The Fever King by Victoria Lee #bookreview #LGBT #fantasy

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

I’ve read some good reviews of this book and seen it on lists of highly anticipated releases.  Considering that and the beautiful cover, I requested it on NetGalley.

The different take on magic in this novel is intriguing.  Magic is a virus, and only a slim percentage of people survive after being infected.  If they are fortunate enough to survive, they become a witching and possess magic with varying powers.  A lot of time and creativity were put into the world-building – it’s complex and politically charged.  The treatment of undocumented aliens is brutal and heart-wrenching, but also timely, and Noam finds himself straddling two different worlds.

Initially, the pacing is on the slow side, and it took me a while to get into this story.  On the flip side of that, the ending is exciting, full of twists, and moves at an astounding pace.  There are conflicting opinions on the world-building in other reviews I’ve read.  Some readers wanted more, some thought it was more of an information dump.  I’m with the group that’s unsure if they understood all the political angles.  I found it a little confusing at times.

The Fever King is filled with political intrigue, characters who possess powers along the lines of X-Men, and a wonderfully diverse cast.  Overall, it’s an enjoyable read, and more for the older YA crowd.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

WWW Wednesdays: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading The Invited by Jennifer McMahon.  One of her previous books, The Winter People, was a five star read for me.  I’m nearly halfway through this one, but feel like I’m still waiting for ‘it’ to happen.  Things are starting to heat up, so we’ll see.

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Timesbestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it’s too late . . . 

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home–wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks–she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

I recently finished Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan.  I started this one a few weeks back, but then had to stop to read two other books with closer deadlines.  This was a dark, brutal, bloody fantasy that weaved together themes of magic, politics, and religion in a thought-provoking way.  I loved it.

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..

Next, I’ll start King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody.  The first book in this series, Ace of Shades, was one of my top reads last year, and I’m excited to dive back into this creatively imagined world with these characters.

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #scifi

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

Truth – I was skeptical about this book because of the cover, but then I saw the author’s name and read the blurb, which has a kind of Stepford Wives feel.  Friends, I couldn’t put this book down.

The description is maddening enough for women, but trust me – your blood pressure will reach new heights once you read about the way these girls are treated.  At 400 pages, it’s long, but it certainly didn’t feel like it.  I wanted to finish it in one sitting – it’s that compelling, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.  Some of the interactions between the men and the students will make your skin crawl, but the friendships between the girls are strong, wonderful, and will make you wish for that kind of bond.  Everyone deserves friends like these.

This is a dark, twisty novel, and some scenes are tough to read.  But it’s also empowering when the girls realize their world is skewed very much in the bizarre and unnatural direction, and then decide to regain control.  I’m anxious to see what happens next.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.  I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Calendar Girls: April Fool’s Day (Favorite Book With a Surprise Ending or Twist)

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

Happy April Fool’s Day!  I’ve certainly read my share of books with a surprise ending or twist.  And I’m a confirmed fan – but I’ve read so many books that it’s kind of difficult to catch me off guard or to throw in a twist I didn’t see coming.  That being said, some have succeeded, and when I learned the theme for April, three books immediately jumped to mind.

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis.  I won’t say exactly what this character did that was so surprising, but trust me when I say it was completely unexpected and shocking.  Upon meeting the author, I had to ask where she’d gotten the idea for it, and told her how much I loved the twist.

 

 

 

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff.  With the revelations and twists in the last part of this book, I felt like my head had been put in a blender and pureed.  I never had an inkling – not a single clue of what was coming.  And the sequel will be released soon!

 

 

 

But the book I have to go with is The Empress by S.J. Kincaid.  The twists in this book were soul-crushing and infuriating.  I went through bouts of happiness, rage, frustration, hopelessness.  It’s the first novel I’ve ever had to set down and walk away from for a period of time – my reaction was that strong.  I read this book in 2017, and a part of my soul has died a little each day that I have to wait for the next book in the series – which is scheduled for sometime this summer.  Maybe I’ll have a shred of soul left by then.

The Devouring Gray (The Devouring Gray #1) by Christine Lynn Herman #bookreview #YA #fantasy

On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

When I saw the cover of this novel, I wanted to read it without even seeing the description.  Comp titles like The Raven Cycle and Stranger Things are the equivalent of leaving a trail of chocolate to lure me in.

What a dark, atmospheric story this is, with spine-tingling moments, complex, flawed, fully-realized characters, and layered secrets intermingled with lies.  Small towns always hold the most secrets and lies.  Occasionally when I read, I’m skimming the pages and getting the gist of the story.  With this book, I was completely absorbed from page one, and read every single captivating word.

These characters – oof.  Complicated relationships, a diverse cast, and a few different POVs.  All of them are compelling, but with a tragic, mysterious past, Isaac is the character that most intrigued me, and it looks like more about his past will be revealed in the next book.

The Devouring Gray is an enticing blend of YA fantasy and horror.  It’s not a fast-paced story, but more of a slow burn – and what a tantalizing burn it is, with all those secrets and lies slowly coming to light.  The second book in this duology will be on my wishlist for next year.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

#CoverReveal: Dawn of a Legend by R.K. Lander #fantasy

 

Dawn of a Legend
R.K. Lander
(The Silvan, #3)
Publication date: May 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Book three in The Silvan, a best-selling series by award-winning author R.K. Lander. “Page-turning epic fantasy you will not be able to put down.”

A past to claim

A power to wield

A destiny to fulfil

To the enemy, Fel’annár is just a half-blood bastard, but to the Silvan people, he is their crownless warrior prince. Returning from battle in the mountains, he grieves for one who was lost, a death that triggers a mystery Fel’annár and his company of chosen brothers must unravel. But why do the trees speak of a beautiful monster?

Fel’annár will learn the ways of the Kah Warrior from a legendary commander while facing the disdain of another who struggles to accept this ‘ignoble son’ for who he is, not for what he represents. Meanwhile, Fel’annár’s royal half-brother reveals a plan to restore the Great Forest to its past splendour of multi-cultural harmony. But the Forest is falling apart under the final onslaught of a ruthless traitor and the Silvan people are turning away from their ruler. Can Fel’annár come to understand what role he must play in this plan before it is too late? Can the brothers put aside their resentment towards each other for tearing their families apart and learn to trust one another? Can love prosper in the midst of battle and hardship as dark enemies converge on the Motherland?

Danger lies in wait for an elf who is slowly coming to terms with his heritage, learning to wield a natural ability and accepting the nature of his unfolding destiny.

The greatest warriors of their time will come together once more—in the name of justice. In the name of love.

Start your Silvan adventure today!

Book One: Path of a Novice
Book Two: Road of a Warrior (Best Indie Book Award winner 2018)
Book Three: Dawn of a Legend – coming soon
Book Four: Rise of a Warlord – 2020

Add to Goodreads

Previous books in the series:

 

Author Bio:

I write epic fantasy for adults. I love battles, warriors, great adventures – elves, monsters and generally weird things, but above all, I love a good story with compelling characters.
My first project is The Silvan Series, with book three, Dawn of a Legend ready to launch April 2019. I hope you’ll enjoy my stories and perhaps click the ‘follow’ button. And I would love to see you over at rklander.com. You’ll find some story extras there and freebie if you’re interested.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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Call Drops by John F. Leonard #BookReview #shortstory #RBRT #horror #TuesdayBookBlog

Vincent likes nothing more than rootling round second-hand shops in search of the interesting and unusual. Items that are lost and forgotten. 
Why not? He needs the diversion. Time on his hands and money to burn. His life is affluent and empty. Little on the horizon and memories tinged bittersweet. 
That’s all about to change. He’s about to find something that is perhaps better left unfound. 

CALL DROPS is a darkly swirling mix of horror and mystery that will stay with you long after the reading is done. It’ll maybe make you think twice about impulse buying, those moments when you simply must have something, even though you don’t need it. 
It might cause you to look again at the apparently mundane and everyday …and possibly, just possibly, wonder at what twisted marvels lurk within your mobile phone. 

Call Drops is a short (ish) horror story, the first in a series of sinister tales from the Dead Boxes Archive. 
Some objects are scary things. Dead Boxes definitely fall into that category. 
They can be easily overlooked. They’re ordinary on the surface. At first glance anyway. 
If you look a little closer, you’ll see something unique. 
You could have one and not know it. 
Be careful. 
They hold miracle and mystery. Horror and salvation. 
None are the same. Except in one regard. 
You don’t need one. 
You might think you do, but you really don’t. 
Believe me. 

A Short Horror Story 
From the Dead Boxes Archive.

This is one grim, twisty, short story that filled this horror fan’s heart with glee.  It’s been a while since I’ve read short stories, and I’d forgotten what a pleasure it can be to immediately get down to the business of storytelling  – and this author does it well.  He takes the reader by the hand and gradually reveals Vincent’s life, both in present day and through flashbacks.  All the while, you just know something sinister might be waiting around the corner.  And trust me, it is – you won’t be disappointed.

Don’t expect blood and gore horror – this is more about the dark side of human nature, and what people are capable of doing to each other.  The only negative for me, and this is my personal preference, is the cover – if I saw this book on the shelf, it isn’t something that would immediately grab my attention.  But the contents inside surely did.  Call Drops has a Twilight Zone/Black Mirror feel, and can easily be read in one sitting.

I received a copy of this book from the author through Rosie’s Book Review Team.