Friday, November 27, 2015

Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost

Genre:  Adult Paranormal Romance
Night Prince Series, Book 3

Note:  This is the third book in a series that is a spinoff from another series.  If you don't want plots from earlier books slightly exposed, don't read anything in this post.  Your time would be better spent just starting the books from the very beginning.

Description (taken from Jeaniene Frost's website):
Play with fire, pay the price.

Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…

Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…

Leila has just become a new vampire and married the most infamous vampire in the world:  Vlad the Impaler.  After the last book ended with Vlad's arch nemesis announcing his alive status and declaring vengeance against Dracul, this book kind of starts off with a bang.  Leila is allowed to help Vald find this enemy as long as it doesn't compromise her safety.  Then he turns into a crazy guy trying to protect his bride.

Anyone who reads this book has the basic plotlines summed down; so I'm not going to dive into them.  But I will say I enjoyed this book.  And it's exactly what I'd expect from Jeaniene Frost: vampires, action, romance, and blood.  While reading this series is kind of turning me off from Vlad's character (he's a medieval psycho controller), I still enjoy the story.  But maybe I am hoping to see more of Cat and Bones in these books.

Another one for Jeaniene Frost fans.  It doesn't disappoint for sure...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy
Expected publication date:  January 26, 2016

Description (taken from Kali Wallace' website):
Breezy remembers leaving the party, the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to the face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain the necklace of bruises around her neck. She also can’t explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch.

Returning home seems impossible. Her parents and sisters have clearly grieved and struggled to move on, and Breezy can’t begin to answer their inevitable questions. Her heartbeat comes and goes, she doesn’t need to eat or drink, she can see the inky memories of murderers, and she can somehow pull on this dark guilt to kill them. Haunted by the happy memories from her life and disgusted by the half-dead creature she’s become, Breezy embarks on a reckless quest to find answers and a dangerous healing magic…but the cure is as dark and terrible as the disease.

Set in a gorgeous, terrifying world, Shallow Graves is a stunning novel about the heartbreaking trauma of a girl’s life cut short and her struggle to reconcile her humanity with the creature she’s become.

Breezy has just spent a year buried under the ground.  And now she's back from the dead with a creepy ability.  She initially spends her time hitch-hiking across the country.  At a truck stop, she meets a boy whose random act of kindness sets events into motion.  Breezy doesn't know what to make of her life, but she could sure use some help trying to straighten herself out.

As a reanimated corpse, Breezy can sense murderers in a crowd.  She can feel a killer instantly and desires the killer's life force.  But once she puts herself into questionable situations, she looks for help.  The only problem is the people who offer her help also offer another side of the world.  And it's not quite the help she could have imagined.  Can Breezy determine friend from foe quick enough before things get crazy?

The best way I can put this story is it was weird.  After finishing it, I'm still trying to puzzle out what the main point of the story was.  Maybe it's zombies need a reason to live too?  Or it's a discombulated collection of short stories thrown together without much explanation?  Without a good purpose, I found myself lost in the story without living the story.  It was weird, and I didn't really know what was going on.

I feel like I'm on a trend of reading books that are coming out next year and were only 'meh' for me.  I definitely recommend you find other reviews before giving this book a try.

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Genre:  YA Historical Fantasy
The Diviners Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Goodreads):
The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

The world of Diviners from the early 1900s is back.  Our beloved characters including Evie, Henry, Jericho, Mabel, and others are back for another paranormal story.  We also get introduced to new characters like Ling and learn a few more back stories.  We're in New York City where a sleeping sickness is terrorizing Chinatown.  Within the dream, there's a girl who promises you the riches of the world and all you have to do is dream with her.  The only catch is you'll never wake up.

Evie now has her own radio talkshow as a diviner, and she's all about stirring up drama in order to get a story in.  The only problem is some of these fake stories she comes up with begin to stir a little bit of truth around until no one's sure what's fake anymore.  But she's just a side character in this story.  Henry is the one who stands out.  We learn so much about his past in New Orleans and how his dream-walking ability works.  And when he meets another dream-walker named Ling, they find themselves in the perfect dreamworld never wanting to leave.  Yet at the same time, there are plenty of people dying from the sleeping sickness.  Will Henry and Ling have enough willpower to leave their dreams behind and combat the evil creating this sickness?

I've got two opinions on this book.  On the one hand, Libba Bray is an excellent story-teller.  She weaves so many stories together into one, and they all happen to perfectly follow the plot.  On the other hand, did you see how big that book was?!  This book was huge and took a really long time to read.  But I don't want to say I wish it were shorter.  Maybe I just wish I read faster...

This series is from an interesting era where superstition and mysticism still existed.  And if you're a fan of historical paranormal fiction, I think you're going to love these books.  You just kind of have to get over how big the books are (still worth it).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth

Genre:  YA Paranormal Fantasy
Expected publication date:  January 12, 2016

Description (taken from Goodreads):
“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.

She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.

On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…

Kenna is with her best friend Blake at an indie folk concert.  Everything seems to be going well for these maybe-more-than-best friends.  Blake surprised her by signing her up for the song competition.  And while Kenna is struggling with crowd butterflies, she performs her song well.  What seems to go down as the best night in history suddenly takes a turn for the worst when her past jumps into the present.

Kenna's mother only wants to protect her daughters, but she doesn't know how to help Kenna besides taking her to Eclipse.  And when Kenna is left there, she meets people who are like her.  She learns more about their way of life and realizes she's in paradise.  They have a laid-back way to life and don't have a lot of technology getting in the way.  But when Kenna's life from the real-world starts to invade her Eclipse-life, Kenna starts to suspect weird happenings.  In the end, Kenna is left with a choice that will ultimately define her future.

This was a fairly quick and easy read that had a unique paranormal piece.  But the feelings Kenna experiences with her abilities sounded way too much like someone in the real world doing drugs.  And while I could draw some parallels with the paranormal, I still felt like there was way too much drug-like sensations occurring in this book.  It ruined the story for me.  Minus the unique paranormal and my associating the story with drugs, you've got a pretty basic plotline for the story.

This one's probably going to be a love it or hate it.  I can see a lot of people being blown away by this novel as something new and cool.  But I can also see others calling it a knock-off of other things.  And then, maybe there will be people like me that just can't get rid of the drug-association.

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

Friday, October 30, 2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Six of Crows Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

In the slums of Ketterdam, Kaz is known as Dirtyhands, and he is well-known in the city.  This story starts off with him and his crew meeting another gang to discuss terms.  When this deal turns sour, we get a chance to see other members of his crew: Jesper the sharpshotter and Inej the Wraith.  Inej is the silent right-hand whose currency is information.  She knows everyone's dirty secrets because no one hears her coming.  And Jesper is always looking for a fight and action.  But when a job offer is brought to Kaz' attention, he finds it too good to refuse.

Kaz must pick his crew carefully to make sure no one backstabs him.  He turns to a Grisha who has connections to a convict that can help.  And the Grisha has a vested interest in this mission.  But these alliances are barely forged in trust and mainly rely on debts owed.  As the crew sets sail to break into an unbreakable city, we see how much this crew is willing to go through to finish the job and survive.

This was a good start to a new series set in the World of Grisha.  I enjoyed all of the characters and learning their backstories.  These little stories helped further the main story along.  And each chapter was from a different character's perspective and still fairly easy to follow.  We see a couple of love interests and coming-of-age things within the story.  And then it sets up for a cliffhanger to make you dying to read the next one.  Unfortunately, I have a while to wait.

For those who have never read Leigh Bardugo's books, I definitely recommend they start with Shadow and Bone.  I feel like this series is going to be a fun one, but I don't know if it'll live up to the other series.

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