Qnd Eldr. Breathe Fire.

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ARC provided by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.

I love Goodreads.  I find it to be such a calm social media platform and almost all of my favorite authors are on there.  There are so many great discussion groups and books and giveaways.  I love the giveaways, and Adrienne Young’s Sky in the Deep was the first one that I won.  I practically screamed when the ARC of Sky in the Deep appeared in the mail.  I love the driven brutality and brotherhood of ancient Vikings, and I am a sucker for stories with fierce heroes and heroines.  Plus, two of my favorite authors wrote glittering reviews for it, so how could I not but dive in?

Raised to drive a blade through her clansmen’s rival clan, the Riki, Eelyn’s life is simple enough until she sees her brother on the battlefield fighting with her enemy.  The brother she watched bleed to death five years ago.  Kidnapped by the Riki and faced with her brother’s betrayal, Eelyn is forced to survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki.  But, the longer she is in the village, the more she begins to see herself in the people she was taught to hate.  Her world crumbling all around her, she is forced to put aside her prejudices when the Riki are raided by a clan thought to be a myth.

From the blood-soaked battlefield where the story opens up on to the snowy mountain village and back to Eelyn’s home, the fjord, Adrienne Young delivers a taut fantasy novel.  The meaning of loyalty and forgiveness are explored, and the all-consuming question,”What is family?” is gutted and examined by the deeply flawed and very human Eelyn.

I finished reading this over a month ago, but I waited until now to review it in order to put my thoughts in order.  All in all, I would gladly read Sky in the Deep again.  I rate this five out of five stars.

Sky in the Deep will be released on April 24th, two days from now, and it is still available for preorder from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible, Indiebound, Google, Powells, Book Depository, Kobo, and Books-A-Million.  I would recommend checking your local bookstores for it as well, if you have one.

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Queen of Thieves

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Time-travel books are by far my favorite type of book.  Even more than fae books.

I freeze and gape in horror at what I just typed.  “Le gasp!  How dare I?”

Oh, I dare.

Before No Good Deed by Kara Connolly appeared on the “new books” shelf in the library, I’d exhausted the Young Adult department’s time-travel selection.  Basically, I saw it, snatched it up, and almost forgot to check it out before I staggered out of the library, already nose-deep in it.

Ellie Hudson is on the road to a gold medal for the U. S. Olympic archery team, but, when she makes a wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle, she ends up in medieval England.  Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages, she just wants to get home.  But, as she spends time in the past, she sees that people are suffering and she has the skills to make it better.

Filled with humorous outlaws, dashing knights, and cunning royals, Kara Connolly delivers a fantastic romp.  Well-paced and fairly historically accurate (for a time-travel and a spin on Robin Hood), I read it in one sitting.  Heck, I cried when it ended.

No Good Deed hit the bull’s eye, so I award it five out of five gold stars.

Paranoia, is That You?

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Ever since I convinced my mom to read the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren back in 2012 and we some of the other’s favorite books, we trust each other.  When it comes to books, if my mom tells me to read a book or thinks that I’ll like it, I’ll give it a shot.  So when she told me about a book about seemingly perfect families and zombies, I thought this would be a creepy fun read.  Amy Lukavic’s The Ravenous was certainly creepy.

Form the outside, the Cane family looks like they’re the perfect military family.  Behind closed doors their father is neglectful, their mother struggles with depression and addiction, and the sisters barely stand each other.  When the youngest sister, Rose, dies in a tragic accident, the sisters are devastated, and when she’s brought back to life, they couldn’t be more relieved.  But after their mother deserts them and they discover that Rose must eat human flesh to survive, the sisters find out how far they’ll go to keep their fractured family together.

It takes a lot for a book to truly frighten me, and this book did, pulling out my fear of cannibals out of the shadows.  While the concept of the living dead surviving on human flesh is very “zombie,” the way Amy Lukavics delivers it is very “cannibal.”  Suffice to say, I slept with a light on for the next several nights.  (Thanks, Mom.)

With the fear of being devoured in my sleep keeping me on the edge of my seat (and bed and, well, everything), I bestow upon The Ravenous five out of five stars.  I’m looking forward to reading The Women in the Walls and Daughters Unto Devils and getting thoroughly terrified.

Immortality Without Creativity

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Facebook, as it would turn out, has other uses than obsessing over peoples’ timelines.  The illustrator of Margaret Rogerson’s An Enchantment of Ravens, Charlie Bowater, creates fan art for the Throne of Glass series.  I’ve seen dozens of her works and I get quite excited when I see a new project of hers.  When I saw this book pop up in a Throne of Glass group, I figured that I just had to check it out.  And check it out I did.

Artist Isobel creates breathtaking portraits for the fair folk.  These immortals cannot do anything creative without crumbling to dust.  So naturally, they crave human Craft terribly, and will trade enchantments for said Craft.  Isobel is over the moon when the autumn prince, Rook, is her patron.  But she paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, and this weakness could cost him his throne and both of their lives.

Bursting with lyrical prose and journeying across lush faery settings, Isobel and Rook grow close, even while they’re attacked at all sides.  Honestly, this wasn’t my favorite fae book but it certainly wasn’t the worst I’ve read.  The romance was a bit too quick for my taste but that could be just me.  I’m usually more of a fan of romantic relationships that form over the course of a series, not within the first one hundred or so pages.

Other than Rook and Isobel’s slightly forced connection, it was a wonderful light read.  I rate it four out of  five stars.

Boy Meets Girl, Girl Murders People

Following my discovery of Young Adult novels back in 2010, I spent the next couple of years reading and rereading Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series and whatever Holly Black and Rachel Caine book I could get my hands on.  I recall having just finished a book about a fae disguised as a human when the spine of Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood whispered to me.  Despite not being remotely about fae or vampires, I let the creepy and blood-dripping girl on the cover lure me in.  A four year dalliance had begun!

After his father’s gruesome murder a decade earlier, Cas Lowood has taken up his father’s job: killing the dead.  Armed with his father’s mysterious athame, Cas travels around the country with his kitchen’witch mother and spirit-sniffing cat.  They follow legends and local lore and destroy the murderous dead, all the while keeping pesky things like the future and friends at an arm’s length.  Catching wind of a ghost, Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects to track it down, hunt, and kill it.  So the usual.  What he discovers, however, is a girl buried in curses and rage.  She’s a ghost he’s never faced before.Wrapped in a blood-soaked dress that she wore on the day of her murder in 1958, Anna has killed everyone who has had the misfortune to step into her crumbling Victorian house.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

Unfortunately, my sanity while waiting to read the second book wasn’t.  Nevertheless, Anna Dressed in Blood and it’s sequel, Girl of Nightmares, was packed to the brim with sarcasm, wit, and epic ghost versus human battles.  From the violent beginning to the heart-wrenching end my heart was in my throat.  And the chills…  I’m still looking over my shoulder whenever I feel something running down my spine.

I rate the Anna duology a four out of five stars.

Lada the Impaler

After spending nearly two weeks avoiding getting my heart burnt by yet another literary love dawdling, I got my act together and finished Kiersten White’s And I Darken.  It wasn’t until I was four chapters into it’s sequel, Now I Rise, that I realized that it would be a good time to write a review.  Because nothing says fun like gathering your thoughts and emotions in order to write a non-spoiler-y review of four hundred eighty-four pages that just about murdered you.

Abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada and her brother Radu are pawns in a vicious game of politics and life.  Lada has always known that being ruthless is the key to survival while Radu longs for a place to feel safe.  Fighting to stay alive, Lada bides her time, plotting vengeance for the day she will return to her homeland, Wallachia, and claim her birthright.  Enter Mehmed: the defiant, lonely, and future sultan looking for a friend.  As the three of them grow closer and the years tick by, a dangerous and toxic triangle forms between them, straining under the pressures of war, politics, and deceit.

From the nerve-wracking build up to the constant worry that one of them was going to die, And I Darken reminded me of Game of Thrones, only with teens.  I cried and shrieked so many times watching the trio develop into the unique and driven bad asses they are, and I’m holding my breath with anticipation whilst devouring the sequel.

I’ve finished Now I Darken.  Whoa.  I’m still in shock.

I rate both books five out of five bleeding stars.

Heeere’s Wilson!

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Once I read the description, any inhibitions I had to wait and read the other books on my shelf were thrown away.  Sorry The Crucible.  Sorry The Roanoke Girls.  Sorry my monthly dose of Poe.  Domino, Cain, and Wilson called my name.

Surviving in the gritty streets of Detroit, Domino and her friend live off of their wits.  But when disaster strikes and Madam Karina, a mysterious woman with secrets of her own, offers Domino a position at her girls’ home, Domino has no alternative and accepts.  It doesn’t take her long before she’s fighting her way up the ranks to gain Madam Karina’s approval and becomes the target or brutal bullying.  Along with the help of her new friends, Cain and Poppet, she discovers the madam’s terrible secrets.  Soon Domino realizes that she needs to escape, but how can she do that when the madam hates losing inventory?

Fast-paced and twisted, Victoria Scott delivers a snappy and whip-smart narrator.  The story hardly slows down and the grisly secrets of Madam Karina’s Home for Burgeoning Entertainers come to light in the most chill-inducing ways possible.  I felt like I was in an action/psychological thriller.  Domino was the best narrator for Violet Grenade; she captured the horror of her situation and added needed humor and the right amount of sarcasm.

Like the last two books I’ve read, I rate this five out of five stars.