Saturday, August 27, 2022

Adrienne Young: Sky in the Deep

Adrienne Young shows how far a sister will go to stay reunited with her brother: 
Eelyn, is a warrior and fight along side her fellow Aska clansmen every year with their rival clan the Riki. Eelyn fights harder and harder each year as the Riki clan killed her brother. Then the unthinkable happens, Eelyn spots her brother across the battlefield, she is in shock not only at seeing her brother but that he is fight for the Riki. Eelyn stryggles to get to her brother's side, she is captured and sold into slavery to a family that treats her brother like a son. Eelyn is not old determined to gain her freedom but return her brother to his family. But the Riki villages are being attacked by a clan that was thought o be nothing but myth and not Eelyn realizes she has to survive these battles before she can return home.
I picked this book up after finishing Young's Fable series, which I thought was good and want to check out other books by Young. What drew me to this one was that it sounded completely different and I really like the Vikings idea.

Personally liked this one better than the Fable series, I found that Eelyn was a better main character and was more mature than Fable was in all of her series. Eelyn was a warrior, she's proud for sure, but also smart, loyal and will protect those that she sees as weaker than her even if they are her enemy (which is tested a few times in the book). I think that it Eelyn that really made this book for me.

I enjoyed the action parts that are spread throughout the book but the main ones are at the beginning and end, so it can feel like it lulls a bit in the middle. I really enjoyed that it was based upon Vikings,a period in time or characters I do not often read about (well I used to read a lot more of it when I read historical romance novels, which how this book begins is actually very historical romance way with the being sold into slavery, which is  where I thought that Young was going to take it, but she did not).

This was a fun quick YA book, with nothing Earth shattering occurring, its a fairly straight forward read with not many twist or turns along the way, but it was enjoyable and thankfully no love triangle to be seen. There is a second book in this series based around the same time and has Vikings again so I will be picking that one up too.

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Friday, August 19, 2022

Lily Sparks: Teen Killers in Love

You will need to read the first book in the series, Teen Killers Club, in order to understand everything in this book. I really enjoyed the first book (one of my favourites from last year and a great debut novel) so it is also recommended by me. So don't continue reading below as there are some major spoilers below.

Lily Sparks Teen Killers Club is back with even more on the line as they try avoid getting killed to prove Signal's innocence:

Signal and Erik have both been labelled as Class A, the most dangerous of the human profiles and Erik is at the top of the class with 10 kills under his belt. Signal and Erik were able to escape Camp and their kill switches and Erik is determined to prove that Signal is innocent and that she loves him. Things are complicated when a nation wide man hunt of the modern day Bonnie and Clyde hit the news and Signal and Erik are not only up against old members of Camp but also every law enforcement agency. Signal doesn't know who she can trust, or if she should trust her head or her heart, but proving her innocence is going to be a deadly one.

I enjoyed this book and the continuation of Signal and Erik’s story from the first one, it picks up right after the first one leaves off. The story is very much about them and their relationship for the first half of the book, and you discover why with what Eric does as the book goes on. This does not mean that the story is slow as the first half is that is it structured like a cat and mouse game, so while the story is about Signal and Erik's relationship, it is also about not getting caught, so this adds suspense throughout the book.

I like that Sparks continued to have Nobody feature in the story (she was one of my favourites from the first book) as it made it less of just a teenage relationship drama book and this book had a lot more teenage drama than the first book. Erik and Signal are trying to figure each other out and whether it is just a game they are both playing which is hard when Erik has admitted he is basically a sociopath. But this is probably the one part that get a little annoying throughout the book as Signal and Erik go through many times of he likes me, he likes me not. I know they needed to go through these things, but they did slow the overall story each time.

Erik is such an interesting character with how he manipulates people, how he was basically shaped into the person he is today and he desire to be something more. Erik is a true sociopath at times, but other you can tell he just wants to be a regular teenage guy. It was so interesting getting to see into his past, his parents, his brother, the things that happen to him and the death of his parents too. This is actually the darker aspects of the book, as there are times when Sparks goes into detail, and Erik's diary is so heartbreaking.

This book was a good read and wrapped up some of the story lines but not all of them, so I'm not sure if there is going to be a book three, but if there is count me in for reading it.

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Friday, August 12, 2022

Neal Shusterman: Scythe

In the first in a series Neal Shusterman show what happens when Humanity conquers death:

The world does not know hunger, disease, war, or death, no forms of the old world will kill a human. Keeping the population in check falls to those who are chosen to become a Scythe. Citra and Rowen are both chosen to apprentice to a scythe, a role neither wants but must accept. Their teacher is one who believes in the old ways and art of taking a life. But there are those within the Scythedom that dislike the rules and regulations that surround them and want to change them and make themselves Gods amount men. Citra and Rowen need to decide which path is right and watch their backs as even though Scythes are the bringers of death this does not mean that death cannot find them as well.

Wow, I do not know why I did not know about this book  / series till now but if you have not read this book, I highly recommend it. This book seems to have everything that I want in a urban fantasy novel, compelling story & characters, is really dark at times, twists and turns along the way as well as make you think, is having mankind conquer death a good thing?

I did not want to put this book down, it was so intrigued with the concept that I needed to know how Shusterman was going to have the plot play out. There are some slower parts in the book, but Shusterman uses these to explain more the world people now live in and we get to know our characters better plus there cannot be gleaning all the time as there is a quota that must be help to and some of the gleaning practices are just brutal. They talk about people just accepting the death but the way some of the Scythes choose to glean would have anyone wanting to run away.

Liked the dual POV and the different paths that Citra and Rowan are forced to take as it gives the different perspectives within the Scythdom. And I think you cannot help like both characters but I think the “love” between them seems a bit forced, but this did not take away from my enjoyment of the book as both characters seem really mature for their age.

The thunderhead is a very interesting concepts and one that is typically counter to when we see AI becoming smart enough to rule the world. This AI seems to want what is best for humanity and not wanting to destroy it, which is a change from all other AI books out there.

I cannot wait to get the next book in this series. I am completely invested in the characters and story now and I need to know how everything is going to play out.

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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Jennifer Hillier: Things We do in the Dark

Jennifer Hillier shows that your past can always come back to haunt you:

Paris Peralta wakes up on the bathroom floor, covered with her husband's blood and she is being arrested by police and charged with his murder. The case looks really bad and with her husband's celebrity status she knows that there will be a lot of media coverage, something that Paris wants desperately to avoid. Twenty-five years earlier Ruby Reyes, The Ice Queen, was convicted of murdering on of her lovers with an ice skate. Ruby recognizes Paris, knows her secrets and threatens to expose them all. 

This is the first book that I have read by Hillier and it was a good book, but I will say that my expectations were let down a bit with all the rave reviews I have been seeing. I enjoyed the plot, characters, pacing and LOVED the format that this book is written in (dual timelines) but I found that the book was predictable and I was able to figure out all of the twists, I missed having something shocking come my way.

I really enjoyed Paris as a character and everything that she has gone through to get to this point in her life. The amount she has suffered and dealt with you know that she is a strong individual. It was such a happy point to see her find love with Jimmy and finally have a life that is worth living.

I'm a big fan of duel timelines as I find that you get to know characters better and this case, it is very much before and after some really critical events. I also liked the addition of Drew's perspective that enters later in the story as through him we get some of the investigative information (though I think that this information was wasted a bit) around the Ice Queen and Joey's death. I wish we would have had a final chapter of the podcast that Drew wrote about the Ice Queen, I think it would have been an interesting take and would have brought the book full circle in a way. 

I was pretty shocked at the warnings that were given before this book and with those warnings I thought that the book would be a lot darker than the book was. Yes, the events that are warned about in the book happen, and they are not overly glazed over but they are not given in such a full description that I think that it warrants warnings at the beginning. I have read books that had no warning about any of the subject and they were much more descriptive and darker in nature than this book.

This was a good book, more character driven than plot driven, as I did find it predictable. As this is the first book that I have read by Hillier, I look forward to reading the other books that she has already released.

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Monday, August 1, 2022

Keri Arthur: Blood Kissed

In the first in a series, Keri Arthur shows what can happen in a small town that has secrets:

Lizzie and her familiar Belle just wanted (another) fresh start to open a Cafe that offered readings and great food. They decided to try the Faelan werewolf reservation, but prior to opening their Cafe they did not realize that the whole town Hates witches. Lizzie and Belle get around this by saying they have little power and are hardly witches, but when a lawyer comes into the Cafe wishing for a reading to find her teenage daughter, Lizzie soon finds herself front and center on a vampire hunt, one that seems intent on reeking havoc on the town. It's going to take all the skill that Lizzie to help protect that which she loves as this vampire has deadly intentions and no plans to stop any time soon.

This series by Keri Arthur is next in my search for a urban fantasy series that can match Kate Daniels and this one succeeded in several fronts. I really enjoyed the character, the plot and the setting that Arthur chose, as I am always a sucker for a small town (or werewolf reservation in this case).

I like the bond between the female characters, they are more than Witch and Familiar you can tell that they have a love and respect for each other and Lizzie does not take advantage of her position or power over Belle. Loyalty and trust is key in their relationship as they want to remain under the radar. Most of the funny banter that occurs within the book come from the women secretly talking to each other telepathically. 

Lizzie's form of magic is interesting, and one that does not often take center stage, pschometry, where she can find people or objects and this does come in handy throughout the book. At the same time she does have the ability to create "minor" spells to help defend herself or those around her. I really found the magic part of this book refreshing and not what one would normally read about. I also found it refreshing that Lizzie is not a PI or something of that ilk as that is also something common (over used now) in the urban fantasy series, she just wants to be left alone to run her Cafe with Belle and you cannot fault her for that

I appreciated that Arthur decided not the have the Lizzie fall insta-love with the first hot werewolf that comes here way, sure there is lust there, but nothing that she wants to pursue at this time. I like when the relationship actually develops more than to just fall in love with each other. It actually helps that said werewolf does not like witches.

There are many hints to the past in this book and that Lizzie and Belle are running but not running from Lizzie's family. It is hinted what has occurred with them blaming Lizzie for the deat of her sister as well as a lack of power, but I still don't fully understand what happened to Lizzie's sister. I think there is going to be another book that will address is as the true murdered got away and it would just make sense to address it eventually.

I think the main thing I was missing was an overall lack of suspense and darkness throughout the book. It starts off fairly dark and graphic but then looses that aspect after that. I never felt like Lizzie was truly in danger in the book and seemed to have solution for every problem.

This is a great start to a series and I already feel invested in Lizzie as well as secondary characters. It also had some refreshing aspects that I did not know I wanted until i read them. I look forward to seeing where Arthur takes this series, so I cannot wait to pick up the next book.

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