Saturday Shorts: Living Underground by Josie Jaffrey

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, where we feature short stories, novellas, graphic novels, kid’s books middle grade and younger, and anything else that is a shorter read than a novel. Today we have a short from one of our site’s favorite authors, Josie Jaffrey, author of the Solis Invicti series.

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

living-undergroundTitleLiving Underground
AuthorJosie Jaffrey
Series: stand alone
Publish Date: October 30, 2015
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: A short story set on the London Underground.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: When Josie asked me if I would like to review her short story, I jumped at the chance since I love the Solis Invicti series. This story was not a disappointment! In only 10 pages there is so much tension and description! I love the way that the story makes you question whether the events that take place in this short story actually happened or if it was all a dream.

badge5v4Dislikes: I found myself wishing I could have known the characters a little better. Especially Kieran, the “stranger” from the train. I wanted to know who the mysterious woman, referred to only as “her,” was and why she abused Kieran. I hope this eventually gets expanded into a full novel!

I have to give this 5 kisses!

Recommendations…

If you are looking for more vampire reads, check out the following: ‘Salem’s Lot by Steven King, Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, and the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Buried Memory by Adam J. Wright

Who erased Alec’s memories? Why? Why did he send himself that weird little magical artifact to a place he had no idea he was going to live? Weird. Answer these questions and more in this episode of Harbinger, P.I.

buried-memoryTitle: Buried Memories
Author: Adam J. Wright
SeriesHarbinger, P.I. #2
Publish Date: April 15, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover: Rebecca Frank
NarratorGreg Tremblay
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionWhoever said that nothing ever happens in a small town clearly never visited Dearmont, Maine. It’s getting hotter than hell around here. When the dead start crawling out of their graves, you know something’s up.

If there’s one thing I hate more than zombies, it’s having my memories erased by magic. That’s a real bummer, right? So when I get a chance to break the spell that’s locked away part of my mind, I take it, even if it means dabbling with ancient Egyptian sorcery.

Big mistake.

Sometimes you shouldn’t go poking at things that are buried.

Because you end up having to deal with an army of the dead.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (or, in other words, SPOILERS).


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

This is an urban fantasy, magic included – no assembly required. No sex, no cliffhanger and mostly only magical violence. Mostly. Some zombies, vampires, witches and a super secret society.

Alec Harbinger works for the Society of Shadows and knows no other kind of life. In this book, he is smacked up side the head with secrets he never knew were secret. The major players are back: Alec, Felicity, Mallory and Alec’s dad. The mystery of the magical relic, the evil overlord that wants to raise a zombie army and the mystery surrounding Alec’s time in Paris on a special assignment gone wrong kept me engaged. There were plenty of lines revealed, but there were also plenty of secrets that are yet to come out.

badge4v4I listened to this book via audio and it’s only around 4 hours long. It may be a short book, but it packs a punch. I’m not exactly sure how this author crammed so much action and adventure is just those few pages, but he did. The story moved along nicely and I didn’t notice any scenes that were not complete or any dialog that suffered because it was a short book.

I’m seriously liking this new series. I hope that it’s a long running one.

If you like this book…

…you might try the Deathspeaker Codex by Sonya Bateman, the Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price, or the Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark.

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Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly

Rogue WaveTitle:  Rogue Wave
Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
SeriesWaterfire Saga Book 02
Publish Date:  January 6, 2015
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionSerafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled—powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again, and only the mermaids can defeat it. To do so, they need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six.

Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. While researching its location, she is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar. . . . The pain of seeing him turned traitor is devastating.

Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the grave threat facing their world. But they find her story outlandish; a sign that she needs to be confined to her chamber for rest and recovery. She escapes and travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of fearsome razormouth dragons.

As they hunt for their talismans, both Serafina and Neela find reserves of courage and cunning they didn’t know they possessed. They face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

What I liked: I have to shout out on the cover first. It is so beautiful! I’m not gonna lie, if I hadn’t read the first one, the covers would draw me in and have me pick up the books!

I love that it is a direct continuation of Deep Blue and (for the most part) is detailing Sera and Neela’s adventures as they each travel back to their own kingdoms and the trials along their ways. There was a bit more character development in this novel as we see the girls go from the naïve princesses they were to making their own decisions, as well as finding their own ways out of the scrapes they find themselves in.

badge4v4What I didn’t like: I didn’t like the fact that there was a lot of “teen speak” in this novel. Throwing it out there every now and then is ok, even if it’s just to remind us that the characters are teens, but a lot of it can distract from the story. The pacing in this one is a little dizzying. It can go from fast to slow in a matter of seconds.

Overall I like this book almost as much as the first and give it 4 seastars.

If you like this book…

…you might try The Goddess’s Choice by Jamie Marchant, Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby, or the Lost Voices series by Sarah Porter.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Well, how about that finale? It’s the final epic showdown for Harry Potter against his worst enemy, Voldemort. Somehow he’s got to work through the mess he’s been left in after Dumbledore’s death, figure out how to destroy the horcruxes, and face another problem – his own inevitable death. Spoilers ahead.

deathly-hallowsTitleHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
AuthorJ.K. Rowling
SeriesHarry Potter, Book 07
Publish Date: July 21, 2007
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIt’s no longer safe for Harry at Hogwarts, so he and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, are on the run. Professor Dumbledore has given them clues about what they need to do to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, once and for all, but it’s up to them to figure out what these hints and suggestions really mean.

Their cross-country odyssey has them searching desperately for the answers, while evading capture or death at every turn. At the same time, their friendship, fortitude, and sense of right and wrong are tested in ways they never could have imagined.

The ultimate battle between good and evil that closes out this final chapter of the epic series takes place where Harry’s Wizarding life began: at Hogwarts. The satisfying conclusion offers shocking last-minute twists, incredible acts of courage, powerful new forms of magic, and the resolution of many mysteries.

Above all, this intense, cathartic book serves as a clear statement of the message at the heart of the Harry Potter series: that choice matters much more than destiny, and that love will always triumph over death.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

J.K. Rowling closes the series up with a perfectly happy ending. I’ve expressed time and time again how remarkable this series is and I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed rereading the entire seven books with my friends. All that world-building and marvelous writing just hits all the right feels.

Here’s a wrap up of all the things I love about these books.

  • Top four favorite characters
    1. Hagrid – this gentle giant was Harry’s first friend and I adore him and his love for dangerous creatures, his undivided loyalty, and his soft heart.
    2. Sirius – as a man who only got to be in Harry’s world for a short time, I really loved Sirius and his fatherly wisdom, recklessness, and humor.
    3. Luna – Who doesn’t love Luna? I mean, she’s funny and quirky, plus she has all the best ideas when Harry needs them, is very kind, and is a deep friend to Harry.
    4. Hermione – Smart, powerful, and sassy, it’s hard to find someone to compare to Hermione Granger. I love that she’s muggle born and proves just how much of a badass she is throughout all seven books.
  • Favorite creature – Dobby and Kreature; I just love house elves!
  • Favorite bookHarry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • Favorite movieHarry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.
  • All-time favorite scene – When Dumbledore duels Voldemort near the end of Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix. Also, I really enjoy the love potion scene between Ron and Harry in book six. It just makes me giggle every time.

And well, I love everything else. What can I say? It’s been a pleasure rereading this and I’d do it again.

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

After finishing HP7 and watching the last movie again, I feel like it’s the end of an era all over! I love the way we get to see Snape’s love/hate relationship with Harry. All of the death is tragic, but there is the uplifting theme of friendship and hope as well. These characters will always be in my heart and this story will forever have changed me.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

The Deathly Hallows is a serious and bittersweet book with a lot of heartache. I hated that we had to lose beloved characters. However, I did enjoy learning the backstories on Dumbledore and Snape. However, after realizing just how awful Snape behaved toward CHILDREN in this reread, I just can’t buy him, anymore, as the hero adult Harry makes him out to be at the end of the book.  He did a heroic thing, for whatever his own reasons were, but I feel that, especially in literature, the title of “Hero” is less about one deed and more about a person’s character.

That being said, the comparison between Dumbledore and Snape made by this book is so very interesting. Both of them did some seriously regrettable things in their pasts. Both of them spent most of their lives trying to make up for them by doing heroic things. In many ways, the similarities between them are astonishing. Yet they are viewed by most people so very differently. Why? Were Dumbledore’s actions any better or worse than Snape’s, really? Were their talents? Were their results?

Or was it just they way they chose to show up, the way they chose to “be” with other people? Snape was mostly angry and bitter and cruel. Dumbledore was mostly gracious and kind. In the end, they may have both been on the same side, but the way they chose to be with other people made a big difference. Interesting life lesson, I think.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

I so enjoyed this final book in the series. I think J.K. Rowling achieves the right tone with Harry sacrificing himself in order to save others, and choosing to end the reign of Voldemort by destroying hoarcruxes, rather than finding the Deathly Hallows and having ultimate power. Harry is a true hero who has unusual moral courage; it makes you wonder where that came from since he had no role models in the Dursleys.

I found myself better able to pay attention to the conversation Dumbledore had with Harry at the ethereal King’s Cross Station. I know better now what Harry’s true power was: the love of his parents.

This series definitely gets better the second time you read it. I would recommend a third reading just to be able to take in more of the details. I have the series in hardback and in audio format and I can see reading these books over again for many years just to see how my perspective changes as I grow older. I highly recommend this series to kids and adults.

Our reviews in this series…

 

Smoke Sky by Amy Braun

Happy book birthday to author Amy Braun and the new novella in the Dark Sky world, Smoke Sky.  As in the first novella, Amber Sky, Smoke Sky gives us a look at this backstory of one of the secondary characters from the Dark Sky novels. This one delivers the love story between Gemma and Nash from Gemma’s point of view.

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

amy-braun-smoke-skyTitleSmoke Sky
AuthorAmy Braun
SeriesDark Sky, Book 0.5
Publish Date: December 6, 2016
Genre: Dystopian, dark fantasy
Cover: Deranged Doctor Designs
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionTo survive in a horrific world overseen by bloodthirsty monsters, young thief Gemma will do whatever she must to see another day. Even though that means working for a damaged man convinced to make her a permanent member of this thuggish family.

So when her employer tells her that he’ll release her from his clutches, Gemma is obviously skeptical. Especially since the job is easy enough– recruit the two marauders that the gang has been spying on to take her place.

But as Gemma lies to Nash and Sawyer, she commits the greatest mistake a spy can make–– she begins to see them as friends, and perhaps more. Soon, she will have to choose: Sacrifice two strangers to ensure freedom from a brutal future, or risk her life to save them…

Set two years before the events of CRIMSON SKY, this prequel novella tells the story of how Gemma met Nash and Sawyer, and what prompted her to chose their safety over her own. While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

The love affair that is Gemma and Nash.  This world that Amy Braun has created is a cruel one and the characters have to do whatever they have to in order to survive. Gemma has choices to make and she has to decide to turn on these two men that are becoming her friends.  The world is a mess and the Hellions are out to eat everyone.  This is the type of adversity that binds people together and some a little tighter than others.  Nash finds the love of his life and Gemma finds a home to call her own.

badge4v4This is Gemma’s story and it can be read in any order you want.  The story leaves the impression of what the world is like, how much danger there is to face and how trust is hard to come by.

 

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

I really liked Amber Sky, which is the Dark Sky novella that gives us a look at Nash’s background. In it, we learned that Nash, despite his hard conditions of his survival, has a soft heart that’s made for loyalty and love.

Smoke Sky, then, introduces us to Gemma, who we know from the Dark Sky novels is Nash’s other half; the passionate love they have for each other is evident throughout the novels. Now we learn how Gemma survived the hard, hard world of post-Hellion Westraven, how she met Nash and Sawyer, and how she and Nash found such a strong and passionate love.

badge4v4Smoke Sky is another great story from Amy Braun–touching and hopeful despite the dystopian world in which its set.

Our reviews in this series…

I received an ARC of this book book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.