Waiting on Wednesday: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

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The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Book Description:

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

Gripping and full of heart, this epic journey will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

ARC Review: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

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The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Book Description:

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

 

Kelli’s Review:

WHOA.

I am kind of in a state of shock right now. From the blurb, I expected it to be dark. And it was, brilliantly so.

Alex’s older sister was horribly murdered years ago. She made a decision using violence, wasn’t caught, and now knows a truth about herself. She is essentially a loner with a pretty messed up home life. But she’s befriended by Peekay (PK – a nickname for Claire, the Preacher’s Kid) when they volunteer at the animal shelter together. As Alex begins to open up, she catches the eye of the most popular and most wanted guy in school, Jack. He also happens to be vying against her for the valedictorian spot.

As the story went on, I really grew to love all of the characters. Their voices were all so different. And each was extremely well-developed. I almost wanted the darkness of the story to fade and transform into a brighter one. And honestly, for a while, I was positive it would. Even after some more shocking things happened.

I must say I had a love-hate feeling for Jack. I mean, I really wanted him and Alex to work out. But when he couldn’t shake the ex/best friend/screw buddy, Branley, I wanted bad things to happen to him. Maybe it’s the bit of darkness in me.

I feel I should warn people that there are very adult themes present in this book. And very sensitive subjects breached. The author does a great job in handling them without condoning any of the behaviors or actions. She also does a great job of exploring the secondary characters through the eyes of the three main voices.

This book is an accurate portrayal of the world we currently live in. It also includes a message underneath all the “story” and drama. Nothing is sugar-coated and there is no cop-out ending, which I really appreciated.

Kelli’s Rating: 5/5

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Blush Factor: 2

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Review: Royal Marriage Market by Heather Lyons

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Royal Marriage Market by Heather Lyons

Release Date: December 15, 2015

Book Description:

Every decade, the world’s monarchs and their heirs secretly convene to discuss global politics and social issues—and arrange marriages between kingdoms.

Elsa may be the Hereditary Princess of Vattenguldia, but she finds the entire situation archaic and unsavory. While she wants what’s best for her country, she isn’t about to jump into an unwanted relationship—let alone a marriage—with a virtual stranger. Of course, her feelings matter little to her parents, whose wheeling and dealings over trade pacts and alliances achieved at her expense begin the moment they set foot in California for the Summit. So when a blindingly handsome royal runs into her, she doesn’t hesitate to tell him there’s no way she’s marrying him.

Christian is all too happy to agree: no marriage. As the Hereditary Grand Duke of Aiboland, his main goal is to get through the summit without a bride being foisted on him. Which is why he suggests they help each other field potential intendeds. As Christian slowly gets to know Elsa, though, he realizes they have a lot more in common than just their feelings about the Royal Marriage Market. Only he can’t fall for her, because royal or not, they’re not meant for each other.

Elsa and Christian will have to evaluate matters of the heart verses those of state and crown, and decide whether or not tradition trumps love.

 

Kelli’s Review:

I love Heather Lyons, so this contemporary from her was a must-read. I adore her fantasy/mythology books but this was a nice, fun change.

It’s a little bit of a fairy tale and unique in this genre where everything seems to be written from a formula. The story follows Elsa and Christian, two royals who must attend the Royal Marriage Market. It’s sort of a gathering of the world’s royalty. And both are promised to other suitors. But their attraction is there under the friendship they start. As feelings grow we are wondering if they will thwart tradition and follow their hearts.

I love both characters. I love that Elsa isn’t the typical princess type in need of rescue. She has her own mind underneath her polish, and she isn’t afraid to speak it. Christian is absolutely swoonworthy and I couldn’t help falling for him, too. Together they are perfection. I was rooting them on the whole way.

Royal Marriage Market is a quick, fun read. There is some drama, of course, but not so much to induce eye rolls or annoy you into wanting to quit. The story is cute and enjoyable and lighthearted. I found it to be a realistic fairy tale.

Kelli’s Rating: 4/5

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Blush Factor: 1

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Waiting on Wednesday: Nemesis by Anna Banks

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Nemesis (Nemesis #1) by Anna Banks

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Book Description:

The princess didn’t expect to fall in love–with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora’s gift could save Tarik’s kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

 

*** I think a lot of my love for this is thanks to the cover. I’ve seen some hate and grief about it, but I like the uniqueness. It’s not a girl in a dress! YAY!!! It’s kinda creepy and a little bit Terminator. I hope it rocks! ***

ARC Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay Kristoff

Release Date: August 9, 2016

Book Description:

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

 

Kelli’s Review:

‘Byss and blood, fuck yes. This book, you guys.

Wow.

So, I’ve been dying to read this since the summary was announced. Hell, maybe even before that. An assassin school? Another teen girl out for revenge after the slaughter of her family? Yes! Sign. Me. Up.

I swear I heard angels sing when the NetGalley approval came through, so I’ve gotta thank St. Martin Press right off the bat. And still, I didn’t want to read it right away. I think I knew just how incredible it was going to be.

I admit, the first 10 pages or so I was confused. I had to go back and reread things. I wasn’t sure if I had a faulty copy. But then, it just hooks you. And by 20 pages, you never want the story to end. Ever.

Anyway, we’ve got Mia Corvere, a 16 year-old whose family had been destroyed years ago. Her father, hung for treason. Mother and baby brother sent to prison. Even at 10 and untrained, she was kind of a bad ass. She escaped her own death, and was “found” by a Shahiid (I suppose a master of sorts) and they began training. Somewhat. However, he sends her on a journey to the Red Church — a school for wannabe assassins. And this is where the story really rocks. Because there are tests along the way, and she must pass to even gain entrance to the school. The trick? She doesn’t even really know where it is. She meets up with Tric, an attractive Dweymeri boy, who also happens to be seeking the Church. Together, they meet up with interesting characters and creatures BEFORE even arriving. It’s crazy cool and unique.

Most of Nevernight is Mia’s training. There are less than 30 acolytes when things begin, and they are slowly killed off (by various things or persons). We get to know several quite well. All of the classes are leading up to finals, when initiation will take place. There’s a whole to it, but it’s more fun to read about than explain. Just know that it’s awesome and very Harry Potter-esque.

This book is so incredibly plotted and well-written. I don’t think I have any complaints. Well, other than the first few pages. But I loved that we got pieces of the past mixed in with her time at the school. It really added depth to Mia’s character. And the taste for revenge that she so desperately craved. I wanted it too. I have to warn people that this is TRUE fantasy. The development takes time and patience, but again, the crafting is absolute perfection. The writing is intense, but amidst the seriousness is plenty of snark, humor, and heck yeah – sexy times. A little steam never hurt anyone, and Mr. Kristoff knocked those scenes out of the park. It doesn’t hurt that they were completely unexpected, too! But I digress.

The ending scenes. My gosh. For the last 20 – 30% of the story I was glued to my Kindle. At the same time I was savoring it. Things were so intense, and the twists! I really didn’t see the big one coming, so kudos on that! I did love how this ended, but I admit that it blows having to wait another year or so for the next book in the series. It’s too far away! This book is easily a top read of 2016 for me. In fact, I’d place it second only to Maas’s ACOMAF.

In my opinion, this is the best “girl-power” book I’ve read in a long time. Especially regarding the topic of revenge. Kristoff has built a world that makes me want to become an assassin the way I wanted to be a wizard in Rowling’s world. Move over, Celaena Sardothien. There’s another resident bad-ass female assassin in the literary world. Mia Corvere. Never flinch. Never fear. Never forget.

Kelli’s Rating: 5/5

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Blush Factor: 4

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