Thursday, December 31, 2015

Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

Genre:  Adult Urban Fantasy
Menagerie Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Rachel Vincent's website):
When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she discovers a fierce creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, she's forced to "perform" in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Her handler is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions” are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Delilah lives in a world with paranormal beings.  And humans are still recovering from a brutal point in history between themselves and the paranormal.  In this world, the paranormal is put on display as creatures in a traveling carnival.  And as much as Delilah disagrees with the circumstances, she is still very captivated by it all.  That is until she finds out she's not human and the menagerie takes her as an exhibit.

When Delilah is forced into the traveling circus, she finds how lowly people think of the paranormal.  And how inhumane they are treated.  But as she and her handler try to determine just what she is, they find it's a race of wits and control to get what they want.  The menagerie is meant to scare the humans with the paranormal.  But what you find behind closed doors makes your heart break.

This book is shrouded in mystery.  The cover doesn't give any hints about the book, and the description is as vague as can be.  I will admit, I picked up this book because of the author and the title, and I was definitely blown away with what I got.  It was so different than what I expected.  The best description I can give is it's as if you told your favorite paranormal author to write The Night Circus.  Even though these two books are completely different and only have a common theme revolving around a traveling circus.  I have no other description for it.  But I loved it.

This is a book that didn't deliver on my expectations because my expectations were so off base.  I feel like paranormal fans just need to dive into this one and read it.  Hopefully, you won't regret it.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Soundless by Richelle Mead

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Description (taken from Richelle Mead's website):
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever....

Fei is a prestigious painter in her village on top of the mountain.  She paints the daily events for the rest of the village to see and as a record for future generations.  The village has no way of growing its own food, but a zipline from the village in the valley provides food as long as they give it precious metals from the mine in the mountain.  But when food supplies start to dwindle, Fei questions whether the current system will sustain her village.

Li Wei is a miner who has known Fei since they were young.  With his father's increasing blindness, the mine has become unsafe.  And he's convinced he can change the current system if he can only get down the cliffside into the valley's village.  And when Fei hears of his plans, she wants to accompany him and help.  Together, the two of them will change their village's way of life.

This book contains fantasy, romance, mysticism, bravery, and it's all based off of folklore.  And while the intriguing storyline had me excited to read this one, I found it kind of boring.  I tried really hard to like this book because the two main characters are just so easy to fall in love with.  And as the story progresses, we see injustices as well as fantasy.  But I just got really bored with it.

This definitely isn't one of my favorites of Richelle Mead's.  And I'm definitely happy it's not a series.  But I think you should read other reviews before deciding against this one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ungodly by Kendare Blake

Genre:  YA Mythology
The Goddess Wars Series, Book 3

Note:  This is the third book in a series.  Plots from earlier books might be mentioned below.

Description (taken from Kendare Blake's website):
As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in the final Goddess War novel by the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.

So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.

And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

The war began on Olympus in the last book.  And it went horribly awry.  With the characters we love getting separated and retreating, we seem to end up in three different stories.  And as they plan the next course of action, we find their stories merging once again for an epic finale.

Athena realized too late that she had fallen in love.  And she will do anything to save him and get the chance to tell him her feelings.  And that's why she's still stuck in the Underworld between life and death.  Cassandra was brutally betrayed by Athena and wants all of the gods dead.  So when she finds the God of Death, they become an interesting duo.  But it's not enough of a distraction to keep her from her vengeance.  And as for Andie, Henry, and Hermes?  They've gone home and are desperately trying to keep the past from catching up to them.  They would much rather forget about the war going on instead of being an instrument in it.

This is another concluding series that I kind of wish I had read closer to the last book.  I was completely hooked to the story and following it easily.  I just honestly don't have much of a recollection with what happened on Olympus.  My memory was a little hazy.  And I feel I might have enjoyed this one more if I remembered.  But besides that, this was still an excellent modern mythology story involving characters from the infamous Trojan War.

I think mythology fans will enjoy this one.  It definitely introduces the ones we know as well as a few lesser known gods.  It's fun.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L Armentrout

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
The Dark Elements Series, Book 3

Note:  This is the third and final book in the series.  Plots from earlier books could spoil if you read on...

Description (taken from Jennifer L Armentrout's website):
Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

The Lilin has been revealed.  And who he is has terrible consequences.  But it's hard to think about that when you've got Roth on one hand and Zayne on the other.  With the last book in the series, we finally get to see who Layla chooses.

After the fallout of the Lilin and the Wardens betrayal, Layla seeks sanctuary from a couple of demons.  And while she grew up thinking they were pure evil, she finds out not all beings are black and white like the stories.  And what's even worse is her best friend is gone.  And she's going to fight for his soul whether that means going to the underworld to bargain with demons or yelling at the angels on high.  She's going to destroy the Lilin and protect the ones she loves.

This book was a good ending to a fun series.  And I loved the plot as it followed Layla when she bargained with higher level demons.  But the steaminess of Roth and Zayne?  I think I've been away from the series too long.  I was happy she finally picked one of the guys.  But I wasn't super in love anymore.  I wish less time had gone in between reading the books.

This a series you should definitely read from start to finish without too much time in between.  It's for the paranormal romance fans out there.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Fistful of Fire by Rebecca Chastain

Genre:  Adult Paranormal Fantasy 
Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Rebecca Chastian's website):
Madison Fox survived her first week as California’s newest illuminant enforcer, defending her region against imps, vervet, hounds, and one lascivious demon. If her grumpy boss, Mr. Pitt, was impressed, he hasn’t told Madison. In fact, there’s a lot her boss has been closemouthed about, like the dark secret haunting his past.

But Madison’s problems are just igniting. Neighboring regions report an uncharacteristic flare-up of evil, fire-breathing salamanders blaze unchecked across the city, and Black Friday looms. Trapped doing cleanup amid mobs of holiday shoppers, Madison watches from the sidelines as dubious allies insinuate themselves in her region.

As suspicions kindle and the mysterious evil gains strength, Madison must determine who she can trust—and whose rules to follow—before her region and career go up in flames.

Madison's new job as an illuminant enforcer started off with a bang.  As seen from the first book, we know Madison is really new to her abilities and destroying evil.  But she's quick enough on her toes to keep herself from getting killed.  But will the new evil lurking around the corner be able to get the best of her this time?

As evil seems to be at a higher level in all neighboring regions around Madison's, other enforcers and wardens begin to suspect Madison and Mr. Pitt.  After all, Madison took down a demon when a newbie like her shouldn't have been able to do that.  So the other wardens push her to doing remedial work in a mall for a couple of days while the experienced enforcers try to take down the spreading evil.  But there's a power nearby that's got Madison hooked.  And for better or worse, she's going to investigate it.

This is a series that has the ability to continue to grow on you.  We learn more about Madison's good vs. evil world and the creatures within it.  And there's some new appearances and twists that make you question those labeled good.  Lots of moments in this story made me smile and giggle.  It's a lot of action, humor, and luck combined into one hat keeps you turning the page for more.

This series is for paranormal fans who want to be detectives.  And be ready for the humor.

Thanks goes to Rebecca Chastain for providing me a review copy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Expected publication date:  February 9, 2016

Description (taken from Sophie Jordan's website):
A world of darkness. A love that shines.
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness, and in the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, the kingdom’s lost princess, has been locked away in a tower in the cursed Black Woods ever since. Luna’s survival depends entirely on the world believing she is dead...
But that doesn’t stop Luna from longing for a life beyond the stifling tower walls. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer who has braved the Black Woods in search of a land where the sun still shines, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk.
When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is far more treacherous than Luna ever realized. Hideous, flesh-hungry creatures lurk behind every corner and each stranger they encounter has frightening ulterior motives.
With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

Luna has spent her entire life sheltered behind a tower's walls.  Raised by a lady's maid and a hunter, she's known who she is and why she must remain in hiding.  For the world is always dark, and there are more than just monsters out there looking for a kill.  But she's ready to go out into the world.  There has to be more to life than trying to avoid the monsters.  And when she meets Fowler, he helps her leave the walls behind.

Fowler is convinced there is a land that isn't covered in eternal darkness.  And he offers to take Luna there.  But as they continue on this path, secrets begin to unravel.  And the new king has executed an order that may endanger their plans.  When secrets are revealed and loyalties are tested, will Fowler and Luna still help each other in a world of darkness?

This book has a nice fairy-tale ring to it without really pulling from one singular fairy tale.  There are a lot of unique pieces to the story and some secrets aren't revealed just yet.  But you do have the classic love story unfold; I mean what did you expect?  Overall, it's a good beginning.  But there better be more coming...

I think Sophie Jordan fans won't be disappointed.  It's a fun and quick magical read to get through.

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