these books becoming every bit as popular.  If you're looking for a fast paced read that you won't want to put down once you pick it up, look no further than THE VEIL.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Between Dreams and Reality
     Carol's Random Life
     Under the Covers Book Blog


Blog Tour Review: Spider's Trap by Jennifer Estep

, by Kt Clapsadl

Spider's Trap by Jennifer Estep
Elemental Assassin #13

The next thrilling book in Jennifer Estep’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling Elemental Assassin series—“an extraordinary series… One of the most intriguing heroines in the genre” (Romantic Times Book Reviews).

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…

I always love picking up a new Elemental Assassin book. I just know I'm going to love the book, and it will be a guaranteed solid block of entertainment. SPIDER'S TRAP was no exception. While technically you could say the books are a bit formulaic, due to the pattern of someone threatening Gin's family and she putting them down, they never feel anything but fresh regardless. Each villain brings a whole new challenge and dimension to Gin to overcome.

This book especially showed a new side to Gin as she had to use a new to her skill. Rather than kicking butt and asking questions later, she's now forced to listen and mediate the rest of the crime boss's problems. That went about as well as you can expect. Of course in true Gin fashion, she put her own flair on things and I loved every minute of it.

Not only does each villain add a new dimension to the series, but the characters and personal side only grow more with each book. I'll admit that there were parts of this book that had me teared up and on the edge of my seat terrified for the characters to survive. After 13 books, to still feel that much intensity is incredibly impressive in my book.

An action packed ride, SPIDER'S TRAP is guaranteed to more than please fans of the series.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Rabid Reads
     Tome Tender
     Badass Book Reviews

Previous Books:
     1. Spider's Bite
     2. Web of Lies
     3. Venom
     4. Tangled Threads
     5. Spider's Revenge
     6. By a Thread
     7. Widow's Web
     8. Deadly Sting
     9. Heart of Venom
     10. The Spider
     11. Poison Promise
     12. Black Widow




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Kirsten Reviews: Witches in Red by Barb Hendee

, by Kt Clapsadl

Witches in Red by Barb Hendee
The Mist-Torn Witches #2

Céline and Amelie Fawe can see into anyone’s past and future simply by touching them. They have used their powers to secure sanctuary—and a fine apothecary’s shop—in the village around Castle Sèone. But their continued safety has a price…

Far to the north, the men of an isolated silver mining community are turning into vicious “beasts” that slaughter anyone in sight. The mines belong to the noble family of Prince Anton—ruler of Castle Sèone and Céline and Amelie’s patron—and Anton’s tyrannical father has ordered his son to solve the mystery as a test of his leadership. He has no choice but to send the witches into the perilous north, to use their abilities to discover the cause of the transformations. Given how much they owe the prince, the sisters have no choice but to accept.

Together with the over-protective Lieutenant Jaromir, Célene and Amelie enter the dark world of a far off mining camp tainted by fear, mistrust, and enslavement—and haunted by men turning into massive, mad wolves without warning. Now, the two must draw upon strength and cunning they never thought they possessed not only to solve the mystery, but to survive…

Witches in Red, the second book in Barb Hendee’s The Mist Torn Witches series finds sisters and witches, Céline and Amelie Fawe being sent to the far north, to an isolated silver mining community where men are turning into ‘beasts.’ Their patron, Prince Anton has received orders from his father to figure out what is happening in order to test his leadership. In spite of his misgivings, Anton has to send the witches northward, so they can use their abilities, including the talent for seeing the future of anyone they touch in order to solve the mystery.

As they journey north, accompanied by Lieutenant Jaromir, who tends to be overprotective, sometimes with good reason, other times, inconveniently so, Célene and Amelie find a town rife with mistrust, slavery, and men who transform into enraged wolves.

This book includes many of the same story devices as the first one, including the sisters using their gifts on various suspects, of which there aren’t many, and revealing a few secrets in the process. If a fairly straightforward sort of narrative is your thing, then this won’t be a problem, but others may prefer a more complex plotline.

Although Célene is more comfortable with her gifts, Amelie is learning to use them with greater confidence, and by looking into the past, is able to sort out some important aspects of the mystery. This makes things feel more equal between the sisters, while at the same time, keeping their maturity levels believable.

As a whole, the story is fairly simple, and the villain may stand out for those readers paying close attention, but most will enjoy the further worldbuilding, and the story of two sisters learning how to use their powers and find their way in the world together.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Open Book Society
     The Other Side
     Candace's Book Blog

Previous Books:
     1. The Mist-Torn Witches
 

Kirsten Reviews: Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow

, by Kt Clapsadl

Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
Gallow and Ragged #1

New York Times bestselling author Lilith Saintcrow returns to dark fantasy with a new series where the fairy world inhabits diners, dive bars and trailer parks.

Jeremy Gallow is just another construction worker, and that's the way he likes it. He's left his past behind, but some things cannot be erased. Like the tattoos on his arms that transform into a weapon, or that he was once closer to the Queen of Summer than any half-human should be. Now the half-sidhe all in Summer once feared is dragged back into the world of enchantment, danger, and fickle fae—by a woman who looks uncannily like his dead wife. Her name is Robin, and her secrets are more than enough to get them both killed. A plague has come, the fullborn-fae are dying, and the dark answer to Summer's Court is breaking loose.

Be afraid, for Unwinter is riding...

Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow begins a new series, Gallow and Ragged, and introduces readers to a new version of the Sidhe, complete with political double dealing, betrayal, and even a bit of singing.

The titular characters, Robin Ragged, and Jeremiah Gallow are clearly on trajectory toward one another from the first page. Gallow, a half fae, who was once very close to the Queen of Summer, is working as a construction worker, mourning his dead wife, and pretending that he is human, largely through depressed inertia. Meanwhile, Robin Ragged is an unwilling servant of that same queen, and is doing all that she can simply not to be killed by her mistress on one of the fae’s cruel whims. Meanwhile, she is being sent on errands by the queen as there is a sickness creeping through the courts of the fae, and the purebloods are being stricken down without mercy.

One of the most recognizable characters, Puck, is acting in his own interests, moving between the two courts, and may very well be an ally to Robin or Gallow, but more than likely, he has several dozen plans of his own.

Beyond the wishes of her queen, Robin is occupied with keeping herself out of the hands of Unseelie, as Unwinter would like to use her talents to further their own agenda. She is not one to trust any man easily, particularly Gallow, who believes she looks like the wife he is mourning.

The book features a great deal of the language used by the fae, their tools, and traditions, and the fact that they only reluctantly pass over the barrier into the world of mortals. To them, humans are nothing more than tools, to be drained of all usefulness and eventually life. Some of this may put readers off, but for anyone interested in fae in any sort of urban fantasy, this book’s spin on the Courts, their magic, politics, and those caught up in them will enjoy this new series.

There are plenty of pretty words, interesting creatures, and jeopardy, both mortal and otherwise to keep pages turning, and there is a great deal of intriguing story to explore in the sequel.(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Rabid Reads
     My Para Hangover



Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

, by Kt Clapsadl

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
The Great Library #1

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

What a interesting and incredibly unique world! When I read the blurb for this new series, I knew I would have to read it as I fell in love with the premise. What's even better than a really interesting premise? When the book more than lives up to it. It's a dystopian world revolving around the Library having all the power and control. It's a truly horrifying concept, the idea that books could be limited. Reading this book made me truly appreciate the freedom to read that we have. Between that and the fact that I love a good dystopian read, I was really hooked from the start.

I really enjoyed Jess's character and how much he grew even over the short course of the book. He's rather lost, and trying to balance responsibilities and loyalties. Everyone in his entire life has always used him, and while he's trying to carve his own path, he still has so many tethers tying him down and pulling him in different directions. It's really admirable how well he's held up and I couldn't help rooting for him from the very start. I can't wait to see how he grows even more over the series as I predict he will become a force to be reckoned with.

After reading INK AND BONE, I'm happy to report that Rachel Caine has kicked off her new series with a bang. You have a great cast of characters, an incredible premise, stellar world building, and a great plot. In fact, the only thing keeping me from rating this a full five stars is a bit of pacing issues, but otherwise a fantastic read. If you're looking for something fresh and unique that will suck you in from the start, look no further than INK AND BONE.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Gizmo's Reviews
     The Eater of Books!
     Tenacious Reader


Blog Tour Early Review: Wicked Embers by Keri Arthur

, by Kt Clapsadl

Wicked Embers by Keri Arthur
Souls of Fire #2




Keri Arthur, New York Times bestselling author of Fireborn, presents the thrilling new Souls of Fire Novel featuring Emberly Pearson, a phoenix that can transform into a human—and is haunted by the ability to foresee death....

Crimson Death, the plague like virus spawned from a failed government experiment to isolate the enzymes that make vampires immortal, continues to spread. Emberly and her partner, Jackson Miller, are desperately seeking the stolen research for a cure before the virus becomes a pandemic.

But their mission is jeopardized by another threat uncovered in Emberly’s prophetic dreams. A creature of ash and shadow has been unleashed on a murdering spree. Now Emberly must summon all her gifts and investigative knowledge to put an end to this entity’s brutal rampage—even if it means placing herself in harm’s way....

I love a strong but vulnerable heroine, especially a unique brand of character like Emberly being a Phoenix. She's incredibly powerful and yet not without limitations. She also had a huge weakness for saving others, which while not a bad thing moral wise, it's another story when it comes to her own safety. The risks she take for others is staggering, and I couldn't love her more for it. So much so that you can't help rooting for her even when you know it's almost pointless due the heartbreaking curse she's under in the romance department. I really hope to see that somehow resolve and break during this series even if I'm not the biggest fan of this "lifetime's" love. Emberly more than deserves a bit of real happiness, so as I said I'll be rooting for her.

I'm really enjoying the unique world behind this series. Not only is the main character a phoenix but the rest of the cast is very varied in species as well. This makesfor a fresh read especially now that we're two books and I have a better grasp on all that's involved. In my review of the last book I had expressed a bit of frustration with the lack of world building or full explanation of what was going on. I'm happy to say that wasn't a sticking point for me this time around. While there's still plenty of unanswered questions I didn't feel so in the dark and was able to fully immerse in the story. So if you read the first book and felt just a bit lost, I'm happy to report it's much another this time around.

All in all this was yet another fast paced and enjoyable read from one of my favorite authors. I know every time I pick up a Keri Arthur book, I'm going to have a solid block of entertainment, and this was no exception. I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy with a fresh world and great characters.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     a GREAT read
     Tome Tender
     Urban Fantasy Investigations

Previous Books:
     1. Fireborn  

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