Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday #Review - Promise the Moon by Hailey Edwards #Urban #Fantasy

Series: Gemini, # 4
Format: Kindle, 263 pages
Release Date: October 29, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Genre: Urban Fantasy

War is a constant threat on Dell Preston's horizon. As beta of the Lorimar pack, her job is to maintain the peace on the new border between Faerie and Earth at all costs. Even if that means playing nice with her ex, Isaac, the fae who savaged her wolf's soul, and Enzo Garza, the flirty witch who ought to be focused on building up their magical defenses instead of tearing down the walls around Dell's heart.

Butler, Tennessee is a pinprick on the map with a diverse population of supernaturals. It's also chockful of humans who are unaware of the magical rift bruising the sky or the otherworldly insurgents raining down into their zip code.

A local fae's disappearance catches Dell's attention, but she dismisses it as an isolated event. Until it happens again. Unable to ignore the strange happenings in her town, she begins an investigation that uncovers so much more than a simple rash of kidnappings.

Now Dell finds herself at the sharp end of a pointed ultimatum. Find the missing and return them to their families or get ready for prime time. Botch this job, and forget coming soon. The war will become tomorrow's featured attraction instead.

Promise the Moon, by author Hailey Edwards, was originally called the first installment in the Lorimar Pack series. But, it is now been called the fourth book in the Gemini series. The Lorimar Pack / Gemini series features Dell Preston, who is the Beta of the Pack. Even though it is a whole new adventure, it does take place after the events of Hell or High Water which featured Camille Ellis. Cam makes a very brief appearance in this story. 

As Promise the Moon opens, things have really become dangerous. The veil between the worlds is wide open, and fae are attempting to leave their world. Some even make it. Attempting to leave Fae is punishable to the fullest extent of fae law, the rest are picked up by a certain pack who has agreed to take responsibility for collecting said fae. As the Beta of the Lorimar Pack, Dell has been put in charge of collecting the invading fae before they create more problems. The pack is responsible for hunting the invading fae, and they have no fear of any retribution from the Conclave.

Dell is also responsible for the training, recruiting, and the testing of potential new recruits since her pack only has 12 original members. It is essential for Dell to do the right thing to keep her group of misfits and outcasts together, while adding another new element to help do their jobs. Dell was one of my favorite characters in the Gemini series. She's funny, sarcastic, and she fought off her entire pack to remain as Beta. It that doesn't tell you this girl has some strength, what will? But she also has some issues hanging over her head. The first being how she was treated by her mother, the other being that her wolf found its mate, only to lose him (Isaac).

I'm not a fan of triangles, so what does Edwards do? Adds witch Enzo Garza to the story mix to have a one up man ship between him and Isaac. But, let's skip over all that malarkey for now and talk about the fact that Dell has her hands full when local residents go missing. Since her pack is the overall law in this area, she and her pack have to find out what has happened to those who have gone missing. What they find will definitely push this story into the next installment. I can't even talk about the final chapters in this book without totally spoiling what ends up happening. So, I will say this. Yes, there is a huge cliffhanger ending. Yes, Thierry once again plays a pivotal role. As I said, Edwards loves keeping certain characters around, and I don't see Thierry going anywhere anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday #Review/Excerpt - A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Kingdom on Fire # 2
Format: E-Book, 432 pages
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Fiction \ Fantasy

“Devastatingly magical and monstrously romantic. I can’t decide if this book stole my heart or ripped it out of my chest.” —Stephanie Garber, author of Caraval

The magicians want her to lead.
The sorcerers want her to lie.
The demons want her blood.
Henrietta wants to save the one she loves.
But will his dark magic be her undoing?

In this seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival. Hand to fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kiersten White.

Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and discover that some old wounds are still full of poison.

A Poison Dark and Drowning is the second installment in author Jessica Cluess' Kingdom on Fire series. Henrietta Howell came to London thinking she would become the so called Chosen One. The first female sorcerer in a century, and the one prophesied to lead the sorcerers to defeat the fabled 7 Ancients. She's the first female to be inducted into the Royal Order by Queen Charlotte, and played a key part in the defeating Korozoth, the Shadow and Fog. But, she's also a formidable Magician having trained in secret while also fulfilling her other obligations to Queen and country. 

Magicians, like Witches, were supposed to have been hunted down and banned from England thanks to their part in opening the veil that allowed the Ancients to invade this world. That doesn't mean that there aren't a few around lying low waiting to be called to fight the Ancients. Even though Henrietta was confirmed as a sorcerer and told that she shouldn't use her magician skills, she still finds time to study on the side. When she learns about of a cache of weapons that may defeat the Ancients who are trying to conquer Britain, she, Blackwood, Magnus travel to Cornwall to find them.

Here's where things get really fascinating. First, we get our first glimpse of one of the more intriguing characters
in this story, and an important cog in so many different ways I can't go any further. Her name is Maria Templeton. Remember her name because she's not a bit player who you meet one time and then forget because so many other things happen in this story. We also meet Queen Mab who is bloody dangerous, psychotic, and could tip the war against the Sorcerers at any time . Last but not least, we get a glimpse of one William Howel, Henrietta's father who, along with her mother, are supposed to be dead. Henrietta's family history is uncover, and you will want to read what is revealed by numerous sources.

Let me say that this book actually excelled from the first installment, which I loved, because middle books have a tendency of letting me down. There's more on the line, plus, there's more action, adventure, and yes, a bit of romance as well. Cluess knows how to get the blood flowing. From the gates, the Queen comes under attack from the immortal known as R'hlem who wants one person. That person is Henrietta, who we have already discussed as being the so called chosen one. R'hlem is far from an easy nemesis for Henrietta. The so called skinless man is the most fearsome, the most intelligent, the most ruthless of the 7 Ancients. 

The romance angle in this book could be considered triple entanglement. Henrietta loves Rook. Make no doubt about that fact. Why else would she do whatever she could to ensure that he wasn't lost to the Shadows and the Fog of the monster that infected him? Why else would she keep his condition a secret from those she is supposed to be serving with and trust implicitly? But, there are two other characters in the Henrietta sweepstakes as well. I will say this, I am glad that one character has been ruled out. I was worried that this would continue until the third installment. Also, the choice is actually made, in part, for her after the battle with the powerful immortal known as R'hlem. 

Story Locale: Victorian England, Fantasy with Reimagined History. 

Series Overview: Fall 2016: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Fall 2017: A Poison Deep and Drowning
Fall 2018: A Sorrow Fierce and Falling

London was waiting, and so was I.
Tonight was an official gathering of Her Majesty’s sorcerers—my first since being commended to the royal Order—and as the city’s church bells tolled seven o’clock, my stomach fluttered with nerves. We were a country still at war with monsters, but at that moment attacking hellbeasts were the furthest thing from my mind. The thought of going inside the palace made me wildly uneasy.
From out Blackwood’s carriage window, I watched the sorcerers as they rode up to Buckingham Palace on horseback or floated out of the evening sky to alight upon the ground with ease. They adjusted robes and ran hands through their hair as they hurried inside, trying to look presentable. I stayed hidden inside the carriage, my gloved hands folded tightly in my lap.
Two months before, when I’d arrived at the palace, it had been blazing with lights, ready for a grand ball. Now it was darker, more somber. It was a place of business. My business now.
“Your first Order meeting,” Blackwood said, sitting opposite me. “You must be excited, Howel.”
“Excited or numb with terror?” That was a joke. Mostly. “What should I expect?” I still felt awkward in my black silk sorcerer’s robe. It wasn’t designed for a woman. I was the first female to be inducted into the royal Order by a monarch, at least in recent memory. And so I fidgeted, pulling at the collar.
“I’ve never been inside.” He patted the handle of his stave. “Only commended sorcerers may enter. But I have heard,” he said, attempting to sound all business and knowledge, “that it’s quite impressive.”
“Something that might impress the great Earl of Sorrow-Fell?” I said. Flicking my gloved fingers, I shot a few embers at him. The cool night air quickly swallowed my fire. Blackwood laughed, bolstering my courage. He wasn’t much in the practice of laughter, though I liked to think he’d got more used to it after months of living with me.
“Do I have to worry about you bursting into flames every time you mock me?” he asked, wiping at his sleeve as the footman opened our carriage door. Blackwood stepped out and handed me down. I shivered. The evening was cool, a reminder that summer was nearly done.
“Don’t be absurd. I mock you far too often to set fire to myself every single time.” I took his arm, and we made our way to the palace’s entrance. Around us, sorcerers were greeting each other. I searched for my friends, Dee or Wolff or Lambe, but saw none of them.
Blackwood cut through the crowd gracefully, men twice his age stepping aside for him and nodding. I’d never have imagined this was his first Order meeting. He moved about in his robe with ease, as if he’d been wearing it all his life. Perhaps he’d practiced? Or it could be that he was simply good at everything to do with being a sorcerer.
I was surprised how many of the sorcerers were young, my age or only a few years older. I knew I should have expected it—a group of tottering old men couldn’t be expected to win a war—but seeing others plucking awkwardly at their robes, laughing too loudly and then ducking their heads in embarrassment, made me feel less alone. We entered the palace through a large, arched doorway and turned down a carpeted hall before making our way outside again, into the grand courtyard. In the center of the yard, a great black dome awaited us. We filed through the door, and I gasped as we entered a room of pure night.
I’d been inside obsidian rooms before, but this was an obsidian cathedral. The ceiling soared above us, fifty feet at least. No windows interrupted the smooth, dark expanse of stone on either side. The only source of natural light came from the large, round glass ceiling. It allowed the moon to cast a baleful eye upon the proceedings. Sconces lined the walls, the flickering fire lighting the way to our seats.
Whoever had designed this room had taken inspiration from the Senate of ancient Rome: tiered seating, much like an amphitheater, went up several floors in a semicircle. Most of the younger sorcerers clumped together in the back rows.
It felt rather like the day I’d first come to Master Agrippa’s, only so much worse. At least when I’d first arrived in London, everyone had thought I was their great prophesied girl destined to bring about the end of the Ancients. Now as they turned to stare, we all knew that was not true. I had played a key part in destroying one of the seven monsters—Korozoth, the Shadow and Fog—but at the cost of shattering the protective ward around the city, leaving us all vulnerable to attack.
Yes. Feeling all the sorcerers’ eyes upon me, it was definitely worse.
“Howel, ease up. I prefer to keep my arm.” Blackwood’s voice was tight with pain.
“Sorry.” I relaxed my grip and began the calming exercises Agrippa had taught me months before. Imagine a stream of cool water running down your hands. The exercises kept me from going up in flames at bad moments.
The room was rather bare, all things considered. The only other things of note were a raised dais, upon which stood a backless obsidian seat—for the Imperator, I shouldn’t wonder—and a large square pit with four compartments. One compartment held burning coals, one a pool of water, one rich earth, and one was empty save for a floating white feather that perpetually hovered inches from the ground. I’d read about this; it was an elemental square, like an altar in a church. Holy to sorcerers.
Everyone who entered walked up to the square, knelt, and touched their forehead to the edge. Was it wrong to find the whole thing a bit silly? We moved toward the square. Blackwood genuflected, and then I followed.
Kneeling before the elements, my body settled into profound stillness. I could feel the quiet whisper of the earth resonating through me, could sense the fire that pulsed below the surface of my skin. It was as if a cool, invisible hand had been laid on my shoulder, assuring me that I belonged. Gently, I touched my head to the cool obsidian. When I stood, I felt a bit dizzy and grabbed on to the edge. A sorcerer in his late twenties helped me to stand.
“It’s a bit of a rush the first time you experience it. You’ll find your feet,” he said, not unkindly. I thanked him and then went to join Blackwood. He was seated in the second tier and looking about at the crowd expectantly.
“I don’t think everyone will be here,” he mused as I sat down. “But whoever’s in London will come.”
I might see some of the boys after all. It had been months since Lambe had been in town, and I’d barely spoken to Wolff since the commendation. God, I hoped they’d be here tonight. Them, or Dee .?.?. or Magnus.
Then again, perhaps I didn’t need to see everyone.
“The Imperator should begin with formally inducting all the newly commended sorcerers,” Blackwood said. “But he might not. I’ve read that Imperators past—Hollybrook, for example, who held the title from 1763 to 1801—sometimes required a small blood oath. Apparently it was a grisly mess.” Blackwood’s eyes seemed to glow as he looked at the Imperator’s still-empty throne. “Don’t be afraid to speak up if you wish. There’s no formal structure for these sorts of things. Whitechurch is our leader, and he may ask for specific advice from the Masters, but everyone in the Order has a right to question or offer opinions.”
“You know quite a bit about the Imperator’s office,” I said.
Blackwood looked a bit sheepish. “I confess it’s a job that’s always interested me. Though there’s an unofficial rule that says Blackwoods can never be Imperators—we’re too influential already.”
“They’d be mad not to consider you,” I said. Blackwood would be one of the best choices for a leadership role. Even though he’d only just turned seventeen, he had a cooler head than most men twice his age. He sat up even straighter, his green eyes brightening.
“Howel!” Dee bolted up the stairs toward Blackwood and me, as excited as an overgrown calf in clover. I didn’t care. Someone from my old Incumbent house was here, besides Blackwood. Dee ducked into our row, jostling a pair of sorcerers, and sat on my skirt. It took a couple of tugs to get it out from under him.
“Dee! I didn’t think you’d be back from Lincolnshire. Did you battle Zem?” I said, stifling a laugh while he tried to yank his robe into propriety. Dee’s red hair was a brambled mess. He must have flown here.
“I didn’t get up close, but the Great Serpent was at work burning down masses of fields. Suppose the Ancients want to destroy crops, what with the winter coming. I got to work in the rain unit, you know. Even managed some lightning.” His round face flushed with pleasure. Well, he should have been proud. Summoning lightning was a bloody challenge.
“You must have won a great victory.” I smiled at him.
“We put the fire out, at least. How is everyone at home?” he asked, painfully trying to sound casual.
He was clearly asking about Lilly, my maid. He’d liked her since we’d all lived in Agrippa’s house together, though he’d never made his feelings known. Normally I’d have been worried about a young gentleman chasing a maid—those sorts of things didn’t usually end well for the girl. But I knew Dee would sooner cut off his own hand than harm Lilly. And if he didn’t, I’d do it for him.
“Everyone is very well. Everyone,” I said with a wink. Dee blushed harder, if such a thing were even possible. His skin practically glowed.
“What was that about?” Blackwood whispered.
“I don’t have to tell you all my secrets,” I said primly, fluffing my skirt.
“Pity. I’d like to know them.”
I couldn’t tell if he was joking, and I studied him a moment. Blackwood’s profile was strong and distinguished in a shaft of moonlight, and the look in his eyes utterly distant. No matter how much time I spent with him, he could be as inscrutable as the dark side of the moon.
“All rise,” a sorcerer called at the door. Instantly, I was on my feet, alongside Blackwood and the rest of the room. We were silent as a black-robed man entered, walked up the steps of the dais, and seated himself upon his throne. Horace Whitechurch, Imperator of Her Majesty’s Order.
When I’d first met him, I’d thought him the thinnest, most unassuming old man, with white hair and wet black eyes. Now I could feel how his strength radiated outward. In this room, coupled with the power of the elemental square, I imagined him as the beating heart of a great body, his life force nourishing each one of us in turn. This man was strength.
“Be seated,” he said, and we all obeyed in a whisper of silk. “To business. I shall be brief.” He paused, as if gathering his words. Then, “There has been an attack on the queen.”
He said it so matter-of-factly. Sharp cries sounded throughout the room, echoing off the high walls. Blackwood, Dee, and I looked at each other with horror. Whitechurch cleared his throat, restoring silence.
“Her Majesty is well. She herself has not been assaulted, but a message was found in the queen’s bedroom,” Whitechurch continued. He took something from his robes and held it up for all of us to see. It looked an ordinary type of letter. “From R’hlem.”
Holy hell. The Skinless Man, the most fearsome, the most intelligent, the most ruthless of the Seven Ancients, left a message in the queen’s bedroom? This time, there was no outcry. The room, as one, held its breath.
Finally, one young man in front of us stood. “How can we be certain it’s from him, sir?”
“The message was found,” Whitechurch said, unfolding the paper, “pinned to the body of one of Her Majesty’s footmen.” My stomach tightened to think about it. “A shadow Familiar was found painting on the walls with the poor man’s blood.”
I unsheathed Porridge and held it in my lap. I swore that the stave warmed in my hand, as if giving me comfort.
A shadow Familiar, he’d said. Could it have been Gwen? I recalled her the night of our commendation, laughing wildly as she pulled Agrippa away into the air. My heart twisted. Even now, the thought of Agrippa hurt. He’d welcomed me into his home, trained me. He’d been the first to believe in me. True, he had also betrayed me, but that part didn’t seem to matter any longer.
“What became of the Familiar?” someone else called out. Blackwood was right: Order meetings were quite informal.
“We burnt the thing. It did not return to its master.” Whitechurch turned his eyes down to the paper in his hand.
A cold sweat broke out along the back of my neck. It was as if I’d gone back to that night months before, when I’d come face to face with the Skinless Man. It had been an illusion, and a damned good one. The monster had caught me by the throat and nearly choked me to death. Thinking about that one burning yellow eye in the center of his forehead, the bloodied stretch of his muscles, the .?.?. I nearly vomited.
The worst part of all this was that if one of R’hlem’s agents had gained access to the palace and the queen’s bedroom, then we were not nearly as safe as we’d hoped. After the ward came down, we’d erected barriers all around the edges of the city, barriers patrolled day and night. But clearly it hadn’t been enough.
At least the queen was unharmed. At least he hadn’t succeeded in attacking her. Unless it was R’hlem’s plan to instill fear in us.
I knew from experience that fear could lead people to do terrible things.
Whitechurch began reading, “?‘My dear Imperator, I pray you’ll excuse the messy delivery of this salutation. One must always make an impression.’?” Even though Whitechurch spoke those words, I could hear R’hlem’s voice saying them, his tone deep and soft and sinister on the edges. “?‘It has been rather a dull summer, wouldn’t you agree? I admit that my dear Korozoth’s destruction was a bit of a puzzle to me. But if there is anything I enjoy in this life, it is a challenge.
“?‘I’ve decided to give you fair warning: I am preparing an onslaught to bring your Order to its knees. I will show you horror, my dear Imperator. I will give you the very taste of fear. And you know that I am a man of my word.’?”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday #Review - Cold Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff #Thrillers #Suspense

Series: The Huntress/FBI Thrillers # 3
Format: Paperback, 391 pages
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Source: Publisher
Genre: Fiction \ Thrillers \ Suspense

The hunt for mass murderer Cara Lindstrom is over. FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke has been working for this moment: the capture of a killer who savagely hunts the worst of humanity. But Roarke remains traumatized by his own near-death at the hands of the serial killer who slaughtered Cara’s family…and haunted by the enigmatic woman who saved his life.
Then the sixteen-year-old prostitute who witnessed Cara’s most recent murder goes missing, and suddenly pimps are turning up dead on the streets of San Francisco, killed with an MO eerily similar to Cara’s handiwork.
Is a new killer on the loose with a mission even more deadly than hers? In the pulse-pounding third Huntress/FBI Thrillers book, Roarke will have to go on the hunt…and every woman he meets, even those closest to him, may prove deadly.

Cold Moon is the third installment in author Alexandra Sokoloff's The Huntress/FBI Thrillers series. As the story picks up, FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is suffering from the after effects of his battle against the Reaper and the fact that the woman he was supposed to hunt down and arrest, Cara Lindstrom, saved his life. Cara has become a cult hero now that she has been apprehended and faces a trial for the murder of a john. She is a divine energy, a living myth, a female vigilante against the outrages that women have been trying to fight back against for years.

But, things really get strange in this story and quickly. Even though Cara is in prison for the presumed murder of a john, evidence against her comes down the the testimony of one 16-year old girl who has been living on the streets as a prostitute. Jade is hiding something. To her, everything is an act, and she is the archetype who comes to the rescue of the woman wrongly sent to prison for doing what the police, and law enforcement can't do. Get rid of evil in every form. When Jade suddenly disappears, the case against Cara is gone.

The hopes of keeping Cara behind bars is gone. Then another pimp shows up dead in the same manner that Cara had killed her previous victims. Then more pimps and johns show up dead. Who is really behind the killings and why? Has someone chosen to rid the streets of the sex traffickers and the pimps who use girls and toss them away like so much garbage? If so, what is there connection to Cara. The murders are all attributed to fabled Santa Muerte, aka Saint Death, aka Goddess of Death. As Roarke and his team scurry around like chickens with their heads cut off, even more curious revelations are twisted into the story.

Where we end is a social commentary on the need to revamp the entire justice system to focus more on abuse of children, and less time spent on talking about those convicted of soliciting drugs. Yes, drugs are bad, but sex trafficking is 10 times worse. I do agree that we need to do more to put sex traffickers a way for a very long time so that they have no hopes of parole. Apparently the penalties for drug possession and intent to sell drugs is much harsher than selling a child into prostitution. To me, that makes zero sense. Part of the story really got me wondering how many children, & teenagers disappear every day without their parents knowing what happened to them. Law enforcement needs to be proactive in searching for these kids.

Once again, if you are clueless as to the rages I have against sex trafficking and those who are involved, let me remind you that sex trafficking in this country is a $32 BILLION business. It affects both women and child. Boys, and girls of all ages, of all colors, and of all religions. Sokoloff breaks down in detail what happens to girls once they are taken off the streets. They are broken in, and broken down. They are beaten, they are imprisoned in darkness, they are shoved into trunks until the are so numb they are willing to do anything. If you truly believe that johns are good people, you need to really pay attention to this series. I do believe in the very essence of evil. Evil may not have a real name, but you can't refuse to admit that there are those who have been touched by its very essence, and once they have, there is no redemption. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday #Review - One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Three Dark Crowns # 2
Format: E-Book, 464 pages
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult \ Fantasy \ Epic

Picking up where the New York Times bestselling fantasy novel Three Dark Crowns left off, One Dark Throne continues with higher stakes, jaw-dropping reveals, and an ending readers will never see coming.
With the queens’ sixteenth birthday celebration on the horizon and the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them, the sisters must reassess their strategic paths to the throne in light of what has happened.
Katharine, once the weak and feeble queen, is curiously stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering she’s not a naturalist, must figure out how to use her potentially life-threatening secret before it winds up killing her. And even though Mirabella’s powers are as strong as ever, the incessant attacks on her and her people have left her questioning if being crowned is worth it if everyone in her wake dies.
But time is running out, and the triplets aren’t the only ones in Fennbirn scheming about what’s to come. Friends and foes alike who stand to benefit from the victory are trying to force the hands of the sisters, pushing them toward a shocking outcome that defies history, confounds nature, and forever changes everyone involved.

One Dark Throne is the second installment in author Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns series. This is a series that takes place on the fictional island of Fennbirn. There are three separate factions: Poisoners, Elementals, & Naturalists. 
Three queens. One crown. Simple, right? No, not really. Each of the three queens have their own special powers. Two of the three queens are keeping secrets from their own people. If you think the first book was a wild ride, you haven't seen anything yet. Things only get more twisted in One Dark Throne!

This story picks up about a month after the ending of Three Dark Crowns. The Ascension year is in full swing. The object now is for only one queen to remain alive at the end of the year. But, why wait for a year to kill your own flesh and blood and collect the crown? Why not go full out and eliminate the competition so that you can focus on who is going to be your consort? So, let's start with Queen Katharine of the poisoners. Katharine is not the same person that we met in Three Dark Crowns. She somehow managed to crawl her way out of Breccia Domain after being shoved in by someone she thought she could trust.

She also blames her sisters for her failings as the weakest sister of the three. But, that is no longer the case. Katherine aka Katharine the Undead is more powerful, more vengeful, and more dangerous than ever before. As the youngest of the three sisters, Katharine has never been taken seriously. By the time this story is over, I think everyone will be shocked at the turn of events that Blake unleashes. Katharine went from one of my most favorite characters, because she wasn't taken seriously, and was faced with horrors from the time she was fostered, to probably my third or fourth because of her actions in this book.  

Arsinoe, aka Bear Queen, is the Queen of the naturalists, but she carries a heavy secret. A secret so shocking that if it ever came out, she would find herself hunted down by her own people. Arsinoe isn't in the killing mood. She doesn't want to be the only Queen standing. In fact, she tries to make her older sister Mirabella understand that she would stand behind her attempt at winning the crown. Arsinoe has two very supportive people behind her. Jules and Joseph. I would dare say that Jules should have probably been one of the main characters of this book. Don't believe me? You haven't read the first book then. 

Mirabella is the oldest sister of the three, and presumably the most powerful because of her elemental powers. But, she really has her eyes opened after she discovers that everything she thought she saw at the Quickening, was perhaps more to it than she realized. Can she find a way to get past the goals and desires of the Priestesses, or will she quiver and fall to the more powerful Katharine. Now, it is up to her to stand up against her own sister Katharine who has become someone nobody recognizes. If she wins, she becomes Queen. I actually loved the fact that Mirabella and Arsinoe form a sort of alliance. I also am glad that the Joseph issue has been resolved. 

One Dark Thrown is a stunning story in many ways. Stunning that the series was supposed to be a duology and now it's a 4 book series. Stunning how the author really twists things and left this reader angry at how things ended in this story. Stunning to realize that it's possible that things could change even more with the realization of just how powerful Jules really is, and the introduction of a new power to the story. One Dark Thrown is definitely more twisted and action packed than it's predecessor. One Dark Throne is once again written in the third-person, present tense form. One of my favorite parts of this story was Arsinoe & Billy's relationship. Even though he is a pawn in a much larger game, he never waivers in his love for her. 

Just think, now we have to wait until 2019 to find out what really happens to Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

#Stacking the Shelves # 255 - Week Ending 09/16/2017 Post Irma

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Well, that was an exciting week. Got through the weekend with IRMA churning up to 80 mph winds, only to wake up on Monday morning and find that our power went out, and our cars were nearly buried in water. Power actually came back on rather quickly after the water disappeared, which was nice considering my cell phone charger decided to stop working. 12,000 people still have no power, but that's a whole lot better than 250,000. Doesn't that just figure? Moral of the story. Don't trust Hurricanes. Don't trust when they claim the Hurricane will go in one direction, and then you suddenly find that YOU are in the path. Don't wait until the last minute to fill up on gas, or run to the store to stock on on batteries, water, bread, and munchies that won't go bad. DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT YOUR PETS! DON'T LEAVE YOUR PETS OUTSIDE TO FACE THE STORM ALONE! Also, if you are able, look into getting a solar powered lamp so you don't have to go through so many candles. For the record, Jacksonville had the most flooding this city has seen since 1964. I've been in Florida for 17 years, and never once felt as though I was going to end up with water in my home. 
Have a great weekend!

This Weeks Reviews: 

Tuesday - Odd & True by Cat Winters (YA, Historical)

Wednesday - Fireblood by Elly Blake (YA, Fantasy)

Thursday - Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (YA, SyFy)


Friday, September 15, 2017

Saturday #Review - Shadowed Threads by Shannon Mayer #Urban #Fantasy

Series: Rylee Adamson # 4
Format: Kindle, 270 pages
Release Date: August 15th 2013 
Publisher: HiJinks Ink Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

“My name is Rylee and I am a Tracker.”

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

O’Shea is AWOL, and tracking him is proving to be harder than I expected.

Not to mention the small fact that I have the Beast of Bodmin Moor chasing me across Europe in a race against the odds, and my life as the prize.

But those things are minor compared to the secrets that finally come to light.

Secrets I wish had stayed hidden in the darkness . . .

Starring the irresistible, ass-kicking heroine Rylee Adamson, Shadowed Threads is the fourth book in USA Today bestselling author Shannon Mayer’s sexy, exciting, and laugh-out-loud series, a dangerously addictive paranormal romance.

Shadowed Threads is the fourth installment in author Shannon Mayer's Rylee Adamson series. The story picks up about three weeks after the ending of Raising Innocence
Rylee and her friends Alex, Eve, and Pamela are still in England trying to find Liam, and bring him back home. That is if they can actually find him. Liam the man is gone. Liam the wolf is hungry and hunting witches down one by one, and if Rylee doesn't get to him quickly, he might not be around much longer.

If you've read this series, you know that Rylee is one of the last remaining Trackers in the world. (We met Jack in the previous installment, and yes, he is still hanging around being a major pain in the arse). She's a badass who uses humor and sarcasm. She's also a smart-ass, not unlike this reviewer, and she has no fear of getting in the bad guys faces and telling it like it really is, and not what they want to hear from her. Even though she is also mostly Immune to magic, we all know that there is a particular twitchy witch who has betrayed Rylee, and has chosen to actively war against her.

Rylee's universe expands even more in this installment. Jack finally gets around to telling Rylee a few things that really rocks her world. Knowing that she may have to fight against an even bigger and more powerful villain, and she may have to put a coalition of the willing together to fight said super villain, leads Rylee to some interesting avenues, including meeting a DRAGON!!! Oh, my lord I love Dragons, and this Dragon has the perfect attitude to hang around Rylee. I love the way that Mayer uses a bit of humor to cover what could have been the end of Rylee, Liam, Alex, Pamela, and Eve. Rylee's pack, yes, let's get to the point and call them her pack, are really a remarkable group of beings. 

What stands out for me is that Pamela is really starting to prove that she's not just a one trick pony & that she can't just discharge her magic willy nilly and all things will be filled with sunshine and unicorns. I am not sure what to think about Doran's arrival or what his part will be from here on out. This is a rough story for reasons I will not spoil. Rylee really does get her money's worth out of every experience she is forced to face. From Doran's arrival, to finally getting a better understanding about Berget, to being chased by a dangerous being who just refuses to stop, Beast of Bodmin Moor. 

Even when Rylee picks up some useful allies, it also seems as though her enemies are getting smarter and more devious as the serious progresses. I will say this, without spoilers, Rylee's meeting with a certain character didn't exactly blow my mind. I had already guessed that this character would be a role player sooner rather than later. Especially with Milly and Faris doing whatever they are doing. There are some complexities rolling around in the background that could come back and thwart Rylee's desire to keep her pack safe and from harm. I just don't see how anyone can survive until the final book with all the backstabbing and machinations that are happening. 

I’m not sure we’ve been introduced yet to everything in Mayer’s world. But, so far we've been introduced to Trackers, witches, vampires, Shaman, harpies, werewolves and other shifters, as well as Guardians, dragons, gargoyles, Druids, ogres, necromancers, & demons. I will never tell you about the need to becareful about reading an Adult novel like this. I shouldn't have to tell you that there is vulgar language, dark situations, and blood. 

I shouldn't also have to tell you that there are sex scenes in this series. After all, the only character who is truly a teen, is Pamela and she's heard a whole lot from Rylee since meeting her. Finally, I want to thank those who are members of You have been amazing, truly. Whenever I put in a request for one of these books, you respond quickly loaning me books in a timely and welcomed manner. I do hope that my luck won't run out before I get to book # 10!