Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen

Emmett Atwater is one of ten teens picked by a multi-billion dollar corporation called Babel Communications to travel through space to a planet to help mine a new, amazing element/metal/compound called nyxia. (There is actually a reason why it can only be teenagers, but… spoiler.)

Once the paperwork has been signed and they are onboard, Bable pulls a fast one and announces only 8 will actually go to the planet, so it becomes a competition on the space ship to win a coveted spot on the team that goes down to the planet.

The book covers various training activities and the dynamics of the group as they go through ups and downs. This book is a little reminiscent of Ender’s Game, Red Rising, and Hunger Games, but it’s original enough to stand on its own.

I found this book to be very easy to read and crazy-hard to put down at times. I actually had to force myself to slow down at some parts because I was starting to skim to find out what was going to happen. It’s suspenseful and has surprises. I think this is going to be very popular!

My only criticism is the romance towards the end didn’t do anything for me and I am not sure if I even trust that character. Also, the book ends before they get to the planet! GAH! I am dying to know what happens next! I can’t wait for the next book.

This comes out in September and I can highly recommend this for YA dystopian sci-fi fans. Don’t worry for those sci-fi shy – it’s very accessible and not bogged down with any lengthy descriptions.

Four stars!

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review! Great debut novel!

Review also found at Goodreads.

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

The only person I can think of at the moment who reminds me of Sal is Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, even though that isn’t accurate. But, it kind of fits in my mind, so I’m going with it.

I was Sallot Leon—one of the last children of Nacea, orphan and street fighter, highway thief and Twenty-Three.

This book isn’t released until September, so I don’t want to go too much into the plot. The premise is that Sal ends up participating in an elite “audition,” to become one of the Queen’s Left Hands.

Each “Hand” is a gemstone… there’s Amethyst, Emerald, Ruby, and Opal. The last Opal died, so they need a new one. The competition? It’s to the death.

I found this book to be fantastic! I read the entire thing in 24 hours and could barely put it down. I thought the pacing was good, and the action was tempered well with character and world-building and a little bit of romance. It’s pretty much everything I look for in a book.

I have seen a few reviews on Goodreads that accuse this of being a Hunger Games rip off and I would respectfully disagree. The only thing the two books have in common is that there is a “competition to the death.” No one is forced to compete, there is no tyrannical government or districts.

This book is more about swords and assassins. It’s fantasy-lite, meaning it’s more action-adventure rather than about magic or fantastical creatures or beings.

I have also seen a few reviews on Goodreads say they had a difficult time getting into the characters because they were all referred to by numbers and had masks on and I would also respectfully disagree on that point. The majority of the numbered competitors were more like window dressing and not really vital to the story, and the few “numbers” that were main plot points were definitely identifiable and memorable.  Two, Four, Five… you don’t forget them by the end of the book!

Since this is my review space, I have one more point to bring up. I like the way the author handled the “gender fluidity” theme. This was not a story about prejudice or bigotry and no one really even made a big deal of how Sal dressed. When he dressed as a male, he was called “he.” When she dressed like a female, she was called “she,” and Sal said this is how “they” wanted to be addressed. But it was in the background and not a main focus of the book, which I liked, because usually it becomes this huge issue. Sal just was who Sal was.

I guess that is all I’ll say for now since I’m reviewing an ARC. I highly recommend this for readers who like young adult fantasy action-adventure. I’ll probably pick up my own copy of this for my personal library since I would definitely read again, and I can’t wait to read the next one! Fantastic debut novel!

Thank you so much Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review!

Review also found at Goodreads.

Tyrant’s Throne (Greatcoats #4) by Sebastien de Castell

What to say about this final installment in the Greatcoats quartet except that it was a very satisfying conclusion. We have our hero Falcio:

His buddy, Brasti, arguably the best archer (and wannabe pirate) in the world:

(I know he’s not holding a bow, but that gif reminded me of him.)

And Kest, the former Saint of Swords:

(He’s the serious one, but that gif reminds me of how Kest might physically look.)

I really love – ADORE – the friendship and loyalty of these three. The humor that was missing from the last book (that one had a much more serious and dramatic tone) is definitely back.

We all know (those of us who have read the previous books) that the kingdom of Tristia is still in trouble and on the verge of chaos. Aline has not been named Queen yet, but Falcio is doing his best to remedy that.

There is a new and surprising villain and the return of another villain that we expected because that loose end had not been wrapped up.

Something happened which I won’t say because obviously spoilers, but I was almost ready to throw my Kindle at the wall.

Those who have read this probably know what I am talking about, and I’m still not quite sure things had to go that way, but I have come to expect surprises from Sebastian de Castell. He takes the reader through the emotional ringer at times.

The amount of adventure, action, humor, and feels was an almost perfect blend. This might have been slightly over-long in my view, but all in all, it truly was a satisfying conclusion that felt authentic. I even cried a couple times!

I highly recommend this series if you like books that remind you of The Three Mustakeers and The Princess Bride. This is one I will definitely return to in the years to come.

I still don’t quite understand why people were always giving Falcio such a hard time, though. He really was smart and made good decisions. He did babble and his inner dialogues went on too long, but he was fiercely heroic and a good leader. I guess it was just part of the deprecating humor and if people listened to him and respected him, there would be no story, right?

I really liked the new young girl character, Chalmers. Brasti will forever be my favorite Greatcoat. The female characters were stronger here than in the previous book. I guess I will view Saint’s Blood as being the book that serves as the “dark night of the soul” for the series.

I guess that is all. Well done! Fantastic series and conclusion!

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review!

My review of Traitor’s Blade.
My review of Knight’s Shadow.
My review of Saint’s Blood.

The Red Lily (Vampire Blood 2) by Juliette Cross

This is a blog I wrote about book two in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross featuring Nikolai and Sienna, who we met in book one. It will be released on
July 19, 2017 and was fantastic. Check it out below! 🙂

The Red Lily is book two in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross. The kingdoms are ruled by the dark and powerful Varis vampire family. One of the royals is pulling the strings and powering the soldiers with a blood madness, called sanguine furorem, giving them extra strength and an indiscriminate urge to murder […]

via The Red Lily (Vampire Blood 2) by Juliette Cross — Dust off Your MacHalo

Dust Off Your MacHalo

crusty chick

I wanted to post a heads up: I am now mainly blogging over at Dust Off Your MacHalo. Please follow me there if you haven’t already! It’s a blog made up of four other members of our group at Goodreads, Dust off Your MacHalo, It’s Time for Another Buddy Read.

The main focus is still books, but we also delve into movies, gaming, and have more “Best Of” and topic blogs than I have done here.

Our Twitter handle: DustOff_MacHalo.

Our DustOffYourMacHalo Instagram.

We have a Q&A up with author A. Zavarelli, who has a new dark romance out called Beast and penned the Boston Underworld series, which I love.

I’ll still be blogging here occasionally, but will mainly be over there. Check us out if you have the time! Thanks!

 

“Wait for It” by Molly O’Keefe

ERMAGHERD. ERMAGHERD. SO GOOD.

Made me cry. Broke my feels. This is my second book by Molly O’Keefe and even better than Burn Down the Night (and that one was really good). I’m starting to think she’s an auto-buy/read for sure. Contemporary romance is VERY love/hate for me (especially with “dark” themes and “broken” characters) but this one blew it out of the park. Perfect balance of everything.

I was worried how Blake was going to be, that he would be too much of a jerk. But no no no… Tiffany – I felt a sort of kinship for her, and I have not gone through what she did. But, as a single parent of only one kid, I could still sympathize with her, with the feelings of obligations and no “me” just “them,” crushed by chores and bills and in survival mode, etc. I really think I got her.

I liked how her stretch marks and “mom body” was written into the story. Her breasts being a bit droopy after breastfeeding 3 kids, her poochy belly. It was realistic and yet still incredibly HOT.

Sometimes kids in a romance can be cheesy or take some of the steam out of the book, but the author just did it PERFECTLY – with the family members on both sides of the family.

It was just perfect. I can’t say anything else. Except, the sex scenes?

Man, this woman can write some good sex. Good dialogue too. I mean, I was drawn in from the beginning and it kept me interested the entire time. Devoured it.

THANK you Netgalley and publisher for a digital copy to read and review!

Review also posted at Goodreads

The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

Bam! 5 stars! I’ve been waiting for you, wonderful book! So often, I am disappointed by vampire romances. This one was perfect. Everything I love. I’m going to cast my favorite book boyfriend actor as Marius, the vampire prince.

For Arabelle, something like this:

She is no damsel in distress. She dresses in “man pants” in a time when women only wore dresses and gowns. She is the leader of a resistance against the vampire monarchy.

She sets out to kill Marius and of course ends up falling in love with him.

I thought this book was written well. The romance happened fast and there was insta-lust, but it was very believable, and besides, I don’t like romances that drag out forever. It’s a hate-to-love romance.

I loved the encounters these two had. I thought they had fantastic chemistry and the plot was quite substantial for a romance. I really hope there are more!!! I would like to see more of Nikolai. And Sienna. She was awesome. I loved the hart wolves and want to find out more about the magic of Silvane Forest.

The female is not a virgin and even though Marius is almost one hundred years old, it wasn’t quite as extreme as some paranormal romances are. She was experienced in her own way and independent.

I DEVOURED this in one day. It is one of my favorite vampire romances now. I want to go and binge everything this author has written now, even though I think this is her only vampire book. She did it all SO WELL. (I think she has a dragon series and a demon one?) More vampires please!

I have nothing but good things to say about this. I don’t think it is released yet, but I highly recommend. So so good.

I love my vampires and there are a lot of crappy vampire books out there. THIS is a great one, in my view. I would view it more as fantasy, since it takes place in a time of castles, swords, and balls, etc. PNR is generally more often set in “modern” time.

“Night Shift” (Midnight, Texas #3) by Charlaine Harris

Four Stars – The best one and apparently the last one.

The ending left it open to continue, but as of now Midnight, Texas is a trilogy. Figures it would finally start getting good and then end.

The plot: An ancient evil is rising underneath the crossroads of the tiny mysterious town where only secretive, strange people seem to live. Lemuel the vampire has to translate an ancient text that will explain how to stop the evil before it rises to cause unstoppable destruction.

I felt like I had finally started to “get” the people of Midnight and understand them. Before, they seemed kind of grumpy and as if none of them liked each other, but now I understand, they are all just introverts.

7ifj0ab

They DO like each other, they just don’t like to hang out – unless someone is getting killed or an unspeakable evil is rising…

What I liked is that we learned a LOT more about Manfred and Lemuel, Quinn was back, and Fiji’s character had a lot of development and was great in this. Lemuel had a bigger part and we get to see interaction with other vampires. We find out more about his and Olivia’s relationship. It was good!

What I didn’t like. There was a flimsy love triangle involving Fiji and Bobo and Quinn. Yes, Quinn. Again. SPOILER ALERT! And poor Quinn lost again! WTH. #foreveralone – I’ll take Quinn! Bobo wasn’t in it much until the end and it was totally predictable. Harris should really stay away from romance.

We meet Fiji’s sister, who is a total bitch. Mr. Snuggly is awesome, as usual. Overall, this was well-paced and quite enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised.

Apparently, NBC is making a TV show about it, which, hmmm, not sure about that. The first two were okay, but not that exciting. And with only three books, I am guessing they are going to have to expand a lot of the characters and it will have to be more complex?

My reviews are the books are also at Goodreads.

Midnight Crossroad

Day Shift

Night Shift

Pre-review:

Marking this as currently-reading for vampire month since Lemuel is supposedly a main character in this one. He’s one of my favorites in this world. Because vampires. Duh. I read the first two and they were solid three star reads. I’m glad Charlaine Harris has stayed away from romance, though, because, well, we know how horrible well she does that. #sookieflashbackhelpme

“Nevernight” by Jay Kristoff

54jchat

My new favorite book. Kristoff owned this. He’s the rock star of edgy YA fantasy. I haven’t been this excited about a series since Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy. I’m serious.

I loved the dark tone of this book. It made me want to put on my Cure CDs and smoke clove cigarettes and ponder the mysteries of life. Yes, I’m fangirling. Give me a moment. This has actually given me book depression because it ended and now, what will I read? I actually want to go and pre-order the hardcover edition! What is happening to me? I suppose now I’ll even have to try Illuminae again!! (I DNF’d that one because I don’t do well with journal/interview/email story-telling. But I must have been on something because if he wrote THIS and co-wrote THAT, it must be awesome too. It just must.
This isn’t released until August 9, 2016, but if you love fantasy, you seriously need to get it as soon as you can. It’s worth paying full price for. Don’t even wait for it to go on sale. It’s that good.

I’m not giving anything away except to say it’s got everything: action, adventure, excellent world-building, cool creatures and magic, dark vs. light, dark vs. dark, heroism, friendship, sex (not the fade to black kind either), lots of stabby stabby. It’s truly epic.

Think about all the female assassins you’ve read about in YA and think about how they would be if they weren’t watered down. That’s how Mia is. I don’t even know if this is YA. She just happens to be a teenager. I know it will be marketed as YA, so I’m going with older teens. It’s a lot edgier than most YA I’ve read. It was just awesome, period. I lurved it.

Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s for providing a digital copy of this to read and review!!! It was a gem.

Review also found at Goodreads.

Initial post:

Gah! Netgalley and St. Martin’s approved me!

“School of assassins?” Yes, sign me up please!

tumblr_noulz1bjx21s3h43ko1_500

Queen of Blood by Jill Myles

3.75 stars – This is a book I was set to five star and put on my favorites shelf until the drama-llama reared its ugly head towards the end. However, I did enjoy this and devoured it in less than 24 hours, so I will be generous.

The Athonites conquered the Vidari a hundred years ago and now they live in squalor, denied education, medicine, and forced to work all day in fields or tending to animals to meke out an existence filled with hunger, sickness, and filth.

Seri is set to wed a young man in her village, but reluctantly accepts an offer to serve as a handmaid to one of the elite Athonite women to get medicine for her father. Seri finds herself at the betrothal ball for Prince Graeme and that is when her life is turned upside down.

Prince Graeme is “of the Blood,” a line born only of men who survive on blood and live for hundreds of years, hoping to one day be blessed with an Eterna: a woman the goddess chooses to be his mate and is the only one who can provide him with daughters. Guess who the Eterna is?

The premise seems a little silly when described like that, but it worked pretty well in execution. There were a few tropes like the virginal heroine and the experienced older male… miracle babies, which is common in PNR… It was a hate-to-love romance.

(I don’t think this is really PNR though, as the vampires were never called vampires and it was more of a curse thing than them being supernatural beings. They had no powers – they just lived long, had to drink blood, and couldn’t go in the sun.)

Seri was annoying and I wanted to slap her several times. She was kind of stupid, actually. She wasn’t <i>as</i> annoying as a lot of female protagonists in books like this, though. Still, I found myself rolling my eyes at several things she did, especially towards the end. She had a few instances of being TSTL.

Graeme was AWESOME. It didn’t hurt that I was picturing him as Aidan Turner either.

3lddkf4

7igpodj

He was strong and commanding but not an alpha asshole. It was refreshing. He’s going in my man dungeon.

This was almost more historical romance than anything paranormal. There is court intrigue and a lot of it also revolved around Seri’s people trying to rebel and fight against the Athonites. The Athonites were pretty shitty, but a lot of the Vidari were no better.

Anyway, this was a quick enjoyable read that had a bit too much drama for my personal tastes, but I still enjoyed it.

This was free with Kindle Unlimited.