Sunday, May 29, 2016

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

Genre:  Adult Paranormal Short Stories
Otherworld Stories, Book 3

Description (taken from Kelley Armstrong's website):
The first of three Otherworld collections pulling together previously published stories along with new material.

Collection Contents

1) Demonology – Adam’s mother discovers what he is
2) Stalked – Clay/Elena honeymoon story from “My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon” & The Hunter & the Hunted
3) Hidden – SubPress 2012 Elena/Clay novella
4) Twilight – my unfortunately-titled Cass story from “Many Bloody Returns”
5) Chivalrous – Reese’s backstory from SubPress’s long sold-out “Tales of Dark Fantasy 2”
6) Lucifer’s Daughter – Hope/Karl story from “Blood Lite 2”
7) From Russia with Love – Elena bonus story included with hardcover of Thirteen
8) Vanishing Act – brand-new Savannah/Adam novella set after Thirteen

I'm going to keep my review very short because obviously, you're not going to read this collection of short stories unless you've read the series...  One of my favorite series to read, and it's one of those where I definitely did not feel like the last few books were lacking.  I was so sad to see it end.  But these short stories give us a small moment to go back to this world and see how the characters are doing.

While I would like to say I had never read these short stories until picking up the book, I have no idea if that's the case.  Either I had read some years ago and it still felt fresh this time around.  Or they were new.  But I loved spending an hour in Elena's world.  And then jumping into Savannah's world.  While some of the stories regarded other werewolves that I wasn't as familiar with, I still wanted more.

Definitely worth your time if you're already a major fan of the Otherworld series.  I'm going to have to grab the next short story book.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Red Queen Series, Book 2

Note:  This is the second book in a series.  I believe that's enough warning...

Description (taken from Victoria Aveyard's website):
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

This book picks up right where the first one ended: with Mare and Cal running from the treacherous King Maven.  Cal has lost his crown and Mare has escaped a death sentence.  But when they seek sanctuary with the Scarlet Guard, they find a lot more than they bargained for.

Mare is determined to save as many Reds with Silver abilities as possible before Maven has a chance to get to them.  She always gives them a choice to join her cause or run.  But even when she's hidden behind this choice, is it really a choice?  Or is she so blinded by blood that she will do anything to save people like her and destroy Maven?  And then we have Cal.  Once blinded by blood, but now there's no where for him to stand.  So why stay and fight for the other side?

I am so frustrated with this book.  And I'm frustrated with the fact that I can't tell you why I'm frustrated.  About fifty pages into this book, I determined it was going to be *yawn* a cliché second book.  And it did not prove me wrong.  There were many places within the book that had me hooked and heart-racing.  But it was like a countdown of the expected events.  However I did kind of really enjoy the last ten pages (I give full permission for judgement).

Frustrated camper here.  But I'm going to continue the series.

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Genre:  YA Historical Comedy
Expected publication date:  June 7, 2016

Description (taken from Cynthia Hand's website):
For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey, written by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

A lot of historical English buffs are fascinated with the era of King Henry VIII.  But does anyone know what happened after his death?  This story is a re-imagining of what happens after King  Henry and King Edward's death.  But I'll give you a little spoiler.  It absolutely does not follow our history books at all.  This story's a little more comedic and fun-loving than the real history.

In Edward, Jane, and Gifford's world, there's a struggle between plain old humans and those who can shape-shift into an animal.  When King Henry accidentally outed himself as a shape-shifter in a very public setting, he began to support shape-shifting rights.  But after his death and with Edward's reign, things become a little wishy-washy.  Who does the royal family support?  And as the mysterious Jane steps up to the throne, what else could go wrong?  In this world?  A lot.

This story is very much a romantic comedy.  It makes light of a pretty depressing past that England has.  And the retelling is definitely funner to follow.  And while I really enjoyed the story, I have mixed feelings because I have read the history books.  I do know what happened.  And every time this book made me giggle and laugh, I wondered if I should be feeling guilty since that definitely wasn't what happened in the history books.  Eventually, you just can't compare the two and have to accept this is a work of fiction.

I picked this one up because of the trio of authors.  And I think anyone who enjoys these authors is not going to be disappointed...

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Everlife Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Gena Showalter's website):

Tenley "Ten" Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms that will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she's drawn to isn't home to the boy she's falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

In Ten's world, everyone knows what happens after death.  In fact, people pledge themselves to one of the two realms before they die.  There is Troika, a realm with eternal sunshine that values human life and choice above all else.  Then there is Myriad, a realm in the moonlight that values victory and winning above all else.  While Troika will give you a family and support you in the afterlife, Myriad will give you things you can only dream of if you are wanted.  But once you've pledged yourself, there's no going back.  And even if you know what happens in the second life, you don't really know until you die in the first one.

While locked up in an asylum that is good at making its patients choose the realm they've been paid to get them to choose, Ten has refused to pick.  Her father's contract with Myriad is on the line if she doesn't sign with them.  So they put her through all torture until she joins them.  But two laborers appear in the asylum.  They're there to pull her one way or the other.  But even in the end, it is her choice and one she must live with -or die with.

In the beginning, I was confused with how this world worked.  Two realms in the after life, got it.  But does everyone in this first life know about that?  Or only those that are being recruited?  I wasn't really sure.  And without this complete background, I grew skeptical of the story.  Not to mention the boy involved in the romance drove me nuts.  There were moments where I was engrossed in the story and wanted to know what happened.  But now that I've finished it?  I still don't really understand what the book was about other than choosing a side.  Heaven and hell?

I think this is going to be one of those books where you either love it or hate it.  Unless you're me; then you just think it's okay.  I'm not sure what to think with this one.

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

Genre:  YA Detective

Description (taken from Kelley Armstrong's website):
Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to find out that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

Riley suffers from PTSD after having witnessed a murder while babysitting a little girl.  She hasn't been able to move on and be normal.  So one weekend, she finds herself at therapy camp along with other troubled teens.  But when masked gunmen interrupt this weekend therapy, it seems Riley will have to relive her nightmares.

Max is an average 18-year-old who moved from the UK to the USA in order to get away from his past.  He's trying to move on with the life he has, but things can be difficult.  And while he spends his time in the back of therapy making snide remarks over everyone else's problems, it seems like he's never going to open up about why he's there in the first place.  And then the gunmen arrive.

This is a classic adrenaline-rush, escape-the-killers, who-dunnit story.  You've got an industrial building with no windows and crazy teenagers stuck together for the weekend.  And stuff just happens to go wrong when kidnappers come in and take them hostage.  I followed the story pretty well and had most things figured out.  And I enjoyed the rhetoric between the characters.  Even though they considered themselves psychologically damaged, they still worked to survive.

An easy story that I think mystery readers will like.  You'll want to keep reading to make sure time hasn't ran out for the characters.

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