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I Belong


Review: Flamebound by Tessa Adams

February 26th, 2017 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Roxanne under Review Tags: , , , ,

FlameboundTitle: Flamebound

Author: Tessa Adams

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Lone Star Witch (Book #2)

Publication Date: December 3, 2013

Format: Paperback, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0451415051 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0451415059 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

After Xandra’s nasty run in with the Arcadian Council of Witches—where she was almost killed and her boyfriend, Declan, was almost framed for it—her plan is to lay low and figure out why its members would torment the people they are supposed to protect. Declan, temperamental and protective warlock that he is, doesn’t feel so reticent. And when violence erupts again, there’s no stopping him from pursuing revenge…

When a council member is murdered in a fashion that screams dark magic, Declan claims someone else beat him to it. Xandra doesn’t want to believe he could commit such a brutal act, but she knows he has a dark side—one that his former love interest Tsura understands better than she ever will. With Tsura back in town, Xandra doesn’t know whom to trust. And a killer targeting witches and wizards is still at large…

Quick & Dirty: Trying to find a missing girl, and her family is under attack. Can Xandra and Declan figure it out?

Opening Sentence: “What are you doing?”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Xandra and Declan are mated, but she just really wants some time to figure out why the ACW attacked her and tried to frame her boyfriend. Before she can really catch her breath Nick comes to her and asks for help finding a little girl named Shelby who was kidnapped. Xandra asks Lilly for help and she does a reading, all the while Xandra has a bad feeling about this. She is surprised when she connects with her psychically, but she still can’t figure out who has her and why.

Before she can figure that all out she is compelled to find a body and when Xandra and Lily arrive, she is not shocked when Declan shows up and helps them find the body. When it turns out to be a member of the council she is sure Declan is involved but he claims someone beat him to it. Then another body turns up and it is a race against time to figure out who is killing council members.

Then when her family is attacked Xandra is sure it is retaliation for the attacks against the council. Can Xandra find Shelby? Can Xandra find out who is killing the council before her family is attacked again?

This book picks up shortly after the first one, and is pretty good. It does have so much going on, and jumps back and forth between things pretty quickly. In between all the action, Xandra and Declan are getting even cozier. I like the series, although it doesn’t quite live up to it’s full potential and never fully explains what is going on. By the end of this book it still isn’t quite clear why the council went to such horrible lengths to attempt to kill Xandra in book 1.

Xandra and Declan aren’t fully explained either. We know they are Soulbound from book 1, but their power and the reason they were bound at birth isn’t fully explored either. I was left wanting a little bit more.

Notable Scene:

A chill runs down my spine at the words, and the singsongy way Lilly says them. Her body’s right in front of me, but I know that she’s gone far away. I want to scream at her to come back, to tell her that it’s dangerous, but she wouldn’t thank me for it. This is what she does–what I asked her to do. It’s not her fault that I’m suddenly filled with an overwhelming trepidation, a sickness in my stomach that warns me this reading isn’t going to end as well as I had hoped.

Lone Star Witch Series:

1. Soulbound

2. Flamebound

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FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Flamebound. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: What’s Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass

February 25th, 2017 @ 1:16 pm
Posted by Michelle B. under Review Tags: , , , ,

What's Broken Between UsTitle: What’s Broken Between Us

AuthorAlexis Bass

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: December 29, 2015

Format:  Hardcover, 304 Pages

ISBN-100062275356 (HarperCollins)

ISBN-13: 978-0062275356 (HarperCollins)

Reviewed byMichelle

Synopsis:

A year and a half ago, Amanda Tart’s brother got behind the wheel drunk and killed his best friend. Today, he’s coming home from prison.

Amanda’s been the one living with the fallout, made worse by her brother’s recent unapologetic TV interview. People think he’s a monster. Still, she loves him. It’s her dark secret, until she starts getting close to Henry again–whose sister is paralyzed from the accident.

A year and a half ago, her brother destroyed his life. Now Amanda has to decide if she’ll let his choice destroy hers.

Quick & Dirty: A difficult subject overshadowed by too many elements.

Opening Sentence: PJ: Tell us in your own words what happened that night.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

There is something to be said about a sensitive topic in the Young Adult genre. There are many conversations to be had about the formidable years in high school, and the stories set during these years. For the most part, we readers, in this age group or not, relate. Alexis Bass’ What’s Broken Between Us pushes the envelope between safe and not, going on the brink of a reader’s comfort level.

What’s Broken Between Us is about Amanda – a young girl, attempting to blend in with the high school. But unfortunately, that is next to impossible, for Amanda lives in the shadow of her brother’s, Jonathan, actions. A night spun out of control leads to a fatality that is not easily forgiven. A year later, Jonathan has served his sentence and is finally out, and ready to move beyond his past.

Amanda was someone that wasn’t so easy for me to relate to. Amanda had so much inner turmoil to sift through. Her actions didn’t always portray what she felt, and at times I didn’t understand why certain things were done the way it happened.

Henry, for me, was a bit easy to get to know. His vulnerability was an open book, easy to grasp and comprehend. While it seemed he became the instigator or the interrogator, I could follow his thoughts and see what he wanted to know. Grief is a strong thing, and closure isn’t always something easily obtained.

Death is always a touchy subject, especially when it is caused by someone else, in such a manner. I am a lot older than Amanda, Jonathan, and Henry, and putting myself in their shoes – bringing myself back to that age – it made me feel uncomfortable.

In the end, I couldn’t completely relate and get into What’s Broken Between Us. There were too many details and plot points to sort through. One thing would lead to another and it catapulted the scene into another dramatic event.

Unfortunately, What’s Broken Between Us was not for me.

Notable Scene:

It’s all wrong, and I wonder if Graham can sense it too. A boy taking me out – all night, to be exact – wouldn’t have gotten away without a few threats from my older brother.

Jonathan stands there silently, leaning against the banister at the bottom of the stairs, watching as Standard Dad continues to take pictures and Mumsy instructs me on how to stand. I watch him right back. The forlorness seems to start at his toes, hitting his knees, then his hips, then his shoulders, finally presenting itself on his face. I wonder if he’s thinking about Grace. How at least he was able to give her the ultimate Garfield High experience, invites to the best parties, front-row seats at the football games, before he took away all the rest.

“Amanda, smile,” Mumsy says. And I do, because this is supposed to be a happy occasion, and I don’t want to ruin it.

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FTC Advisory: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of What’s Broken Between Us.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

February 24th, 2017 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Zed under Review Tags: , , , , ,

Long May She ReignTitle: Long May She Reign

Author: Rhiannon Thomas

Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 21, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062418688 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062418685 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of the court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

She may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, she knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom—and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisers. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

Quick & Dirty: A scientist for a queen and a deadly golden cake.

Opening Sentence: A hundred doves burst out of the pie.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Freya wants nothing more than to spend her days as a scientist, experimenting in her lab. But when most of the court dies at the King’s banquet, she becomes Queen by default. She was 23rd in line for the throne but through sheer bad luck, all previous heirs are dead and there’s a handful left to take the throne but Freya has the most legitimate claim.

“I mean no disrespect, Your Majesty,” Susan said, “but I do wish you hadn’t told her that. It’s no good to give them false hope. What these children need is food, a home, a chance for work when they’re older, maybe. Hope won’t keep them alive.”

It’s an odd story and I really liked Freya’s character; her awkwardness and logical thinking. Being queen means she’s stuck in a position she didn’t want, never imagined and that many of ‘her people’ are unhappy about. Plus, the real murderer is still out there and she needs to prove her innocence in order to be accepted as ruler.

I expected Fitzroy to be a bit of a troublemaker because initially he was an anomaly but he soon turns out to be pretty, well,  boring. He helps Freya lots with her experiments and it’s evident to all but her that he likes her, but besides being an admirer he didn’t add much to the story. Madeline and Naomi are Freya’s supportive best friends and I felt that they complimented the story well.

“Well, I assume it means you like me. But how do you like me? It’s an imprecise word, really, don’t you think? I mean, do you like me like I’m your friend, or do you like me like you-like me in a different way?”

My problem with Long May She Reign was that the book dragged longer than necessary. I’m sure the main points could have been covered in a far shorter space of time. Freya took an age to first accept her position as queen and then even more time to do something productive; her reign was as fun as watching paint dry. The story lacked humour, which for me is a must-have. I appreciate the serious undertone of ruling a Kingdom without supporters and trying to find a murderer but I’ve read bleaker tales that have managed to keep me engaged with a smile.

Notable Scene:

My father knelt with a group of men and women I vaguely recognised – some of the king’s old advisers, I thought. Torsten Wolff knelt by another pew, and Fitzroy. A smattering of people.

This couldn’t be everyone who had survived. It couldn’t be. The others must have simply stayed away, unwilling to see me crowned queen. That was all.

Don’t lie to yourself, I thought, anger rising out of nowhere. No one else was left.

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FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Long May She Reign. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Giveaway: Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis

February 23rd, 2017 @ 12:10 am
Posted by Kristie under Giveaway Tags: , , ,

Erika LewisToday we have a giveaway and review for Erika Lewis’ debut novel Game of Shadows. This is a novel about a teenage boy who learns he has a greater destiny after escaping his mother’s restricting lifestyle. There is a good reason for that lifestyle when many people from a magically hidden country want you dead. Game of Shadows is hopefully the beginning of an incredible new fantasy series! This novel will be released on February 28, 2017 from Tor/Macmillan. Check out my review below this post and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post.

One lucky reader will win a copy of Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis. This contest is graciously provided by Tor/Macmillan. This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses only.

About Erika:

Erika Lewis graduated from Vanderbilt University, and went on to earn an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing from Stony Brook University. She has had a successful career in television production for the past fifteen years, working with Sony (V.I.P, Strong Medicine), with Fireworks Television (La Femme Nikita, Andromeda, Mutant X, Strange Days at Blake Holsey High), with Fox (On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Ambush Makeover) and with G4 (Attack of the Show, X-Play). Erika is the author of The 49th Key, currently running in Heavy Metal Magazine, with the trade due out in the fall of 2016, and Firebrand with Legendary Comics, out in January of 2017. Game of Shadows is Erika’s debut novel.

You can visit Erica around the web here: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Want to read more from Erika Lewis?

Game of Shadows

______________________________________________________________________

contest

This contest is provided by Tor/Macmillan!

One lucky reader will win a copy of Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis!
(U.S. & Canada only)

Game of Shadows

Available February 28, 2017 from Tor/Macmillan

About this Book:

Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

Pre-Order from

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis

February 23rd, 2017 @ 12:08 am
Posted by Kristie under Review Tags: , , , ,

Game of ShadowsTitle: Game of Shadows

Author: Erika Lewis

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 0765381389 (Tor/Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0765381385 (Tor/Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

Quick & Dirty: Game of Shadows is an imaginative, non-stop action teen novel but with the main character’s abrasiveness and combativeness this story may not be for all readers.

Opening Sentence: “Ethan Makkai, freedom is a state of mind.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Game of Shadows is a YA teen fantasy novel geared toward the teen boy in your life. I only say this because I had a hard time really caring for the main character and the only way I could really understand him was to try to imagine myself as a young teenage boy having to deal with the issues that he has to and I would probably have the same attitude problems too. I’ll have more about this below. Game of Shadowsis about a teenaged boy who can see ghosts and because of this he has always been sheltered. His mother  never letting him leave her side no matter what. He never realized that his seeing ghosts was a part of a bigger story about a hidden world and that he is an heir to be a King of a land in Tara in this world. The concept of this hidden world of Tara is what really intrigued me about this story.

The story starts off with young Ethan Makkai having to deal with a smothering mother and a total bully at school. Ethan is not allowed to go anywhere without his mother by his side and because of that he has to endure needless torture from an annoying high school bully. It is Ethan’s birthday and he is really hoping that he can walk to school by himself like every other normal kid. Actually he is hoping to walk with his friend Skylar, the cute girl with an apartment by his that he secretly has a crush on with whom he used to be friends. Ethan decides that today is the day for freedom and he bolts on his mother when she went to go change for the walk to school. Ethan finally gets some alone time with Skylar but it soon ends when the bully targets Ethan finally without his mother. A fight breaks out but things get even stranger when birds start attacking Ethan. Then a strange man calling himself Ethan’s grandfather comes to the rescue saying that Ethan’s mother is in trouble. Ethan has been told he has no family. Ethan’s mother was kidnapped during the short time he was outside without her. The man claiming to be his grandfather knows where she has been taken. Ethan was never told anything about his heritage and has no idea about the strange things that the old man is talking about.

Once in Tara, Ethan begins making friends and enemies right away. He is dedicated to finding his mom no matter what could possible happen. Ethan goes on a journey throughout most of Tara searching for his mother and the evil Sorcerer whom had her kidnapped. During his journey he meets a lot of strange creatures and inhabitants of Tara.

I don’t think I would have had such a huge problem with Ethan if he had seemed to learn a lesson in the end about being so snotty. He does learn something but I still think he’s a bit immature to be a ruler. At the beginning, he isn’t nice with his mom, then he just takes off and he doesn’t help matters any during his “fight” with the bully. Of course, I’d probably have attitude problems too if I was smothered like that. Ethan is brash, impulsive and he just straight up likes to do his own thing. He doesn’t listen to anybody unless it suits him for what he needs and sometimes it works out while other times it does not.

Game of Shadows is told in the third person and occasionally jumps around to other characters but it mostly sticks with Ethan’s storyline. The worldbuilding is pretty cool. I really liked Tara and how it wasn’t completely Fae like I would have thought. The creatures were a little different than what I’m used to with the Irish/Scottish folklore. This book is definitely open ended for a sequel. I was a little thrown off since it did have an epilogue but it sets up a sequel and it hooked me enough that I would check out the next novel. I didn’t love this novel but I didn’t hate it either.

Notable Scene:

Runyun patted Christian on the back. “I like any man who enjoys beating the sense out of Julius Niles, no offense to the Niles present.”

“Offense taken,” Lily shot back.

She wasn’t the only one offended. For some reason, the fact that Runyun would tell Christian that he liked him didn’t sit well with Ethan. All he ever did was pick at Ethan, telling him exactly what was wrong with him. He couldn’t ride a horse, or use a sword, or build a fire. Pick. Pick. Pick. But Christian, he liked, and why not? His cousin had trained since birth. He was, to Runyun, what a perfect son would look like.

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FTC Advisory: Tor/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Game of Shadows. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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