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I Belong

Review: Dreamworld by Kit Alloway

March 27th, 2017 Kristie Posted in Review No Comments »

DreamworldTitle: Dreamworld

Author: Kit Alloway

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Dream Walker (Books #1 & #2)

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Format: Paperback, 704 Pages

ISBN-10: 1250122511 (St. Martin’s Griffin)

ISBN-13: 978-1250122513 (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

Kit Alloway’s Dreamfire and Dreamfever are now available in paperback for the first time, together in one stunning package. Discover the exciting and turbulent world of the Dreamwalker in this convenient bind-up.

Unlike most 17-year-olds, Joshlyn Weaver has a sacred duty. She’s the celebrated daughter of the dreamwalkers, a secret society whose members enter the Dream universe we all share and battle nightmares. If they fail, the emotional turmoil in the Dream could boil over and release nightmares into the World.

Despite Josh’s reputation as a dream walking prodigy, she’s haunted by her mistakes. A lapse in judgment and the death of someone she loved have shaken her confidence. Now she’s been assigned an apprentice, a boy whose steady gaze sees right through her, and she’s almost as afraid of getting close to him as she is of getting him killed.

But when strangers with impossible powers begin appearing in the Dream, it isn’t just Will that Josh has to protect–it’s the whole World.

Quick & Dirty: Creative story where nightmares can have deadly consequences. I recommend for fans who want to try a paranormal of a different type.

Opening Sentence: The sewer wasn’t the worst place for a nightmare, Josh Weaver admitted to herself as she fumbled with the boxy, rose-gold lighter in her hand.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

The Dreamworld collection is two books in one, Dreamfire and Dreamfever. This series is set in a modern-day world where hidden groups of families all walk into people’s dreams to help solve nightmares because if the terror gets too great then it will overcome the dreams and come to the real world.

Dreamfire

Dreamfire sets up a creative world where people known as Dream Walkers go into nightmares in order to resolve them so that their terrors won’t bleed over into the real world and cause destruction. Joshlyn Weaver is a gifted dream walker. At seventeen she is one of the best dream walkers around but she is withholding a dark, deadly secret that continuously eats her up inside. Josh is given a prophecy scroll during her birthday party, she doesn’t want to open it after she saw how it destroyed someone close to her after they opened their scroll. She is told that she is to expect an apprentice to show up at a certain time.

Will Kansas unwittingly finds himself becoming an apprentice to Josh when she realizes that he has a naturally talent for dream walking. Will is drawn into a close-knit group of families and friends who all have this weird talent. In the meantime, dreamers are being hunted down and their souls are stolen so they never wake up again. Josh is trying to track down these mysterious men without any more people losing their souls.

Josh is in a bad place when this novel starts. She devotes herself to her dream walking which she believes is the only thing that she is good at. Will coming into her life is a good thing. He begins to ground her and even help her realize some of the mistakes that she is making. Will has his own complicated background that he is trying to run away from because he is constantly scared that he will give in to his terrors.

There are some creative names within this series. I love the use of different and strange names but I will say that I did have issues with the whole male/female switch to the names and that did confuse me at times. The book does come with a list of the character names at the beginning I think just because of this. Josh for the female lead, then Lauren (female spelling) and Haley are two of the males while Winsor and Whim are non-specific. It took me over half the novel to get the names straight without having to go back and remember who was who again.

Overall, the first book is full of secrets and hard won truths. There is quite a bit of action and some terribly imaginative nightmares.

Dreamfever

The second novel in this series is where things really start to fall apart. As the second book in a trilogy, I’m not really surprised. A few months have passed since the ending of Dreamfire, just long enough for Josh, Will and Haley to heal from the wounds they received after their fight with Feodor. Unfortunately, Josh and Will have more than just wounds to heal, they have other issues that they must work through. Issues that seem them grow further and further apart.

Josh and Will go into a dream in order to work on some of their fears when they run into a strange person that wasn’t a dreamer in the dream. They pull her out of the dream into the world only to find out she is the long-lost princess of the Dream Walkers. Complicating matters, Josh’s grandfather is leading the charge for a whole new government over the Dream Walkers and it doesn’t include royalty. He is also undermining Josh and trying to figure out what powers she holds over the dream world.

This novel was quite a bit of a downer because almost all of the characters are fighting each other and dealing with some very terrible demons. Also, Josh literally has to make a deal with the devil in order to fight her grandfather who is trying to tear apart the dream world for his own gains.

Prepare for quite a bit of science speak. The characters discuss a lot of dream theory. There is more mystery and infighting than action but when stuff starts going the novel goes quickly. There is a resolution to the main story that they are against in this novel and it sets up the final book in the trilogy. I cannot wait to read the final installment because I really want to know how this story will play out. I’m not really sure how everyone will get their happy ending.

Dream Walker Series:

1./2. Dreamworld (Dreamfire & Dreamfever)

3. Dream Forever

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FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Dreamworld. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Fragile Destiny by Suzanne Lazear

March 26th, 2017 Roxanne Posted in Review No Comments »

Fragile DestinyTitle: Fragile Destiny

Author: Suzanne Lazear

Genre: YA Steampunk

Series: Aether Chronicles (Book #3)

Publication Date: August 8, 2014

Format: Paperback, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 0738739863 (Flux)

ISBN-13: 978-0738739861 (Flux)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

Noli and her true love V fear the worst if the Staff of Eris—a potent Otherworld relic—falls into the wrong hands. Broken into pieces and hidden in the mortal realm long ago, the staff bestows vast powers on whoever possesses it. Ciarán, the dark king, is trying to rebuild the staff, intending to use it to install a new queen.

In a desperate effort to keep the Otherworld from falling into darkness, Noli and V plot the daring theft of a jewel Ciarán needs to complete the staff. But Ciarán is not so easily defeated. Through his devious machinations, he has set a plan in motion for a final showdown that will decide who rules the Otherworld once and for all.

Quick & Dirty: Will Noli be able to help V take back his kingdom?

Opening Sentence: “Where are we going, Quinn?”

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Noli is back and working desperately with Steven in order to stop King Brogan from putting together a missing staff. Meanwhile, Elise shows up in the otherworld and Kevighn brings her to the dark court after leaving Noli. Kevighn and the dark court are also working on finding all the pieces to the missing staff. They don’t want King Brogan to get all the pieces either.

Noli and Steven make a daring plan to steal the jewel needed to work the staff. They are successful but shocked the next day when they find out that someone else stole the fake jewel they put in place of the real one. But Brogan knows what they are up too and it leads to a confrontation that will change everything.

Normally I would provide more of the plot, but really from that point on it’s a lot of spoilers and since this is the conclusion to the trilogy, I think it’s simpler if I leave it out and talk about these books for a moment. I read the first two books in order to review the third, and while we all know steampunk is pretty hit or miss for me for the most part, I really enjoyed this series. I liked the mixing of steampunk with Fae. I adored Noli in book 1, and through most of the series. However, this doesn’t happen all the time but occasionally I find that I don’t care for the main ship. I really didn’t like Noli and Steven.

I mean to say I thought it was weird and rushed in the first book, plus with the introduction of Kevighn and his feelings for Noli, I admit I was invested in seeing if something would happen with them. It isn’t a love triangle on any level because other than the connection they have on Noli’s part there are no moments of her being torn between the two guys. So yes, I shipped something that was hinted at in the first book but never really explored. The author did keep Kevighn hanging on in all 3 books, but I am not sure why he really didn’t add to the plot nor was he an actual contender for her heart.

This last book really cemented for me that I didn’t like Steven and Noli, given his immediate reaction and response when some things happen just further made me dislike them. I am probably not the only person to feel this way, but it made the last book for me feel weird and I wasn’t happy with it. It felt like the author introduced doubts and problems and then just glossed over them for the sake of ending the book and the relationships on a happy note. So while I enjoyed the trilogy over all, I wasn’t blown away by the ending.

Notable Scene:

The little girl clutched Kevighn’s hand tightly as he led her through the Blackwoods. Dark and ominous in an entirely different way than where’d they’d been before. They were one of the oldest places in the Otherworld, filled with strange plants and even stranger creatures. If the mortal Brother’s Grimm actually possessed imaginations the worlds in their stories may have looked like this. It was also deep with dark court territory and home to many.

The Aether Chronicles:

1. Innocent Darkness

2. Charmed Vengeance

3. Fragile Destiny

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FTC Advisory: Flux provided me with a copy of Fragile Destiny. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. Jackson

March 25th, 2017 Roxanne Posted in Review No Comments »

Come to Me RecklesslyTitle: Come To Me Recklessly

Author: A.L. Jackson

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Closer to You (Book #3)

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Format: Paperback, 448 Pages

ISBN-10: 0451472012 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0451472014 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Come to Me Softly comes another irresistible new adult romance in the Closer to You series.

His heart was turned off…
Until she turned him on…

Christopher Moore gave up on the idea of love years ago. Now, his life is an endless string of parties and an even longer string of girls. Enjoying the physical perks with none of the emotional mess, he’s convinced everyone that he’s satisfied—everyone but himself.

Samantha Schultz has moved on with her life. Finishing her student teaching and living with her boyfriend, she’s deluded herself into believing she’s content. But there is one boy she never forgot—her first love—and she keeps the memory of him locked up tight. She will never allow any man to break her the way Christopher did.

When Christopher’s sister and her family move into a new neighborhood, Christopher is completely unprepared to find Samantha living at the end of the street. Memories and unspent desires send them on collision course of sex, lies, and lust. But when guilt and fear send Samantha running, Christopher will have to fight for what has always been his.

Quick & Dirty: Can a first love overcome years of neglect, lies and betrayal?

Opening Sentence: There are few things that hurt so much as a broken heart.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Samantha has moved on with her life, at least that is what she keeps telling herself until she runs into Aly in Target and immediately is devastated at the thought of Christopher. She hesitantly agrees to rekindle her friendship with Aly and Jared. She does hide the relationship from Ben, and everything is going well until Christopher shows up at Aly’s house and is immediately returned to the past. When he tells her to leave him and his family alone, Samantha agrees. She just can’t let go of the hurt.

Aly just won’t let it go, and she thinks that they both need to forgive each other in order to move on. After another encounter leaves Samantha in tears, Christopher begins to take steps to make peace between them. He starts sending her flowers and asking for her forgiveness, even though he is angry that she left him. Something happened in the past that made Samantha break up with Christopher and unbeknownst to Christopher, she witnessed something that drove her to never talk to him again.

As they slowly work on their friendship, Samantha is torn because she is still hiding all of this from Ben and while she knows she isn’t cheating, she isn’t exactly doing the right thing either.  Every time she tries to tell Ben about Aly, at least he throws a major fit, and so she just keeps lying to him. Until one weekend he is away and she stays over with Christopher and everything changes between them. Will Samantha finally tell Ben the truth? Will Christopher come clean to Samantha? Will they be able to overcome the past and build a future?

First, I must get all of my complaints out of the way. I sincerely dislike the cheating. I am not a fan of that in stories on any level. I felt that really took away from the story, every time I was ready to for them to be together, I remembered Ben and felt icky. She does come clean, and Ben is clearly written to be a major butt so I didn’t feel too sorry for him. However, I don’t feel that excuses bad behavior, and it was glossed over by the fact that the MC was timid in some ways and just growing into herself. I hate that….it doesn’t take a whole lot of character to be honest. It doesn’t, and granted Ben is a controlling butt and there is nothing redeeming about him at all, at the end of the day he didn’t cause her to cheat. Her unwillingness to handle the situation or to be honest with herself and others did that.

Now that is out of the way, I loved Samantha and Christopher. I just wish that whole part of the plot wasn’t in there or that she dumped Ben sooner. I felt like we took a lot of time to get to them being together. But I did love it, it was a slow burn with some serious hotness! I am kind of sad there are no more books in this series. It was great to see Aly and Jared again, and really get to know Christopher this time.

Notable Scene:

Emotions strangled me, my love endless and overflowing. Without question. At the same time, some piece of Christopher’s love seemed just out my reach, doubt Ben had spurred infiltrating the space that had seemed so solid when I walked out the door this morning.

Closer to You Series:

1. Come to Me Quietly

2. Come to Me Softly

3. Come to Me Recklessly

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

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Early Review: A Soul to Take by Emily Taylor

March 23rd, 2017 Kristie Posted in Review No Comments »

A Soul to TakeTitle: A Soul to Take

Author: Emily Taylor

Genre: NA Paranormal

Series: Soul Stealers Trilogy (Book #1)

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Format: Paperback, 480 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-1942111078 (REUTS)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

The world has changed: demons of legend now live among humans, integrated into society through Government programs, wishing for peace.

Elixia Albelin, however, isn’t sold. As an Agent-in-training, she knows firsthand the blood-thirst of demons and isn’t jumping to befriend the monsters plaguing her dreams.
But when a mission sours, Elixia’s sister is caught in the crossfire: taken. Abandoned by those meant to protect her family, Elixia is left with only one option if she wants to retrieve her sister—a taboo option that goes against everything she believes in.

She must sell her soul.

Now, bound to a beast and living on borrowed time, Elixia has to navigate the demonic world to find her sister within a cesspool of human traffickers and serial killers. Enemies control her fate, the simplest truths are questioned, and misperceptions must be shattered. Only one thing remains consistent—Elixia must find her sister before time runs out. Or become the very thing she fears most: a soulless monster.

Gritty, powerful, and exciting, A Soul to Take is a gripping debut that explores prejudice, justice, and the consequences one family faces when those two collide.

Quick & Dirty: Solid start to a new series that has a feel of urban fantasy, alternate history and science fiction.

Opening Sentence: The goblin’s tar-black skin reflected the blood moon as it scaled the old museum’s exterior.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

A Soul to Take by Emily Taylor is a promising start to a crazy new trilogy about demons and the humans who have to deal with them walking freely in the world. I really liked the idea that humans knew about demons in this dark, dreary and quite rainy world. The story wasn’t quite what I was expecting but the more I read of the story the more that I got invested in the character of Elixia and what was happening to her. I would recommend this story for those who like reading from authors from other countries that use their lingo and slang. I love experiencing other cultures this way especially since I will probably never be able to travel there. (In this case, the author is Australian, at least that is what Goodreads says.)

Elixia has a grudge against demons. This grudge has fueled everything that she has done in life which includes joining the Agency, a job that lets her track down demons within the law because demons now have rights like all human beings. Elixia is in the middle of an assignment when a demon derails her job by killing her and kidnapping her sister, Shellie. When Elixia is “killed” she made a deal with the devil, in a manner of speaking, which brings her back Marked. As a Marked, she is under a contract with a demon who keeps her alive until she can get whatever task that she made a deal about is done. Except not all is as it seems and Elixia’s deal isn’t at all what she thought it was. Shrouded in a bunch of secrecy, Elixia is led down a path that forces her to look to her past if she wants to get her Mark removed and her sister found.

Elixia’s demon guardian/escort is Sebastian. He is a sexy, tormented demon who tries to look after Elixia’s welfare but she certainly makes him work. Sebastian won’t tell her anything, just that he will help her get her sister back but they still have to figure out who is holding her and why. The story that follows has Elixia dealing with deceptive humans, sadistic demons, terrifying humanoids and stolen souls.

Elixia is heir to a Media Empire that has her sitting pretty but she is no socialite. She hates everything about the society and only uses what she needs to do to get by. She only started uses the sources available to her to help her find her sister. Elixia can be a bit abrasive at times but when it comes to her sister she is quite self-less. She is convinced that her life is over after her sister is found so she makes sure that her sister has everything that she will need when Elixia is gone.

My biggest beef with the story is I’m not entirely sure the time period this is set in because the date the story takes place is in the 1860’s and in the 17th century there was the demon revolution or whatever but there is clearly modern technology and even more advanced technology talked about. I guess because it is clearly an alternate world, they had the advances in technology way earlier? I would have like to have more detail how this world developed especially with the dates being what they were because I honestly thought it was set modern day until they showed the date. After this twist, I couldn’t decide if carriage meant car or a vintage horse drawn carriage because the author did twist between car and carriage in the story.

I read an ARC of this novel which was riddled with missing and misspelled words. Also, the format didn’t work well with my Kindle so I did have a hard time with conversations, I couldn’t tell if sentences went with one person or someone else so I did have to reread a bunch of conversations over and over again. With ARC’s I try not to let this get to me because I hope the released version will be fully fleshed out.

There is one other thing that I never quite understood and I hope it will be explained better in the sequel but I never quite understood the whole Sebastian/Damien thing. I was confused how she didn’t recognize him at first but if there were looks involved I don’t think it translated well to what was going on. I won’t spoil anything else here and it could have gotten lost in my formatting issue because there were several characters that were called by two different names and I would get confused. There was one character who was referred by his first name only most of the time but then it got changed up to referring him only by his last name. It wasn’t until she said his full name that I realized it was the same person.

I recommend this one for the older young adult crowd or for those who like new adult novels. The story really isn’t explicit or anything. There is barely even a romance at all. I would almost say this is more of an urban fantasy type novel with the first person POV. The story elements are pretty harrowing and dark. I’m really looking forward to seeing where to story goes from here. There were some questions that were never answered and I really want to know what happens. I’m really glad to know that this is a trilogy. For my rating, I would say it is a solid 3.5 but I will round up to 4 because I did think it was a good, solid effort for a debut novel.

Notable Scene:

I looked back to the chimneys, wincing at just how much smoke flooded the air. How many bodies is he burning in there? Were they the victims? A way to discard them after he was… finished? Did he know we were coming? My stomach curdled the thought. Mason—

“Hey, if that stuff mixes with the rain and someone accidently gets it in their mouth, or their eyes, does that make them a cannibal?” Verity’s gaze turned thoughtful on the house as she rested a hand on her hip.

“Well, I don’t think your skin absorbs water unless you’re in a bath or something…” I began before stopping, realizing what we were discussing.

“Yeah. So, like anyone caught in this area is stuffed when it rains.”

“Verity, really?” I asked, incredulous.

She looked at me, but didn’t stop. “Demons eat humans—well, we did. Do? Whatever; you’re with me. My question is: Elixia, am I a cannibal?”

Soul Stealers Trilogy:

1. A Soul to Take

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FTC Advisory: REUTS Publications, LLC. provided me with a copy of A Soul to Take. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Foretold by Rinda Elliott

March 22nd, 2017 Roxanne Posted in Review 1 Comment »

ForetoldTitle: Foretold

Author: Rinda Elliott

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Sisters of Fate (Book #1)

Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Format: Paperback, 310 Pages

IBSN-10: 1459254767 (Harlequin Teen)

IBSN-13: 978-1459254763 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

It is written that three Sisters of Fate have the power
to change the world’s destiny.
But only if they survive…

The Lockwood triplets have had the prophecy drummed into their heads since birth. Still, Raven, the eldest of the sisters, can’t believe it’s really happening. She’s the reincarnation of a Norse goddess? One of the sisters is destined to die? When it starts snowing in summer in Florida, the sisters fear the worst has come to pass. Ragnarok, the Norse end of the world, has begun.

Raven finds herself the secret protector of Vanir, a boy with two wolves, a knowledge of Norse magic and a sense of destiny he can’t quite explain. He’s intense, sexy and equally determined to save her when it becomes clear someone is endangering them. Raven doesn’t know if getting closer to him will make a difference in the coming battle, but her heart isn’t giving her a choice.

Ahead of the sisters is the possibility of death at the hand of a warrior, death by snow, death by water or death by fire.

Or even from something else…

Sisters of Fate
The prophecy doesn’t lie: one is doomed to die.

Quick & Dirty: Fighting to keep Ragnarok from happening.

Opening Sentence: It was written that the kynkvisl, Norse descendants, will one day house the souls of the gods.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Raven is on a mission to find her mother when winter hits in Oklahoma during the middle of summer. She knows this is the first sign of Ragnarok. When her car is run off the road and into a river, she knows that this is all tied together somehow. She thinks that she smells lavender, a sign of her mother’s magic, and she begins to suspect that her mother might be up to no good when young men are disappearing.

Soon Raven realizes that Vanir is who her mother is looking for, but she knows that she must keep him alive no matter what the prophecy states. When they fight a frost giant Raven knows that Ragnarok isn’t happening like the stories tell, it is going much faster than anyone expected. She must figure out how to stop her mother before it is too late.

Will Vanir help her, or will she be the one who dies? Will she be able to figure out what her mother is doing before it is too late? Will Vanir realize what he is carrying inside him in time?

I liked this story, it was a quick read and interesting. Not too many Ragnarok prophecies being fulfilled, and the trances and reading of runes was really interesting. The fact that they still spoke Old Norse really was something I loved. I wasn’t quite blown away by the story. I kind of didn’t understand some things, but overall, I enjoyed this and I am looking forward to seeing what the next book brings.

Notable Scene:

It was why Mom homeschooled us after that. If one of us went into the run tempus and moved before we came out, others would only see me or one of my sisters blink from one spot to another. The world stopped only for the sister who went into it. Mom had never hidden the fact that we carried norn souls from us, but even she hadn’t known about this weird time-stopping thing that forced us to write prophetic runes. Kat’s showed the future, Coral’s the present and mine, which came form the oldest of the norn sisters, showed the past.

Sisters of Fate:

1. Foretold

2. Forecast

3. Foresworn

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

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