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En by Michelle Reynoso

He is real, He has my brother (somewhere), Enlitra is in jeopardy, and I’m the only one it seems who can solve all those things.”

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

ENTitle: En
Author: Michelle Reynoso
Series: Proposed Book One of The Girl, The Pendant, and the Portal Series
Publish Date: February 21, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Provided by author

Publisher’s DescriptionHigh School senior Faith McDaniels is struggling to find a place to belong. She never knew her father. She lost her mother to cancer three months ago. Now Faith is starting a new life with her brother Eddie in the small town of Madison, but this ‘fresh start’ is more than just a move to a new town and a new high school, it’s the beginning of a series of strange events that puts her on the precipice of discovering that pendants and portals, other worlds, and energy-bending are not just ideas from a fantasy story. It is her life. A life that is about to get even more complicated when Faith discovers her own extraordinary abilities to bend and manipulate energy, a power that can be the bridge, or the barrier, to saving the world of Enlitra and her own world.

But nothing is easy or straightforward in Faith’s life, as she soon discovers her abilities are the same as the fiend who is trying to destroy both worlds. Now Faith must decide how to protect the people she loves without becoming the dark entity herself.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I first met Michelle through NANOWRIMO (if you are a writer and don’t know about national novel writing month you should check it out at nanowrimo.org. It is a great program for professionals and amateurs alike.) and when she finished this novel I asked if she needed reviews. En is a delightful, imaginative tale and I am so glad I asked if I could review it for her and share with all of you.

I will admit that it took me longer than it should have to read this, not because the novel didn’t interest me, but because fae life – like human life – is hectic! When I was able to pick it up I found myself flying through the chapters wanting to find out what happens next. The plot is fairly easy to follow. There are a few instances of jumping from our world to that of Enlitra, but they are not confusing jumps and if they are it is because  Faith herself is confused. This new world is truly imaginative as it is made up of energy and impossible feats can be done.

While I understand Faith’s attitude in the novel, I found it quite irksome. Her brother was just trying to look out for her but she did act as many teenagers would after a parent has passed and being transferred to a new school. I don’t know if I should admit this but I found myself rooting for Tomas instead of Paul. Yes, Tomas was a jerk to Faith in the beginning, but he apologizes and helps Faith several times. Paul just comes off as a jealous jerk at times.

This novel is a great start to a new series and I hope it takes off. I found a few minor errors that more than likely will be fixed for the final (i.e. Faith tries to change an acorn badge4v5into an apple and later when she recalls doing it the acorn has turned into a branch). I can’t wait to find the final copy and read it, and I look forward to the rest of the series as well.

 

Other recommendations…

Check out these other novels where teens travel to other worlds through one way or another:

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Shattered Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima, Sea of Ink and Gold Series by Traci Chee

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

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Those Which Remain by Angela V. Cook

Once again, I plunge into the world of a teenage succubus!

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

Title: Those Which Remain
Author: Angela V. Cook
Series: Pieces Duology, #2
Publish Date: January 28, 2018
Genre: YA fantasy romance
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionIn Into a Million Pieces, seventeen-year-old Allison solved her sister’s murder, barely escaping an attempt on her own life. Now, with the past behind her, Allison is finally getting a taste of teenage normalcy—going to school, hanging out with her best friend, and sharing it all with her loving boyfriend, Ren. Life is good.

But it doesn’t stay that way. It never does for a succubus.

When Allison’s nature draws in a predator, shattering her sense of trust and safety, she realizes the succubus curse is behind all the darkness and heartache in her life. Determined to end it, she tracks down a distant relative with knowledge about the curse. But more questions are raised than answered when Allison meets the mysterious and wealthy Leona Doriano. Suddenly thrust into a dangerous world of money, power, and deadly secrets, Allison must find a way to break the curse—a curse not everyone wants broken—before she’s drawn in too deep.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

The author’s previous book, Into a Million Pieces, is a captivating book about the life of Allison and Jade, two teenage twins who are succubi. Ms. Cook really made me care about Allison and Jade, even through their teenage angst, something I don’t usually like. I also enjoyed the mythology of the succubi and wanted to know more. So I was ecstatic when the author emailed me the next book.

Jade’s move to her other family has not been easy. She’s dealing with her teenage angst of fitting into a new school, making new friends, and having a long distance relationship. On top of that, while she loves this new family, including an aunt and grandma, she worries that one of her many secrets will come out and they won’t want her anymore.

Things go well until the holiday and the grandma’s favorite child comes back from college for the break. In a chilling scene, Allison’s dark nature comes out, and the uncle is drunk. Afterward, he threatens to reveal a secret if she doesn’t keep quiet.

That pushes Allison to search for answers about her family’s curse and how it happened. And does she find answers! Answers to questions she didn’t even know she had! The curse has taken her family into even darker parts of human society, and they are pulling Allison into it the longer she stays with them.

The story captivated me and kept me reading until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventures with Allison. I desperately want to give this book a five, but here is why I can’t. The story ends Allison’s journey. I’m sure Ms. Cook could find a way to keep going with her story but I worry it would feel forced. I want to know more! More about the supernatural world, what other supernaturals could be out there, and most important, see what Allison does with the curse and with her knowledge when she is older. I think that could be a great series. As it is, I give the book a high four (which the site editor is rounding to five). If you enjoyed the first book, this cannot disappoint.

Our reviews in this series…

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

Contest For Mindee Arnett’s Onyx & Ivory

Hi Friends! Kat Mandu here, ready to introduce you to a new series I’m completely stoked about. And that’s a new YA Fantasy book coming out in May called Onyx & Ivory. Check it out below!

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

I can’t tell you how eager I am to get my hands on this one, guys. Mindee Arnett is such a wonderful author, and I’m so excited to be a part of her street team, The Relay Riders, to help spread the word about this epic new book.

I snagged this from her site so that readers like you can try your hand at winning this contest and get it for yourselves!  Follow the links to enter:

Blogger and Reviewer Appreciation Giveaway

From Mindee: This week I’m celebrating all the book bloggers and reviewers out there, and if you’re reading this, I’m betting that you’re one of them! Did you know that according to Forbes, an estimated 600 thousand to a million new books are published each year? That’s like between 1,604 to 2,740 a day. I don’t know about you, but my yearly reading goals never come close to that.

With so many books vying for readers’ attention, the importance of book bloggers and reviewers is immeasurable for helping get the word out to readers about which books to spend their time on and which to pass over. And most of these people do this purely out of the sheer joy and love of books. How great is that? How are great are they? I mean you!

That’s why I’ve decided to give my very last advanced copy of Onyx & Ivory to a book reviewer or blogger. But first, I want to take a moment to say thank you to two specific bloggers, Pila @ inlovewithhandmade.blogspot.com and Erin @ booklovingnut.com. Both of these lovely women were willing to read an early copy of Onyx & Ivory and to give me lovely blurbs for it. And when I say, early, what I mean is an unedited, no-cover, no-makeup, bed-head version of the book. As a matter of fact, it didn’t even have a title yet. To have their approval, even so early, meant the world to me. Here’s what they had to say:

Aren’t they lovely? Be sure to thank them for me if you see them online. And if you see them in person, they deserve a hug or a fist bump.

The contest to win a signed arc of Onyx & Ivory is open until midnight EST on Thursday, March 29. It’s open Internationally. Any person who regularly reviews books is permitted to enter. Good luck!

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

While Meg Corbin and the residents of Lakeside Courtyard work toward tolerance between the Others and humans after the purge, elsewhere in the Northeast Region, Vicki DeVine and the residents of Sproing have the opportunity to do the same.

Title: Lake Silence
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: A Novel of the Others, #6
Publish Date: March 6, 2018, by Ace
Genre: Contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIn this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget…

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

Shortly before Lake Silence came out, I re-listened to Meg Corbin’s story. I was looking for a “comfort read”—something I was familiar with and loved. As I mentioned on Anne Bishop’s Courtyard, the Facebook group for fans of the series, my post-Trump experience of the books was a little different than before. It felt even darker, more ominous and immediate. The pervasive greed and entitlement of many of the humans in the series felt more real and less fantastic this time around, and the dread I felt, even knowing what was coming in a series I had heard several times, felt sharper.

Lake Silence takes place after the Others have purged many of the humans from Thasia (North America). It demonstrates that not all the right people were purged and that greed and entitlement will always express itself, even in the face of drastic consequences.

This is not a story about Meg and the Lakeside Courtyard, though they are referenced. This is the story of Vicki DeVine and the residents of Sproing and the Jumble, a human settlement on terra indigene-controlled land. Vicki has finally escaped an abusive marriage—though not unscathed—and has set about creating a new life for herself in Sproing as the owner of The Jumble, a place she believes to be a rustic lakeside resort. She soon learns that the Jumble has another purpose—to serve as a point of connection between humans and the others.

Vicki acquired the rights to the Jumble in the divorce settlement with her ex-husband. He and his cronies, however, have other plans for the resort. They want to scare Vicki off the land and turn it into something more lucrative than rustic, even though doing so would violate the terms of the agreement between the tenants and the Others. Their greed, arrogance, and entitlement, and the security of their “good ol’ boys’ club,” lead them to believe they are unstoppable. For this reader, it’s a bit cathartic to know they are not.

Happy-faced quokka

Happy-faced quokka

Though this sounds like a heady, depressing story, Ms. Bishop has a way of bringing a lightness and innocence to her world as well. The town of Sproing is so named because of the sproingers that populate the area—creatures that made me think of quokkas who can understand human speech and communicate with happy faces or sad faces. They seem to be agents of the Others, but it is never expressly said whether they are terra indigene themselves. I choose to believe they are.

Another thing I found interesting was the way the Others play the game Clue, called Murder in the series. The Others play by creating a game board of their actual environment—in this case, the Jumble and surrounding land—rather than using a generic mansion and its rooms. Arts and crafts plus a game to double the fun!

Books are always a big deal in Anne Bishop’s stories, which I love. Vicki becomes the Reader for the Jumble—someone who reads out loud from books, articles, journals, or anything else the terra indigene might find useful or entertaining. That way, even those terra indigene who haven’t learned to read can enjoy the stories. I love this nod to oral tradition and to the value of stories in our world.

I don’t know whether Vicki’s story is the start of a new series or just one installment in a series of stories about human and terra indigene learning to live with each other in Thasia. Lake Silence seemed to be wrapped up nicely at the end. At the very least, I hope there will be more stories set in Thasia and read by Alexandra Harris, who does an amazing job as narrator. She brings the perfect mix of innocence and gravity to the characters that makes my enjoyment of the series even greater. As always, 5 Stars.

Our reviews in this series…

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

From the author of the successful Dorthy Must Die series comes a new fairytale retelling of the Snow Queen.

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

Title: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow, Book 01
Publish Date: September 20, 2016, by Bloomsbury USA
Genre: YA fantasy, Fairytale retelling
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionSeventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high-security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.

This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent Annie says…

Ack, what a terrible book. It was so poorly written, even the choice of vocabulary was bad. You can’t have arrows pelt off of a wing. That’s not what arrows do! They pierce, sting, puncture, drill, perforate, etc. Pelting is what you do with a rock, or you can pummel with it or batter even. That simple choice of one inaccurate word is indicative of why I didn’t like this book. It needed a good editor.

The story was actually well conceived. I liked the plot, but the execution made reading this difficult to slog through. Even the ending (SPOILER) in which Snow holds her mother’s hand and freezes her solid was so lame. How was Snow able to do that? She had never done it before. It wasn’t even something she had considered. Also, how was her mother, who had been plotting for most of her own life, not to mention the entirety of her daughter’s life, not be able to defend against the freezing? It’s disappointing that the author chose to end the book with such an implausible scene in order to set the stage for next book. I definitely will NOT be reading any more books in this series. I give this book 2 stars.

Other recommendations…

If you’d like to read a good book with a fairy tale style story, I recommend The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, the Mordant’s Need Duo by Stephen R. Donaldson (The Mirror of Her Dreams, & A Man Ride’s Through) or His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman.

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

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