True North (True Born Trilogy #2)

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I received this ARC from Entangled Teen in conjunction with YA Reads Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.  This is a stop on the YA Reads Blog Tour for “True North”!

 

SYNOPSIS: Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.


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REVIEW: Lucy’s twin sister, Margot, is gone.  She vanished with their parents and the mysterious Russian aristocrat when the Laster’s attacked their home during their reveal.  Since then she’s spent all of her waking moments (and then some) worrying about her sister and focusing on finding a solution to the plurality of problems she and her True Born friends face.

I learned my lesson that day as my raging grief clawed back the tides of death-that the only thing worse than feeling my twin’s suffering was the feat of not feeling her at all.

She’s relying on Nolan Storm to help her find her sister and her frustration is mounting.

It’s not that I don’t trust Storm to help me get my sister, exactly.  I expect he’ll live up to his side of our bargain. Eventually.

For the first time in her short and pampered life Lucy must make a choice completely on her own, a choice that leads her far from home.  In a world where it’s survive or die, she takes the ultimate risk in searching for her sister.

Lets not forget the mysterious Jared Price, he’s still in play.  It seems these two can’t or won’t escape each other even when the world around them is collapsing.  With the introduction of a new friend, Alastair, we have a ragtag trio on our hands.

As Lucy moves beyond the Upper Circle into the world of the Gilt, those with more money than all of Dominion combined, things are’t what they seem.

The Gilt don’t play by the same rules.  They’re above rules…

I really liked that this story saw Lucy and her friends leaving Dominion.  One of the most interesting aspects of this world is that it’s divided up in very different ways than our own world.  The references to different nations/regions compared to what we call them today was one of my favorite little bits.  That and the Watchers who seem dead set on claiming Lucy and Margot for their own twisted reasons.

Who pulls the Watchers’ strings?

I enjoyed this more than the first book, possibly because I had more information.  To say more would fall into the realm of spoilers, so I won’t.  I will say, pick this one up!  It’s the perfect read for a sunny Sunday in the park.

4 stars.

Publication Date: April 4. 2017

Pick it up here: True North

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72 Hours

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72 Hours

I received this ARC courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.  Shoutout to Publicist Brittani Hilles for indulging my fondness for Bella Jewel yet again!

Lara is heartbroken, reeling from a recent breakup she didn’t see coming and a loss she may never recover from.  She has gone from a no nonsense, no sugar coating, speak her mind sort of woman to a shell of her former self in the last few months.

Noah is her devastatingly handsome ex, the cause of her despair.

When they are both kidnapped and dumped in the woods together as part of some sort of warped game on the part of a clearly deranged capturer, will they be able to put all their feelings aside to survive?

72 hours.  They have a 72 hour head start before his wicked games begin.  Can the ghost of a woman and the man she despises survive what’s to come?

WOW!  This was an edge of your seat, page turner!  I started it right before bed (immediately after finishing my previous read) thinking I’d read a chapter or two to give me a general idea and get back to it today.  Well, I woke up early and rather than get a few more hours of sleep on my relaxed  late-start workday I decided to get up and keep reading!

I read, a lot.  I’ve read about serial killers, I’ve read good thrillers and romantic suspense, but that’s all it was … fiction.  It’s created to entertain an active mind.  It’s no more than a creative author putting words onto paper.  Those things don’t actually happen.  I know the world is a vile and hideous place at times, but this …no.

I found Lara a bit one dimensional at times but I tried to temper it by remembering all she had gone through prior to the start of the book.  Noah appealed to my fondness for bad boy types.  That said, I found the one chapter written from Noah’s perspective to be more distracting than anything else.  I’m all about shifts but for only a single chapter it was a bit odd.  All things said, it was a fun and quick read.

If you are keen on a bit of suspense with a bit of suspension of disbelief,  without too much head scratching- Ms. Jewel is your girl.  This one did not disappoint!

*Fair warning, there is a bit of smut.  There are also a few issues with language consistency (the author isn’t American and some of the choices in vocabulary will stand out if you have a keen eye).

4 Stars

Publication Date: April 4, 2017 

Click on the link at the top of the review if you want to snag it from Amazon.

 

Gilded Cage

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I received this ARC from Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review, which I am a couple of weeks late getting out!

There are two types of people in Britain (and the world); those with skill, the Equals, and those with none, Commoners.  Skill equals power, over nature and society.

Government is not what defines us, Chancellor. Nor is power.  Not wealth.  Skill is what defines us…

Ten years.  All Commoners are required to do ten years slavedays.  Ten years of serving the Equals as a slave.  Abi is lucky, she and her family will complete their decade on the estate of the most powerful Equal family.  She thought so anyway, until her younger brother Luke is sent to a slavetown instead.  The slavetown are factory neighborhoods, six day workweeks under brutal conditions.

Things aren’t what they seem.  The Equals aren’t known to be benevolent but are they entirely evil?  Will Abi and Luke do their time or will they dismantle the very foundations of Equal rule?

Your allies aren’t always who you think they are, Miss Matravers.  And neither are your enemies.

This book is in no way reinventing the wheel. The troupe isn’t new but it is interesting.  I’m keen on extraordinary powers and dystopia, this fits the bill.  I will definitely read the next book in the series.

Three stars.

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

 

The Society

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I received this book from Netgalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC in exchange for an honest review.

This is a revenge plot.  That much is clear from the very beginning and you won’t forget it for even a solitary chapter.  Sam had it all; a well-to-do upbringing, a posh private school education and  the sort of best friend that ensures social standing.  That all changes when said best friend, Jessica, betrays her.  Now her father is in prison, her mother  has passed her off on an aunt who seems more and more out of it these days and now she really only has one friend (Jeremy).

How do you explain the culmination of years of torment?  Everyone has a breaking point, and I’d reached mine.

This is her senior year and she has vowed to make Jessica and her cronies pay.  She meets a mysterious bad-boy in the process and begins to lose herself in him and her plot.  Trinity Academy has “The Society”, its little version of Skull and Bones and Sam has her own little initiates to exact her revenge…will she succeed?

It took me a really long time to read this, mostly because it was so predictable.  I just couldn’t quite get into it.  As for the writing, it was sound, just nothing special.  I did appreciate the Author’s Note about bullying at the end.  Bullying in schools is a real problem, one we as a society should take seriously.  As a first grade teacher I show zero tolerance for it, and I hope we all do our parts.

Two Stars.

Expected Publication: May 3, 2016

 

 

True Born (True Born Triology #1)

true-born-epubI received this ARC from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

In this Dystopian society the plague is back with a vengeance and shows no signs of disappearing naturally or being cured. Dominion City is the last stronghold of Nor-Am, the center of what was once a powerful nation.  Life is all about survival for most, though for Lucy and Margot Fox, the twin daughters of one of Dominion’s most powerful men life goes on much the same as before.

By your eighteenth  birthday you’re supposed to know.  They’re supposed to tell you.  Splicer.  True Born.  Laster.

.The Lasters are living on borrowed time, just waiting for the plague to take them.  The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that involve splicing their DNA to stay a step ahead of the disease.  The True Borns are born resistant, with mutated genes that channel primitive changes in their DNA, from before we evolved into Homo Sapiens.

All that separates us, that poor woman and me, is an accident of birth.

As the Fox sisters approach their big reveal party their world is cast into chaos.  The Laster population is not just quietly dying out, they are making their presence know.  The True Born population their Splicer circle despises is suddenly on the scene, saving them from they don’t know what.  Nothing is as it seems, as it has always been.

…they’d let us die without ever telling us the truth.  Or, they would dangle it over our heads to force us into compliance.

 Lasters die, Splicers play God to save themselves and the True Borns are mutant shape-shifter freaks.  Right?  Suddenly Lucy isn’t so sure and she’ll do what it takes to keep her sister safe.  Dominion City isn’t what it seems.

Three Stars.

Expected Publication: May 3, 2016

Tell the Wind and Fire

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I received this ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group/Clarion Books in exchange for an honest review.

I read this book at a villa overlooking the Caspian Sea and I think that definitely set the mood that had me powering through this in a day.

With the discovery of light magic and that only some can wield it, New York City is split in two, Light New York and Dark New York.  Lucie was born in the dark, the daughter of a light magician father and mother from a family that uses dark magic.  Dark magic is evil, a necessary evil, or so they say.  After her life is completely upended, Lucie is accepted into the upper echelon of Light New York-but it comes with a price.

Once you lose something, it tends to stay gone.  This is especially true with chances.

The only thing that makes sense to Lucie in this new world is Ethan, her love for him and him for her sustains her as she remains haunted by the dark.

Maybe that is the only thing I have ever learned about love: love is when you save someone no matter what the cost.

When Ethan’s actions lead her back into the dark, Lucie must once again become the golden thread that lights his way back.  With dark magicians thirsty for blood, doppelgangers and an elite ruling council that controls everything, she can only hope her light is strong enough.

The only choice in the Light City or the Dark, was to be twisted or to break.

I enjoyed the book for what it was, but a more detailed review would betray the plot as the world-building was not quite as intricate as some of Brennan’s earlier work. I’m definitely a fan but this one didn’t quite reach the level of The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy for me.  About 25% of the way through I could see quite clearly how it would end, which would have been a disappointment had I really stopped to think about it.  As it stands I liked the book but I didn’t love it.

Three stars.

Expected Publication: April 5, 2016

Hellraisers (The Devil’s Engine #1)

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I received this book from Netgalley and Farror, Straus and Giroux (BYR) in exchange for an honest review.

After six weeks of radio silence (you can blame regular exams+finals week for my first graders for that) I have to say, this one was different.

Marlow Green is a kid on the tail end of his last chance.  He’s expelled from school almost as often as he changes his clothes.  The world is out to get him, everything is out of his control.

Charlie was right.  For someone who couldn’t jog ten paces without reaching for his inhaler, Marlow did a hell of a lot of running.  Not sprinting, not jogging, not running a marathon.  No, his kind of running was the other kind.  He never ran toward anything, he ran away from everything.”

Enter the action-a secret group of hellraisers, literally.  A society dedicated to fighting off demons and sending them back below.  There is a machine, actually there are two.  These mysterious engines offer ultimate power and united they will bring hell on earth.

It was human nature to avoid evil, a warning signal in the blood and right now that warning was blaring like a siren.

Marlow may not be much out in the world but as a hellraising Engineer he finds his place in it.  With Pan, Herc, the lawyers, an enigmatic boss and a motley crew of brethren Marlow takes on evil and all hell follows, literally (St. Patrick’s Church in New York is leveled).

Death was stalking him, hovering over his shoulder, just out of sight.  And death was the least of his worries, too.  Because where he was going the fires burned way hotter than this.

I found this book to be quite interesting.  While a bit slow at times, I kept on reading it in spurts as time permitted.  The last part (it was written in three) was the most fast-paced and interesting but the overall plot kept me coming back for more.  I look forward to what our ragged cast of heroes do in the next installment.  Fire and brimstone can’t win, right?

Four stars.

Publication Date: December 1, 2015