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I Belong

Early Review: Firebug by Lish McBride

August 21st, 2014 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

FirebugTitle: Firebug

Author: Lish McBride

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Firebug (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 0805098623 (MacTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0805098624 (MacTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Ava can start fires with her mind . . . but is it a blessing or a curse?

Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hit men . . . and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her mother’s death was ordered by Venus—who is now her boss.

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum.

Quick & Dirty: Hilarious story full of action, adventure and a splash of romance. McBride once again delivers a purely fun book that I’m sure all young adult paranormal fans will enjoys

Opening Sentence: RYAN SLAMMED the book shut and tipped his head back, sprawling on the bench and claiming it as his own.

ExcerptYes

The Review:

Seventeen year old Ava has a very special ability, she can start fires with her mind. People with her talents are known as firebugs and they are very rare. Because they are so hard to come by there are certain groups of people that will go to great lengths to gain their services. Unfortunately, at a young age Ava’s mother was murdered and she was forced to sign a blood contract with the Coterie, the group that had her mother killed. If she refused to work for them they would have killed everyone she cares about.

Now years later, Ava works as a magical hit man for the Coterie. She doesn’t like her job, but if she refuses to do anything they tell her to there are dire consequences for her and those she cares about. But when she is ordered to kill a family friend Ava says no. She knows that there is no walking away from the Coterie so her and a small group of friends take off. But soon Ava realizes that running away isn’t going to solve anything and if she wants to finally live a somewhat normal life she is going to have to face her problems head on. And right now her problem is the Coterie!

I loved Ava, she was a snarky girl with lots of attitude which is my favorite kind of character. She also has a really big heart which made it even easier to like her. Her life obviously hasn’t been the easiest, but overall she has a pretty positive outlook. She has great friends, a loving guardian, and a place she can finally call home. Growing up she was constantly on the run with her mother so to finally have a place to call home is a really big deal to Ava. Just like all teenagers she makes some dumb decisions, but she owns up to her mistakes and I liked that. She doesn’t run from her problems, she faces them which I found very admirable. Overall, I thought she was a fun character and I can’t wait to read more of her story.

My favorite character in the entire book was Lock. He is part dryad and has the ability to talk to trees. He volunteered to work for the Corterie in exchange for them to leave his family alone. He has been part of Ava’s team from the moment she joined the Coterie. Even though he’s not the most powerful one of the group he has always been the leader. He takes care of Ava and Erza, which I thought was really cute. I loved that he doesn’t sugarcoat things he tells you how it is even if you don’t want to hear it. He obviously has a thing for Ava, but she is totally oblivious to it. I am totally rooting for him and if Ava doesn’t end up with him eventually, I am going to be very disappointed.

The other member of their group is Ezra. He is a werefox which basically means he can transform into a fox whenever he wants to. He is sneaky just like a fox and quite good at stealing anything he wants. He also is crazy good looking but his relationship with Ava is totally platonic. Ezra is hilarious and always helps to lighten the mood which was refreshing. He is also a very loyal friend and just an all around nice guy.

Firebug was an action-packed story full of humor, adventure, and a splash of romance. Just like other works by McBride, this was just pure fun. She does such a great job filling the pages with playful banter and intriguing characters. I was instantly drawn into the world that she created and enjoyed the entire story. While there wasn’t a lot of romance in the story there is a good setup for the next book in the series. The best thing about this story was all the amazing characters.  Each one of them was engaging and because I loved all of them so much, it really helped me to connect with the story as a whole. The ending was done perfectly, it wrapped up everything nicely but left me still wanting more. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Overall, this was a great read and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun young adult book!

Notable Scene:

Between the back and forth, the staring from the table, and all the affection, I was officially beet red all the way to my roots. I should have pretended to barf when I had the chance. In fact, I actually did feel like barfing. I smacked Lock’s arm as it moved to snake back around me, but that didn’t take the smug look off his face as he stared at Ryan.

“By the way, if you’re looking for your black jeans, they’re at my place,” Lock stage-whispered at me. “I put them with your spares and your toothbrush.”

I glowered at my best friend. The bastard. On the occasions when I had to work close to the city and I was too tired or too weak after a job, I crashed at Lock’s apartment, rather than take a room in one of the Coterie-owned hotels. Can you imagine their mini bar? Candy bars, vials of blood, raw meat, brains, maybe some bottled water … ew. I had a bag full of spare clothes and supplies at Lock’s place, and he had just used that information to take Ryan’s jealousy to code red. It looked like he was ready to shoot flames out of his ears. Which I did once, by the way, just to see if I could. It took months for my hair to grow back properly.

Firebug Series:

1. Firebug (September 23, 2014)

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

 

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Early Review: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

August 19th, 2014 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

Kiss Kill VanishTitle: Kiss Kill Vanish

Author: Jessica Martinez

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 006227449X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062274496 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Quick & Dirty: Unique, heartwarming story that kept me intrigued the entire time. While it was slower paced, that in no way deterred me devouring this from start to finish.

Opening Sentence: “Jane, darling, you have to keep still.”

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Valentina Cruz’s world was turned upside down when she realized everyone she loved wasn’t what they seemed. She grew up in a very privileged home with a lot of money. Her mother left her when she was just a little girl, so her father raised her and her two older sisters by himself. She had a happy life with a wonderful boyfriend. She always thought that her father was a wealthy arts trader and she loved him unconditionally. Her boyfriend, Emilio, was older then her and worked for her father. Valentina always had a very close relationship with her father until one dreaded night when she witnessed her father ordering a murder that her boyfriend carried out.

Valentina did the only thing she could think of, she ran. At first she had no idea what to do, but eventually she found herself in Montreal, Canada. It has been 3 months since she left and while it hasn’t been easy she is getting by. She lives in a crappy apartment with a bunch of roommates and works as a model for a weird, but very rich artist. She now goes by the name of Jane and for the time being she is content. But Valentina can only run so far before the past catches up to her, and eventually she will have to face what she saw that night. The two people she trusted most in the world aren’t what they seemed, but who are they really?

Valentina was a very interesting girl that was lost. She is a young girl that just realized her entire life was a lie; I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating that would be. All the people she loved betrayed her and really she has nothing left.   Throughout the story she goes on a journey of self discovery and while she makes a lot of mistakes she eventually finds herself. Because I got to experience so much with her, I developed a very strong connection with her. She is a smart girl even though there are times she lets her heart guide her to making some poor decisions, but this is a very normal for teenage girls. I know when I was a teenager I made a lot of stupid mistakes because I listened to how I was feeling instead of doing what I knew was right. But eventually, Valentina becomes a woman that I could admire and cheer for.

Kiss, Kill, Vanish was a very unique story that I really enjoyed. It was a slower paced novel, but it still kept my interest the whole time. From the very beginning, I was hooked and I found that it was almost impossible to put it down. When I wasn’t reading I kept wishing I was. Personally, I have always found the Mafia fascinating so I knew when I read the synopsis of this story I was going to like it and it did not disappoint me. The plot was interesting and there was an air of mystery throughout the whole story that keeps you intrigued. There is also a large group of secondary characters that play a big role in the story, but I’m not going to go into detail about them because I don’t want to spoil anything. I really loved some of the secondary characters and Martinez did a wonderful job creating all of them. While there wasn’t a lot of romance in the story the little there was, was done perfectly. Overall, this was just a well written story that was both heartwarming and entertaining. I would highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys young adult contemporary/mystery novels!

Notable Scene:

Plop.

I don’t turn to the sound. It’s coming from the en suite bathroom, which, I sense without seeing, is open wide. For one moment, I let myself notice how satisfying the sound is, before it has meaning. It’s round and crisp with its own tiny echo.

Plop.

Another drop. Except it’s not the metallic ping of a leaky faucet where water meets metal, or the splat of a washcloth dripping on a marble countertop. It’s water meets water. I shouldn’t be here.

Plop.

But the same dread that pushed me into Marcel’s room turns my head now, drags me toward the perfect, echoing sound, pulls my eyes into the yellowed bath room light where a painting has been brought to life. It’s a grotesque version of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Half of it, at least. Just Adam, no God.

Plop.

An arm, thin and purplish, juts out over the edge of the bathtub, manicured fingers dangling in the air, life less. His rippling torso is not the muscled perfection Michelangelo painted, but sallow skin stretched over rows of ribs, slumped sideways, marred with nipples like bruises.

Plop.

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

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Review: Make it Count by Megan Erickson

August 18th, 2014 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

Make It CountTitle: Make it Count

Author: Megan Erickson

Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Series: Bowler University (Book #1)

Publication Date: June 3, 2014

Format: Paperback, 308 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062353411 (HarperCollins)

ISBN-13: 978-006235412 (HarperCollins)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend, Alec…who just so happens to be her brand new math tutor. Who knew nerd was so hot?

Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends—both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It’s safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm’s reach. But Alec is always stepping just a little too close.

Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She’s adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He’d never stab his best friend in the back…

But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To make it count, Alec must learn messy human emotions can’t be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it.

Quick & Dirty: It was refreshing to finally read about a normal girl falling in love with a normal boy. This story was beautifully done and so easy to relate to. I would highly recommend it to all new adult fans out there looking for something a little different from your normal contemporary romance novel.

Opening Sentence: KAT CHEWED ON her pen and studied her tutor’s bent head.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Kat Caruso has never had a hard time getting what she wants in life. She has always been a pretty girl and even though school didn’t come easy she always seem to find a way to get by. But she is now in her sophomore year at Bowler University and she is failing statistics. She is already on academic probation and if she fails anymore classes she will be kicked out of school. Kat’s problem isn’t that she’s not smart she just has a really hard time concentrating and sometimes she gets things confused. For a long time she has been able to hide how much she struggles, but she is going to have to get help if she expects to continue her education. When her new tutor shows up for their first session its none other than her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend Alex Stone.

Alex has always been smart and he is going to school to be a lawyer or judge someday. Girls on the other hand haven’t been as easy for him. He had a serious girlfriend in high school that he dated for years, but last summer she cheated on him. He hasn’t really been interested in anyone else until recently. Kat is beautiful, funny, and smart, but she also happens to be his childhood best friend’s girlfriend. Is a girl worth throwing away a relationship he has spent his whole life building?

Kat is a beautiful girl that grew up in a happy and loving home. All her life she has felt like she was stupid because school was always difficult for her. Socially she has never had any type of problem and one of the only reasons she made it through high school was because she got people to help her. But college is a whole other thing and she finds that she is really struggling to pass her classes. She soon finds out that she has a learning disability and I found that so interesting. I haven’t read many books where the main character has a learning disability and being inside Kat’s head was eye opening to me. She is this normal girl that has something so many people in real life have to deal with on a daily basis, and that made her really easy for me to connect with her. I loved that even though she has difficulties she doesn’t let that stop her from living her dreams of getting a college degree. She was an amazing character that was very inspirational and someone you can look up to!

Alex was such a sweet guy and I loved that he was nerdy. Honestly, in real life Alex is the type of guy I would want to date. I will admit that I have a thing for bad boys in books but when it comes to my actual personal life, I would never date 99% of the boys I love in books. But Alex has so many qualities that make him someone you would really want to have a serious relationship with. He is smart, kind, and thoughtful. But he also has his faults like all great characters do and that just made him even cuter to me. It was refreshing to finally read a book that had a normal boy and normal girl fall in love. Yes, they have their problems but they were the type of problems everyday people deal with all the time. I loved Alex and I am so glad I got to read his story!

Make it Count was a fun realistic story that was so easy to connect with. The best thing about it was that it dealt with issues that are very common and can happen to anyone. So many contemporary books I read just cover the issues that are rare and only happen to a very small percentage of people. It was nice to finally read about normal characters that have a fairly normal life, but the story was in no way boring. The romance was adorable and very sexy. There was some serious sexual tension that slowly brewed over time. The plot had a few twists that I wasn’t quite expecting and in all honestly the story was just fun. There was great humor and lots of great drama to keep you interested. This is the first book in the series and I can’t wait to read the next book. I would highly recommend this story to anyone that is looking for a fun and sexy new adult book that is easy to relate to.

Notable Scene:

He cupped the back of her head with one hand while his other fisted her shirt at her lower back. But what gave him breath again was his lips on hers. They were soft and wet and Oh God, she’d opened her mouth. Her tongue slipped between his teeth and swiped his eagerly and then he kind of lost it.

He plunged into her at the same time he stumbled forward with a growl. Her back hit the wall, but she didn’t protest. In fact, she seemed to like it. She moaned and gripped his shoulders, pulling him closer, her fingernails digging through the thin fabric of his T-shirt.

She didn’t accept his kiss . She fought it. That’s what it felt like. A fight for power. Their teeth clacked and lips mashed and tongues clashed.

A tremor ran from the back of his neck all the way down to his heels, because this wasn’t the same dynamic they shared over a statistics book. Alec was no longer the teacher and Kat the docile student. This, her tongue tangled with his , her full breasts pressed against his chest and the scent of her citrus shampoo surrounding him in a light brown curtain . . . this was Kat’s world.

It was the single hottest moment of his life.

Bowler University Series:

1. Make it Count

2. Make it Right (September 9, 2014)

3. Make it Last (January 6, 2015)

FTC Advisory:  I purchased my own copy of Make it Count.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Blue Forever by Nina Bruhns

August 17th, 2014 Angela Posted in Review No Comments »

Blue ForeverTitle: Blue Forever

Author: Nina Bruhns

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Series: Men in Uniform (Book #3)

Publication Date: September 3, 2013

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425250946 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425250945 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Candy

Synopsis:

Dashing and devilish Major Kiptyn Llowell is the opposite of reasonable. But when his top secret mission on exotic Hainan Island, China, goes belly up, Kip throws himself on the mercy of the eminently sensible (and irresistibly sexy) DeAnne Lovejoy to hitch a ride to his rendezvous point. But he gets far more than he bargained for?

As an officer of the U.S Department of State, DeAnne helps American citizens in need of aid on foreign soil. Yet, when DeAnne sets eyes on Kip’s impressive body, she’s the one who needs rescuing—from her own X-rated thoughts!

But before Kip and DeAnne even get the chance to flirt, an enemy platoon storms in, guns blazing. Covers blown and running for their lives, the pair must complete Kip’s mission together. Amidst escalating feelings, they just hope to survive long enough to enjoy this wild ride to a loving future?

Quick & Dirty: Major Kip Llowell is on a secret mission when his cover is blown. With the Aid of DeAnne Lovejoy they may just make it out of China alive, but will there relationship survive both of their pasts?

Opening Sentence: It would be a woman.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

This was a good book. I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not because I do not read military style books usually, not even romances. I am glad I read this one though. Major Kip Llowell is on a secret mission on the Hainan Island in China when his cover is blown. While trying to figure out how he is going to get out of China without getting arrested for being a spy he runs into DeAnne Lovejoy. DeAnne is an officer of the U.S. Department of State and as such is sworn to help American citizens stuck in bad situations in foreign countries. Right away sparks start flying between these to, but unfortunately they both have things they must deal with from their pasts before a relationship would work. Their immediate need is to get out of China alive and without getting arrested.

I really liked both Kip and DeAnne but I did think their relationship developed really fast. I guess though in life or death situations you appreciate that you have to enjoy what you have while you have it. I really loved watching DeAnne grow as a character. As I was reading the story DeAnne starts out as a woman who thinks all Marine men are the same and will only use and hurt you before they leave you. Because of this she refuses to touch a gun and only fights with words. As she gets drawn deeper into Kip’s world she realizes not all Marines are the same and starts to loosen up. On top of all that she is so brave. She and Kip are stranded on an island where people want to capture and hurt them and instead of breaking down and losing it, she is strong and brave even when she is terrified, which is the definition of being brave. I liked Kip but I didn’t think he really changed much. He did decide that he would do anything to be with DeAnne even if it meant facing his family and his past.

One of the things I liked about this book was that there were actually two romances discussed in the story, not just one. The first and main romance is of course Kip and DeAnne’s romance. The second romance is between STORM members Darcy Zimmerman and Bobby Lee Quinn. This couple also had problems but not as many. Actually the problems were mostly one sided. Bobby Lee Quinn or Quinn to his friends would marry Darcy whenever she was ready if only she would let go of her fears. An orphan who was given up by her foster family once they had their own children feels that if she marries Quinn he will one day replace her with “a newer model”. They are sweet together and you can tell from the way they interact that they are madly in love with each other.

I really loved this story. Nina Bruhns has a way with drawing the reader right into the story. I read this book in two days. I just wanted to get to the end and make sure everyone got out ok and see what happened with our two couples. The only problem I had with this book was the cliffhanger at the end. I hate finishing a book and not knowing exactly how everything is going to go. Now I have to find the next book that tells me what happens. I recommend this book to those who like a good romantic suspense story.

Notable Scene:

He strode to the shattered back window, lit a match, aimed and tossed it into the vehicle, and gave the SUV a solid push when he saw where the match had landed. The SUV started rolling toward the edge of the cliff.

DeAnne’s jaw dropped in astonishment and she jumped back. “What on earth are you doing?”

He gave it another two-handed shove so it gained momentum. “Killing myself.”

Men in Uniform:

1. Red Heat

2. White Hot

3. Blue Forever

skull4

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

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Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

August 16th, 2014 Kelly Posted in Review No Comments »

The Lies of Locke LamoraTitleThe Lies of Locke Lamora

AuthorScott Lynch

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Gentleman Bastards (Book #1)

Publication Date: June 26, 2007

Format: Paperback, 736 Pages

ISBN-10: 055358894X (Del Rey)

ISBN-13: 978-0553588941 (Del Rey)

Reviewed by: Kelly

Synopsis:

An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.

Quick & Dirty: I cannot rave enough about The Lies of Locke Lamora! Vibrant characters, comprehensive world-building and an ingenious plot places this Fantasy firmly at the top of the genre with the likes of Tolkien and Martin. I cannot wait to discover the other adventures awaiting these beloved characters.

Opening Sentence: Locke Lamora’s rule of thumb was this: a good confidence game took three months to plan, three weeks to rehearse, and three seconds to win or lose the victim’s trust forever.

ExcerptYes

The Review:

The Lies of Locke Lamora literally fell into my hands while I was visiting the Random House booth at San Diego Comic Con last month. I was looking at another title when the person next to me bumped the stack and sent several books flying. I grabbed whatever was closest to me and was surprised when the girl working at the booth told me I could keep the books I’d picked up. Score! I didn’t even look at the titles I walked away with until I was stuck with a four hour layover at the airport several days later. I had no expectations other than hoping it would be interesting enough to lessen the annoyance of a long day stuck at the airport. As it turns out, it’s become one of my all-time favorite stories and I had to share it even though it wasn’t on my list of titles to review this month.

The prologue is a must read to fully appreciate the genius that is Scott Lynch. It all begins with a man called the Thiefmaker trying to sell an orphan boy to another man called Chains. It’s clear the Thiefmaker doesn’t suffer from any kind of moral misgivings about bringing orphaned children to his home under the graveyard with the sole purpose of turning them into his street thugs. It’s also clear that this isn’t the first time the Thiefmaker has approached the Eyeless Priest; he’s sold three other former “special” students to the Priest in recent years. In each of the previous cases, these students proved too troublesome for the Thiefmaker to control and it’s no different with the small boy known as Locke. However, the Thiefmaker’s issues with Locke are bigger than any he ever faced with previous students. Turns out that Locke’s skill at elaborate larceny schemes have become a very serious liability for the Thiefmaker – so much so that the Thiefmaker vows to kill Locke if the Priest won’t buy him.

The story begins several years later. Chains has passed away but the small group of specially trained thieves he named the Gentleman Bastards remains. Locke is the leader of the highly-successful group – which now consists of twins Calo and Galdo, the quiet but deadly Jean, and their apprentice Bug – and they are in the midst of a new scheme that will bring the Gentleman Bastards more money than ever before. Locke has learned much from his near death experience under the Thiefmaker and the rest of the Gentleman Bastards trust in him completely. The fact that they will be killed if Capa Barsavi, Camorr’s crime lord, ever finds out they’ve broken the Secret Peace by running a scheme on a noble doesn’t deter them. Neither does it matter that they will never be able to spend the money because doing so would blow their cover as the small-time pickpockets every other gang in town thinks they are. They’re content to continue acting like Capa Barsavi’s diligent group of small-time thieves, paying him his expected portion of their supposedly small monthly takes like normal. The knowledge that they far outwit anyone in Camorr, that they are able to con not only the nobility but also the crime lord and all his lackeys, is the only payoff that matters to Locke and the Gentleman Bastards. Then everything starts to go very, very wrong thanks to a newcomer who seems even more devious than Locke. This mystery man has his sights set on Locke, using him as a tool to obliterate the tenuous balance between Camorr’s crime network and the nobility. Despite Locke’s ability to scheme his way out of any situation, no costume or elaborate plot will save any of them from being caught up in the deadly consequences of the coming war.

Locke in particular comes across as a smug little SOB. He believes he is the cleverest con man to ever exist in Camorr and acts as though he can find a way out of any situation. Yet he and the Gentleman Bastards are immensely lovable despite the fact that they’re willing to cheat, lie and otherwise screw people out of whatever valuables they possess. Though they are members of a violent network of thugs, they do not participate in cruel or spiteful treatment of their marks. They instead rely on Locke’s brilliant wit and seemingly infallible luck, as well as expert costuming, to pull off their daring schemes. But Locke, Jean, Calo, Galdo and Bug aren’t just comrades in crime; they are brothers. Sincere admiration and affection, as well as good-natured harassment that only the best of friends or family can get away with, cement the relationships between these men. Their loyalty to each other is heartwarming and reading their interactions truly felt like I was listening in on conversations between lifelong friends.

Still, their relationships and the incredibly dark yet compelling plot wouldn’t have been as powerful had it not been for the amazing world Lynch created. The gritty setting brought a combination of Venice and Medieval England landscapes to mind and it was easy to envision Capa Barsavi’s floating headquarters or the mythical temple the Gentleman Bastards called home. Lynch provided the perfect amount of detail to create a landscape where these men and their counterparts could thrive and the mythical aspects seemed commonplace. The clothing, the magical abilities, even the secondary characters all blended seamlessly to create a comprehensive world where it was easy to get lost. In fact, I ended up getting motion sickness on the plane because I couldn’t put it down!

I could go on and on about the various aspects I adored (I warned you I couldn’t stop raving about it) but think my point is made. There is nothing I didn’t enjoy about The Lies of Locke Lamora and I encourage you to give yourself a gift by finding the nearest copy as soon as possible.

Notable Scene:

“I got them killed?”

“Yes.” Chains didn’t soften his voice. “You really did. As surely as you tried to hurt Veslin, you killed Gregor and four or five of your little comrades in the bargain.”

“Shit.”

“Do you see now, what consequences really are? Why you have to move slowly, think ahead, control the situation? Why you need to settle down and wait for time to give you sense to match your talent for mischief? We have years to work together, Locke. Years for you and my other little hellions to practice quietly. And that has to be the rule, if you want to stay here. No games, no cons, no scams, no anything except when and where I tell you. When someone like you pushes the world, the world pushes back. Other people are likely to get hurt. Am I clear?”

Gentleman Bastards Series:

1. The Lies of Locke Lamora

2. Red Seas Under Red Skies

3. The Republic of Thieves

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FTC Advisory: Del Rey/Random House provided me with a copy of The Lies of Locke Lamora. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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