Review: Dark Shores (Dark Shores #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1)Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a world divided in two, East and West, where neither side knows the true existence of the other, one people, the Maarin, control the in-between.

The Maarin are a seafaring people who recover lost and stolen goods and trade along the coasts. They are the only people living who not only know the existence of both East and West, they are also the only people who know how to navigate the savage seas between the two.

Living under the mandate of, East must never meet West, all this goes astray when young Teriana, heir to the Maarin people, exposes deeply held secrets to her dear friend, a part of the Celendor Empire, Lydia.

Now higher-ups in the Celendor Empire have conquest on their mind and they will do whatever it takes to discover the route of the Dark Shores. Taking Maarin and her crew prisoner, she is now forced to show them the way or risk all of her people’s lives.

Strong armed by Marcus, Commander of the 37th, a legionnaire for the Celendor Empire, she does the only thing she can do; she shows them the way. Not all is smooth sailing on their voyage however and Teriana and Marcus end up forging an unlikely alliance in order to make it through.

I thought this was such an interesting story. You can definitely feel the ancient Roman inspiration for the Celendor Empire and I love the mystery of the Dark Shores themselves. The relationship between Teriana and Marcus is good, although a little instalovey, not too bad.

In addition to a bit of romance, there is quite a bit of political intrigue in here which I am always down for. There’s nothing better than good ole-fashioned blackmail for political gain to keep a plot progressing!

I had a lot of fun reading this and definitely plan to pick up the next book. This one left off in a great spot with a horrible villain still on the loose. I’m not sure how long this series will end up being but I am seriously hoping for at least three.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I had so much fun reading this and really would like to hear more people chatting it up. If you like ocean-related content, Roman-inspired worlds, unlikely alliances, political backstabbing and meddling gods, pick this one up!!!

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Final Review: The Last Hope (The Raging Ones 2) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

The Last Hope (The Raging Ones, #2)The Last Hope by Krista Ritchie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

It’s hard to believe this one is over. There are still so many ways this story could go but I am quite pleased with the ending. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to characters I enjoy so much.

If you are unaware, The Last Hope is the concluding book in The Raging Ones duology, written by sister-writing duo, Krista and Becca Ritchie. This YA SciFi Romance is one of my most anticipated sequels of the year. The first book, The Raging Ones, was release in August of 2018 and I was so impressed with it! I had never read anything by either one of the Ritchie sisters so wasn’t sure what to expect.

It really kept me engaged the whole way through and the world-building was excellent! The end of had a HUGE reveal and cliffhanger ending. Our young protagonists discovered something that shook their world to its foundations. When I finished that last page my jaw was legit on the floor!!!

How the heck was I going to wait a year before getting my hands on the second book?

Well, lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait a full year. I was blessed to receive an early copy of the second book, The Last Hope, from the publisher, Wednesday Books. I very hearty thank you to them and guys, guess what!?

I loved this so much! It starts off with our main three literally in a fight for their lives. Rescued by a cast of new characters they board a starship from Earth, where they begin to learn all things Earthling. It is at this time that they are made aware of the fact that the fate of planet Earth is on the line and they are amongst the only people who can do something about it.

Now on a quest against time, with the future of the universe on the line, Franny, Court and Mykal have to push past their limits and fight against all odds until the ultimate finale. As with the first book, this second is highly unique and wonderfully written. It again kept me engaged from start to finish and I seriously did not want it to be over. It hurts my heart.

There were some intense scifi twists at the end that at first had me scratching my head. Were they brilliant or were they there out of convenience? Overall, I don’t really care. The story ended great. Was it perfect? No. The pacing was a little off for me in this one. The middle dragged a wee bit and the end seemed a tad rushed but in its entirety, this is a great story.

This duology will continue to hold a special place in my heart and I recommend it to YA SciFi and Fomance fans. If you weren’t aware, there is quite a bit of romance in these books, mainly between Mykal and Court.

The romance elements were quite well done, in my opinion. Both Krista and Becca are experienced romance writers so that makes perfect sense. This being said, although there is romance, it definitely does not over shade the scifi elements.

At its core this is a scifi story that I feel is accessible to all levels of science-fiction readers. So, whether you are new to the genre, or an old hat like myself, I think everyone can enjoy this!

I hope the authors produce more in this genre as I really think they did an excellent job with this duology. They should be very proud of their efforts. Now that the completed pair is on the shelves, this is the perfect time to head to your local bookseller, or favorite online retailer and pick them both up for a binge session!

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Book Chat: The Last Hope is Now Available!!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 was a good day.
It was on this day, this past Tuesday, that the concluding book in The Raging Ones duology was released.

Titled, The Last Hope, this YA-scifi novel written by the sister writing duo, Krista and Becca Ritchie, is one of my most anticipated sequels of the year. The first book in the duology, The Raging Ones, released in August 2018 and I was so impressed by it. I loved it so much and easily gave it a full five star rating. To see my full review on Goodreads, click here: Meg’s Review of The Raging Ones

Set in the very distant future, 3525 to be exact, we follow three main protagonists who have a very peculiar relationship and seem to be unlike any other individuals on their planet. To be clear, this story does not take place on Earth. Our protagonists, Franny, Court and Mykal, are all linked by their senses. They can feel, taste and smell what the others are experiencing.

This idea of sensory linking is so interesting to me. Although the trio struggles to get used to this phenomenon, they have no clue why this is happening to them. One thing they do know is that if anyone discovers their secret, they could be in very serious trouble.

As a trio, they enroll to compete for a chance to be a part of the Saga-5 mission, essentially a space mission that will get them off their planet and away from prying eyes. Accepted into the competition they are made to live in dormitories, undergo training and compete in challenges to prepare for the mission. Y’all know that a competition is one of my all-time favorite tropes. I love competition in real life and books are no different.

The end of the first book had a HUGE reveal and cliffhanger ending. Our young protagonists discovered something that shook their world to its foundations. When I finished that last page my jaw was legit on the floor!!! How the heck was I going to wait a year before getting my hands on the second book?

Well, lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait a full year. I was blessed to receive an early copy of the second book, The Last Hope, from the publisher, Wednesday Books. I very hearty thank you to them. Guys, guess what!?

I loved this one just as much. It starts off with our main three literally in a fight for their lives. Rescued by a cast of new characters they board a starship from Earth, where they begin to learn all things Earthling. It is at this time that they are made aware of the fact that the fate of planet Earth is on the line and they are amongst the only people who can do something about it. Dah dah dah….

Now on a quest against time, with the future of the universe on the line, Franny, Court and Mykal have to push past their limits and fight against all odds until the ultimate finale. As with the first book, this second is highly unique and wonderfully written. It kept me engaged from start to finish and I seriously did not want it to be over. It hurts my heart.

This duology will continue to hold a special place in my heart and I recommend it to YA scifi and romance fans. There is a heavy dose of romance in these books, the main romance being a male/male romance between Mykal and Court. The romance elements were quite well done, in my opinion. Both Krista and Becca are experienced romance writers so that makes perfect sense. This being said, although there is romance, it definitely does not over shade the scifi elements. At its core this is a scifi story that I feel is accessible to all levels of science-fiction readers. So, whether you are new to the genre, or an old hat like myself, I think everyone can enjoy this!

I hope the authors produce more in this genre as I really think they did an excellent job with this duology. They should be very proud of their efforts. Now that the completed duology is on the shelves, this is the perfect time to head to your local bookseller, or favorite online retailer and pick them both up for a binge session! I personally am planning a full ‘Scifi September’ TBR — perhaps you would like to join me!? These books would certainly be a perfect fit for that theme!

Cheers, my friends & Happy Reading!

 

Review: Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith

Lethal White (Cormoran Strike, #4)Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Well done! Goodness I love this series.
Cormoran and Robin impress yet again.

Lethal White, the fourth installment of the Cormoran Strike detective series, kicks off with a bang. A disturbed young man named, Billy, arrives at Strike’s office claiming that when he was just a kid, he witnessed a child’s murder and subsequent cover up. As in, he knows where the body is buried.

While it is clear that Billy is suffering from severe mental health issues, he seems sincerely distressed by his memories and Strike believes him. Before he can get any concrete details however, Billy flees the detective’s office and thus begins Cormoran’s fascination with Billy’s story.

When Strike and Robin begin investigating a blackmail case for a high profile family, they are surprised to discover the two cases may actually be connected.

I love this series so much. Strike and Robin are the best. Currently my favorite detective duo. These books are extremely intricate and the plots never fail to astound me. How Rowling keeps all of the details straight and coherent whilst writing is beyond me.

While this one is not my favorite of the series, I can’t deny how creative and well done this book is. It is really long. Like really, REALLY long and I had moments where I was confused and had to go back a few pages and reread but again, that didn’t turn me off to the series at all. I blame it more on the fact that I had a lot going on in my life when I was reading this than on any fault of the book.

I don’t think I am spoiling anything by announcing here that I ultimately want Robin and Strike to fall in love, get married, have little detective babies and live happily ever after in a flat other than the office.

Will this ever happen? It’s unclear but I feel like if I put it out there in the universe, there will be a better chance of it.

Overall, I really enjoyed being back in the twisted clutches of a Cormoran Strike investigation and am HIGHLY anticipating book #5!!!!

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Review: Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne #2) by Peter McLean

Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)Priest of Lies by Peter McLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

This second installment to the War for the Rose Throne series picks up just months after the events of the first book, Priest of Bones.

We have our main man, Tomas Piety, leader of the Pious men, back in The Stink ruling the streets with an iron fist and some harsh justice.

I was so excited to get to this book, one of my most anticipated sequels of 2019, and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT! This grimdark adult fantasy series is so gritty and dirty, you can smell it, you can feel it. It’s immersive.

Less barroom brawls and more political strategy, I love the direction this series is heading in. As Tomas gains more power than ever before, he sees his position in society change to one he could have never imagined.

Once a champion of the people, does that stand true any more?

Traveling to Dannsburg, Tomas quickly discovers that while the nobility may battle with different weapons, it is no less dangerous. As with the first novel, this is action-packed from start to finish with a smooth writing style that is highly addictive.

One of my favorite aspects of this one was how our knowledge of the magic system is continuing to grow. The reader is getting more insight into the cunning as more characters with the gift are introduced. We also get to go inside the House of Magicians which was terrifying in the best possible way.

Additionally, the world building is continuing to grow and it is bloody fantastic!

I have no idea how long this series is projected to be but it left off in a great spot! I cannot wait to get my hands on Book 3. I will keep reading these as long as Mclean keeps writing them, I can tell you that right now!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. Love this series, love this author. Yes, please. Keep them coming!!!

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Review: Nyxia Uprising (Nyxia Triad #3) by Scott Reintgen

Nyxia Uprising (The Nyxia Triad, #3)Nyxia Uprising by Scott Reintgen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MY BABIES!!!!

My sweet babies. From desperate kids to intergalactic space pirates. I love you all so much.

Guys, this action-packed YA scifi series is soooooo underrated. I loved each and every one of these books. It’s just the perfect series of events.

You watch these kids grow, from the earlier competitors that they were, to the strong and fearless young adults they become and it seriously added 10-years to my life.

As this is the third book in the triad, I won’t say too much on the plot, but I can scream from the rooftops that this was such a satisfying conclusion.

During the course of the series, you will become really attached to these characters. They are diverse, well written, each with their own distinctive voice…

That’s it. I am done. I’m not sure how much more gushing I can handle in one day.

I am so happy I made time for this. Finally! It has taken me way too long. I definitely plan to read this series again someday, back-to-back. I had forgotten some details in between Book 2 and this one so I would love to get a full immersive experience of bingeing them.

If you like YA scifi, if you like competition tropes, if you like found families, do yourself a favor and check this series out.

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Review: The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date #3) by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date, #3)The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Maddie Forest first meets Theo Stephens, she thinks he is an uptight, over-organized, spreadsheet-creating jerk.

When Theo Stephens first meets Maddie Forest, he thinks she is a shallow, image-obsessed prima donna with her head in the clouds and no real ambitions.

After their mutual best friend, Alexa, becomes engaged, she asks them both to be in her wedding party. Initially chagrined that they will have to spend so much time together during the course of the wedding planning and event, they both agree with good grace and vow to get through it.

But as often happens, through their mutual distaste of one another comes a spark that soon grows into a full-blown FLAME!

They know they have to keep their relationship a secret. They cannot give Alexa the satisfaction of knowing they actually like each other and so begins their secret affair.

As you are probably aware, this is the third installment in Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date companion novels. I have read all of the books in this series and this one is actually my favorite.

Although it has a similar structure to the previous novels, I enjoyed Maddie and Theo and their hidden romance the most out of all the plots. I felt I could personally relate more to this story than the others and that kept me invested.

One thing I did notice was this one seemed less steamy than the others so if that is what you are looking for, you may be disappointed. We really focused here a lot on both Maddie and Theo’s careers and self-growth. I enjoyed following along with them as they navigated difficult situations in their lives and grew to depend on one another for support and insight.

I do enjoy this series a lot. I’ll admit that it isn’t perfect but it’s addicting and it keeps me coming back. I will definitely continue to pick them up for as long as Ms. Guillory chooses to write them!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. Now…who do I speak to about an early copy of Royal Holiday???

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Review: The Finder by Suzanne Palmer

Finder (Finder Chronicles, #1)Finder by Suzanne Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fergus Ferguson is a repo man.
In space.

How cool is that!?

In this incredibly action-packed tale, we follow him as he tries to recover the stolen spacecraft, Venetia’s Sword. He ultimately tracks the ship down in the farthest reaches of human-inhabited space but due to complications, is unable to commandeer it right away.

Arum Gilger, the bad guy who stole the ship, transported it to a harvesting colony called Cernee. There he functions as a sort of criminal overlord and the locals aren’t happy with him or his bullying ways.

As Fergus arrives, the colony finds itself newly engaged in a civil war. Before long, Fergus ends up banding together with Gilger’s enemies and participating more than he would like in their local battles.

I had so much fun reading this book. Palmer’s world creation is incredible. I felt like I was part of the action which is literally, NON-STOP!!! At times, I was a little lost, I have to admit but once I refocused myself I was able to catch up pretty quickly.

Fergus Ferguson is a smart, creative, humorous, engaging and humble main character. I absolutely loved him!! I cannot wait to read more adventures with him at the helm.

There were great side characters in here as well who had well fleshed out personalities and motivations. I think this is a great start to a new series and y’all know, I will definitely be coming back for more!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group/DAW, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I know this series is going to keep getting better and better and I am totally looking forward to being along for the ride!

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Review: The Chain by Adrian McKinty

The ChainThe Chain by Adrian McKinty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As Rachel drives to Boston for an early morning appointment with her oncologist, she thinks her daughter, 13-year old Kiley, is safe, getting on the bus and heading off to school. Then she gets a chilling phone call that rocks her world to its core.

The caller says Kiley has been kidnapped and in order to get her back Rachel needs to pay a hefty ransom and kidnap another child to take her place.

An entity known as ‘The Chain’ is on the other end of the line and they make their money by fusing traditional kidnappings together with the horrifying chain letter concept of the 1980s. They are very detailed in their directions to Rachel. She is not the first and she won’t be last.

Whatever you do, do not break the chain.

Rachel already knows she will do anything they say. Kiley is her whole world and she will stop at nothing to get her back! We follow along with Rachel and her brother-in-law, Pete, as they work around the clock to ensure Kiley’s release.

This dark, crime thriller is highly entertaining! It starts off with a bang and you instantly feel a part of the action. The premise is super creative and I love how intense the majority of the story was. Rachel has to almost immediately transform herself in order to play ‘The Chain’s’ game. She goes from meek, defeated suburban housewife to a criminal mastermind.

I can get behind that.

For me, the pacing was a little off. I did enjoy the first half of the book a lot more than the second half but overall, it’s a solid story. You have to be able to just roll with a few implausible details and have fun with it. That’s what it is meant to be, a fun, wild ride.

McKinty’s writing is engaging and I liked the different perspectives he offered us throughout. It provided a nice wide scope for taking in The Chain’s reach. I particularly liked learning about the villain’s background and early life. Seeing where they were coming from added to the darkness of the story and that’s basically what I am here for.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Mulholland Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and I know a lot of Thriller Readers will enjoy this one!

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Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape RoomThe Escape Room by Megan Goldin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being summoned last minute to participate in a ‘team building exercise’ is not how Vincent, Jules, Sylvie or Sam saw their Friday night going. Unfortunately, participation is mandatory so they all dutifully arrive on time at a remote office building in a shady part of town. Greeting in the lobby, they enter the elevator together for the ride up to one of the top floors.

The express elevator ascends quickly and then abruptly stops. The lights go out and the heat cranks up. Suddenly, the team comes to the realization that this is their exercise. An Escape Room challenge where the competitive coworkers will have to put petty rivalries aside and work together in order to solve the clues needed for them to be released.

As dark secrets of the team are revealed, viciously pitting them against one another, they find themselves removed from their normal boardroom backstabbing and thrust into a definitive game of survival.

Megan Goldin’s thrilling debut, set in the world of high stakes Wall Street finance is incredibly ruthless, and that’s sort of my brand. I absolutely flew through this story. I could not put it down!

Following dual perspectives between our cast of characters in the elevator and flashbacks to a mysterious former team member, Sara Hall, the plotting of this is absolutely brilliant. It kept me engaged and guessing the entire way.

At its heart, a complex revenge thriller, this stoked my Slytherin heart, as I stan a character with the dedication to strategize a long game. If you don’t know what I mean by this, pick up this book. This is the epitome of a painstakingly planned ‘long game’.

I had so much fun reading this and it is now definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I recommend it to anyone who likes a solid, unique thriller. If this is what Goldin puts out for her debut, I cannot wait to what she comes up with next. You know I will be buying it and devouring it as soon as its released!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and of course, love discovering ambitious new authors to obsess over.

This one is out now, my friends, be sure to pick up your copy and see if you can solve The Escape Room!!!

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