Book review: Nemesis by Anna Banks

Book review: Nemesis by Anna Banks

nemesis

**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**

4 ½ stars

Being an undercover princess on the run from your family can be difficult – but being all those things PLUS being beautiful and having a major secret practically makes you a target for bad things happening.  Sepora is the last known Forger – her body creates and expels spectorium, a priceless liquid that can be made into materials for building, used in creating power, as well as a number of other things that make life run more smoothly.  But she’s tired of Forging for her father, the King of Serubel, who keeps her locked away from everyone so they don’t know she is the source of the precious substance.  And when she threatens to stop Forging for him, he locks her away in the dungeon – but her mother takes pity on her and assists her in escaping, while faking her death.  She doesn’t care where she’s able to run to, as long as it away from her power hungry father.  So she runs…

Being a prince not ready for his time to rule, but forced to be prepared upon his father’s untimely death from a mystery disease that kills with utter swiftness and is making its way through the kingdom of Theoria – hitting both old and young, male and female alike.  For Tarik, the now King of Theoria, his main concern is finding a cure for what is now called the Quiet Plague, and when Sepora ends up captured, sold into his harem, and demands to speak with him – from the moment he meets her realizes she is special in some way.  While he doesn’t realize her to be the presumed dead Princess of Serbel, he also knows that there is something about her – from the way she speaks to him, to the way she treats others.  That is partly due to the fact that Tarik is a Lingot, meaning her can distinguish a truth from a lie, and while Sepora learns how to speak with the intent of truth-telling, Tarik knows that while she is very special, she’s had a hard yet pampered path.  Throughout their trials together, the two begin to feel things for each other – but the fact that Tarik must marry a royal, but will love her is not something Sepora is willing to live with.  And while it’s found out that spectorium is at least a temporary fix for those with the Quiet Plague, never fully trusting Tarik and his intent leads Sepora on an emotional journey – one that could end up leading her right back into danger.  But it’s not a clear matter of right or wrong for Sepora, but rather of what is right for HER – meaning she makes a promise that no one will use her for her Forging powers, unless she deems them worth of such a gift (as she’s been used for it by her father for so long who does not use it for good most of the time).

While I’m not usually into more “historical” pieces (the whole story had a pharaoh mixed with the Middle Ages type feel), I loved everything about who Sepora was and the courage she had to find and make a new life for herself.  She was tough, intelligent, but still full of grace and clever words – enough so to make her way from runaway young lady, to captive, to the King’s harem, to the King’s Advisor’s attendant.  And Tarik, while smart, strong, and handsome, he still knows nothing when it comes to matters of the heart – but he wants to do right by his kingdom and its people, even if that means marrying a women he does not love – when the one he eventually does is in front of his face.  I thought the story was brilliantly written in a split POV between Sepora and Tarik, and their perspectives were important to the entire book.  I know Ms. Banks must have some amazing words up her sleeve to try to outdo the first part of Sepora and Tarik’s story, but I will try to keep my hopes low so she can blow me away once again!

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Book review: Remember Yesterday by Pintip Dunn

Remember Yesterday by Pintip Dunn

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**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**

4 ½ stars

This book picks up 10 years after Callie plunged the needle into her chest, all the in the name of keeping her “little” sister (whom is really her twin that was just implanted into her mother ten years after Callie was born), Jessa, from the horrible fate that she sees in her future.  In a world full of knowing the future and future visions of what life will be like for their society, a then 16 year old Callie thought she was salvaging a childhood for the then six year old Jessa – as well as the rest of the world by killing herself.  As part of a “send/receive” team, as twins, Callie believes that it will break the cycle and keep Jessa and their mother safe.  Even if it leaves them broken hearted – along with Callie’s boyfriend Logan and several others that had come to know Callie at Harmony, a safe community outside of Eden City that is for those gifted with talents.

But the now 16 year old Jessa is left feeling like the wrong sister died ten years ago – that it should have been her instead of Callie.  Because of this, she tends to act out against the Committee of Agencies, or ComA.  Her latest stunt is to release all the lab rats from the lab within ComA – which just so happens to be for an experiment for a boy her age, Tanner Callahan, whom is a ward of ComA as his parents were killed in an accident when he was six.  And when Jessa gets bite by one of the rats, she becomes infected with a strange, unknown ability.  At this point, Jessa feels it necessary to find out from Tanner just what she has been infected with, but the first meeting doesn’t go quite as Jessa expected.  So when they start running into each other more and more, their friendship grows beyond just young scientist and juvenile delinquent …they become friends that share about their difficult childhoods, and beyond to possibly more – neither one is quite sure what to think of the other’s allegiance.  And when Jessa finds out that Tanner is keeping a secret so major, it could literally change not only her whole life, but that of their entire worlds, it shakes Jessa to the core.  But with additional digging into this new development, along with Chairwomen Dresden – the evil head of ComA and Tanner’s boss – Jessa finds a new reason to keep going, she knows she’s there is more worth finding.  And with Tanner, her mother, and her other friends from Harmony, she knows that with love, anything can be done, even if it is a matter of life and death.

While I vastly enjoyed Callie’s story, I think I almost found Jessa’s story a little more enjoyable/ informative.  I learned a lot more about Callie’s story through Jessa’s story, 10 years later.  It amazes me how strong and smart both girls are – even more so seeing as they are twins – but they are different in one simple way…they each think the other will better serve the future than the other.  This surprised me in ways I didn’t think possible.  They are both very giving, loving, courageous, and smart, but it’s their love for each other – for their twin – that makes that strength shine so true in both of their stories.  I simply can’t WAIT to see what happens when their stories really collide in the next book – they are both older and more mature, so I could totally see a multiple POV tale in store for the Stone girls!

Book review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

Book review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

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**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**

5+ stars

When Sophie and her brother Eric find themselves on a plane to visit their father and his fiancé for their upcoming nuptials, while excited for a trip to Paris, France, they aren’t nearly as excited about seeing their father or the wedding.  For the budding pianist Sophie, she is beyond worried that a lack of practicing all summer will endanger her chance at a scholarship to a prestigious college.  And while her new step-mom, Eva is nice and happy to have them in Paris, her daughter and their new step-sister, Camille, is less than thrilled to not only have to share her room and home with Sophie, but that she is also expected to show them around on their visit.  When their first trip sightseeing ends up with Camille purposely loosing Sophie on the Metro, she knows she’s in for a long summer.  But then Mathieu, a childhood friend of Camille’s shows up to rescue Sophie, while she first thinks that it’s another of Camille’s cruel jokes, but Mathieu has a way about him that settles Sophie and sends her head spinning.  Even with her brother Eric’s friend Dane visiting them in Paris, whom Sophie’s had a crush on for some time, she sees the caliber of character difference and begins the spend more time with Mathieu, if even just to practice on his mother’s piano instead of the key board her father bought her.

Mathieu keeps his feelings just out of reach, and Sophie is continually baffled by him – his seeming interest, but then pulling back just when she starts to feel close to him. Between boy issues and daddy issues, Sophie can’t help but feel overwhelmed.  However, when she gets in front of the piano at Mathieu’s house, her tensions melt away and all the trouble with boys, her father, and even Camille are nothing but key strokes on the piano.  So when she gets the opportunity of a lifetime to play in a prestigious program, while she has her reservations, she decides to try.  With all of her ducks seemingly in a row, she finally begins to feel confident about her decisions – but when her best friend is in a terrible accident and someone comes between her and Mathieu, Sophie wonders if it hasn’t all been a trick of the bright lights in Paris.

I ADORED this book!  Ms. Grover Swank does yet another amazing job in setting the stage of the emotions and conflicts that Sophie feels on everything from boys she crushes on, to her piano career, and her relationships with her mom and dad.  But to have it set in the City of Lights made the story glide off the pages like a cool breeze – her dedication to keeping the French accurate, the names and places she mentions – it’s all summed up in a beautiful story of a young lady’s coming of age story and finding her way in the world.  While Sophie may be just another typical teenager, nothing about the way Ms. Grover Swank portrays her characters and their emotions is simply breathtaking!  Bravo!!

Book review: The Chosen Knights (Book 2) by Mary Ting

About THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS (The Angel Knights Book 2) A page turning mystery with a supernatural twist that entertains to the last page! ~InD’tale Magazine When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as … Continue reading

Book review: White Raven (The Raven Series Book 1) by J.L. Weil

white raven

White Raven (The Raven Series Book 1) by J.L. Weil

**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**

5 stars

When 17 year old Piper losses her mother to a horrible tragedy, her elusive grandmother, whom she’s never met, requests the summer with her and her little brother TJ on an island off the New England coast.  But when Piper and TJ arrive, they never could have prepared themselves for the huge and elaborate home that their grandmother lives in.  With Piper’s standoffish attitude and feelings for her grandmother, she keeps to herself and tries not to enjoy the lavish lifestyle, still in mourning over the loss of her mother and best-friend.  While in her shell of solitude, Piper wanders around the coastal town and meets Zoe, who is bubbly and outgoing.  She invites Piper to a bonfire, where she proceeds to meet Zoe’s three brothers, Zack – Zoe’s twin brother, Zander – the oldest Hunter sibling, and Zane – dark, brooding, and a complete jerk toward Piper.  But of course Piper feels a strange pull toward Zane and his obnoxious attitude, even though she knows she shouldn’t want to be talk to him…or see him…or dream of him.

When Piper starts feeling like she is being watched and Zane keeps popping in out of nowhere to intervene when she faces anything/one threatening, she begins to look for answers as to why people call her grandmother The White Raven, why Zane keeps calling her Princess, and why he and others have seemingly “invisible” tattoos that she can see, but others can’t…and why everyone keeps referring to her as a “Raven”.  With the on again, off again sparks she feels from Zane, when the eldest Hunter, Zander asks her out, she gladly accepts – he is literally just the tall, dark, and handsome to give her a little fun, but then Zane shows up and puts Piper’s life into a real tail spin.  And when he delivers the news that his father is THE Grim Reaper – that he is the son of death – and Piper is from the long line of powerful reapers known as banshee or a White Raven.  Zane tells her that she has the power to take a soul with one touch.  As her fascination with Zane grows, so does the danger she is in, as well as the information that she finally learns about her heritage – that her grandmother has an enormous amount of power, her mother didn’t want the reaper life for her (which is why she left Raven Hallow when she was pregnant with Piper), and that Piper is now next in line to be THE White Raven, “Queen” of all the reapers.  And not only that, but Piper also finds out that she is betrothed to Zander to unite the two most powerful families…falling for Zane shouldn’t have been a part of the deal.  But with danger waiting around every corner, Zane Hunter’s lips looking more kissable by the minute, and  her impending marriage to the other Hunter brother – Piper’s life is about to get more complicated than she could ever imagine.

Let me start of by saying I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK!!  I thought that Piper’s character was well developed, she knew how to stand on her own two feet, but was still willing to trust and rely on others.  She was strong, funny, and even without knowing it, completely kickass!  Which leads me to Zane…hmm, how to describe him with his hard abs, kissable lips, and dark hair (ha!) – Piper gives us some pretty good imagery throughout as she falls hopelessly in love with him.  I thought that their banter was amazing, and even though their journey is far from over, it’s apparent that they are a team, bound by their souls in an amazing ride of love, life, death and all those things encompass.  Great series so far – can’t wait to see more butt kicking and lip locking for Piper and Zane!

Review: Head Above Water (Gemini Book 2 : A Black Dog Series) by Hailey Edwards

Head Above Water (Gemini Book 2 : A Black Dog Series) by Hailey Edwards

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**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**

5 stars

When Camille Ellis is put on administrative leave from her job at as a Specialist with the Conclave – an agency that polices all things supernatural – she feels like she’s been left as a shell of her former self.  The one that did her job and didn’t get involved in other’s issues or feelings – the one she was before she met Graeson Cord, a warg (wolf shape-shifter) who’s sister was killed in an ongoing case that Camille or Cam for short, has been working on since the killer first started his spree.  Given how deeply she dove into the case, while Cam didn’t feel an instant connection to Graeson, he certainly gravitated toward her as he knew she had more information that she was giving up upon death of his sister.  So when Cam and Graeson (or Cord as she calls him) want to continue the investigation without the Conclave resources (Cam as she wants to find her friend that was taken and Cord so he can seek the blood of the one responsible for his sister’s untimely demise), the only way that Cord’s pack will even consider accepting her is by claiming that she is his mate.

Cam’s gypsy-like family joins her near Cord’s pack, as she doesn’t feel right when she’s away from them for too long.  And while the investigation starts out slowly, with the help of Cam’s cousin Isaac and Cord’s pack-mate Dell, they slowly but surely begin learning just how depraved and twisted Charybdis (the mysterious serial killer) truly is.  Given that and the reception Cord’s pack is giving Cam and her family, it makes every day a fight for the two – whether it’s one for information or belonging, the “mates” have their work cut out for them.  So when something happens that cracks the case wide open for Cam, the only question is does she want Cord and the help he can provide just for the sake of an extra set of helping hands, or does Cam want him around for some seemingly wrong reasons too?

Loved!  The story was fast paced and action packed from the beginning – I couldn’t put the book down as I was always wondering “what’s going to happen next?!?”!  Cam is a kick-butt chick and Cord a moody, yet smart, resourceful, and HOT guy to start, so adding in their families (or pack in Cord’s case) was such a great way to really get inside who they both are even more.  I am literally salivating waiting on the next book (even if it is only a few months out).  Cam and Cord make the ultimate power couple – I just hope they realize that too!

Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra (Book 2) by Michelle Madow

Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra (Book 2) by Michelle Madow

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**I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review**

4 ½ stars

The team of Elementals is back and ready for some answers.  With their teacher Darius leading the way, Nicole, Blake, Kate, Chris, and Danielle begin practicing and honing their Elemental skills – and keeping their town safe from monsters that have escaped from Kerberos, the prison the Olympians locked them into after the Second Rebellion.  As tension rise among the team, as do feelings between Nicole and Blake – but they have to keep those feelings hidden so they don’t upset the balance of the team, more specifically, Danielle.  But when they come up with a plan to find out just how the monsters are escaping, catching and questioning one of them, tensions run even higher.

Now that they’ve figured out a temporary fix using the Books of Shadows, the adventure really begins – in Greece and the Aegean Sea.  They must retrieve three things: the seed of the lotus fruit, the milk from the sacred immortal cattle of Helios, and the blood of a slain hydra.  The only problem is that they ALL come with some kind of obstacle – the lotus fruit turns you into a glorified hippie, the immortal cattle don’t produce milk, and the hydra, well, it’s a hydra – with 5 different heads, poisonous breath and bite – not to mention that if you try killing it by beheading it, two more heads grown back in the one’s place.  With nothing more than their magic and the weapons Blake (the fire elemental) created, they set off to create the only thing that could help them get and keep a hold on the escaping monsters until they can figure out how to permanently close the portal to Kerberos forever.  With a few new friends they meet along the way, does the Elemental team have what it takes to complete this frightening mission?

 One thing I love about the first two books so far is that they start with action and it doesn’t seem to stop throughout the entire story.  Nicole and Blake’s crush on each other grows, Kate proves that just because she can “only” control plates, she is a complete bad ass, and we already knew that Danielle and Chris has amazing power and confidence.  This story is very imaginative, while still giving the reader a glimpse into the actual Greek mythology.  I also think that it’s great that the story is super interesting, has a lot of action, but keeps it clean as far as the relationships are concerned.  This series would be perfect for anyone from 6th grade and up – and while an imagination is also necessary, Ms. Madow does a great job of painting a great portrait of her characters and the settings.

Trial by Fire (Going Down in Flames, Book 3) by Chris Cannon

Trial by Fire (Going Down in Flames, Book 3) by Chris Cannon **I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review** 4 ½ stars Red-blue hybrid dragon shifter Bryn McKenna has just started … Continue reading

Holding Court by K.C. Held

holding court

Holding Court by K.C. Held

**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**

5 stars

Cute, smart, and funny – of course with a huge helping of mystery and murder! High schooler Jules is out of a job for the summer when her mom closes up their family’s antique shop to do some work overseas – which is a bit of a problem for Jules. Especially as she is trying to save for a car, but given that she has Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome or PTS as her best friend Cami calls it – where she has random and bizarre verbal outbursts – employers are not very likely to give her a job. But when a local home is turned into a tourist attraction called Tudor Times – with everything from King Henry VIII and his wives to a crazy maid that has random psychic premonitions – Jules hesitantly (and with Cami’s strong nudging) looks to fill the shoes of the crazy maid. The only problem is, that most of Jules’s premonitions aren’t made up like her predecessor’s – and when she finds a secret passageway after trying to hide from her crush, Grayson Chandler whom also works at Tudor Times, only to find the body of a young lady she’s never seen before – Jules’s summer just went from bad to worse. Especially when the body “disappears” when the owner/ King Henry, Hank Bacon, goes in search of it in the secret passageway – coupled with the fact that no one is missing from the staff, it is swept under the rug.

But where there is one murder with no body, be assured there will be more – when another actual body is found, of course by none other than Jules herself again, the stage is set for some extreme mystery and intrigue, all pointed in Jules’s direction. But when some of her PTS start actually making sense, will she have blurted the wrong thing to the wrong person? There is a killer in the castle, and they are trying to make Jules silent, possible permanently. Can she figure out who is doing the killing before the killer comes for her?

This book was extremely entertaining – and while yes, it was a MURDER mystery, it was light-hearted and so easy to fall in step with poor Jules and her PTS. For me, Jules is just like every other teenage girl – she has insecurities and flaws – but underneath it all, she just wants to fit in and not feel awkward when blurts something like “Your nun is pregnant” for all to hear. I really enjoyed seeing the progression of Jules’s confidence throughout the story – while she is still self-conscience about her PTS, she starts to feel like people could really like her for just who she is, weird blurts and all. I would definitely recommend this “cheerful” murder mystery to anyone that has a little Nancy Drew in them – or wishes they did 🙂

True North (Undertow Book 3) by K.R. Conway

True North (Undertow Book 3) by K.R. Conway

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**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**

4 stars

Eila and her crew of Mortis/ own personal superheros is back and kicking more butt than ever.  With Raef, Kian, MJ, and Ana back by her side, with a few other loyalist added into the mix, they are ready to take their fight to where it could all end or begin – given the weapons that could be created and used against her and her misfit friends.  I really enjoyed leaning more about Eila’s heritage and being shown the risks and rewards that she feels are necessary to restore her once great race to it’s former glory.  With some bumps along her long road to self-discovery, Eila has her ever-present love Raef to help her navigate the twists and turns that are thrown her way.  If you are looking for just another sci-fi story, this might not be for you – this story has so much more!  It has intrigue, betrayal, romance, strange alien races (with strange powers to shock and awe), friendship, and loyalty.  I will be eagerly awaiting the next and final chapter in Eila’s journey!!