Sunday, October 8, 2017

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab

26074170This review was written by: C
Received: Library
Date of Publication: July 2016
Pages: 427
Stars: 5/5

Official Summary:

There’s no such thing as safe.

Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.

August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.

Their city is divided.

Their city is crumbling.

Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.

But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?

My Thoughts:

I'm not sure if any other readers experience this, but I have a particular story formula that I absolutely love. This formula involves a male protagonist, antagonist, or antihero experiencing a difficult life as a result of a superpower, terrible event, or the conflict of whether or not they are truly human. For some reason, I am fascinated with any story that fits the above description, and This Savage Song was definitely one of them.

The very first book by Victoria Schwab that I ever picked up was The Archived. It sounded fairly interesting so I figured that I would give it a try. However, I never made it a quarter of the way through the book. I'm not particularly fond of female protagonists, and the book gave off one of those "not for me" vibes. So, I decided to try out Vicious next and I was so glad that I did because it has become one of my favorite adult fantasy/science fiction novels. Of course, this book also followed my formula and the story was just so well put together. When I eventually came across This Savage Song, I was a little hesitant to try it out due to my lack of interest in Schwab's previous YA book, but I knew I had to give it a try especially after I read the back cover:

“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all.

Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.

Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.

Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.

Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They're gonna come and eat you all!” 

I love it when authors come up with an original snappy quote, prophecy (I'm looking at you Percy Jackson & the Olympians), poem, or song that fits their story. They just bring an extra element that makes the book a bit more intriguing. 

Getting back on track, Schwab's story was fresh and new. Essentially, there came a point in time when human sins began to result in the creation of three types of monsters: Corsai, Malchai, and Sunai. Sunai are the rarest / most powerful, and are born from great tragedies in which many people die. All three types of monster can only feed on humans, not each other.

Due to the formation of monsters, the world is divided into territories. Verity is one of these territories, and it is a city that has been cut in half and ruled by two separate individuals -- Harker and Flynn. Harker controls the north half and the Flynn family protects the south. Harker controls various monsters in his half of the city (only the Corsai and Malchai), resulting in protection for those in his territory who are willing to pay for it. Flynn, on the other hand, has the moral high ground and aids all on the south side with the help of the only three Sunai that are known to exist and any man or woman who is willing to fight. This setup results in Harker's territory possessing a facade of normalcy, beauty, and safety, while the south side appears war torn. 

Essentially, Harker wants to take over the southern half of the city, which can only happen if the crumbling truce is truly broken. The Flynns send August to Kate Harker's school to keep an eye on her and to possibly use her if the truce falls apart. On a side note, I thought it was kind of adorable to have August (a Junior) a year younger than Kate (a Senior). It was a subtle dynamic that I appreciated. What August finds is actually a young woman who isn't quite what everyone believes her to be. Thus, he forms a relationship with the enemy and eventually gets caught up in a conspiracy involving Harker's monsters and the attempt to break the fragile accords between the two families.

The concept of human sins resulting in the creation of actual monsters was something that I had never seen in a book before and it definitely piqued my interest. August was also quite the philosophical one, especially in regards to his origins, what he is, and whether or not he can truly be human. This inner conflict was interesting, and August became a beloved character for me.

Kate was also kickass and above the norm for female protagonists. She  was strong-willed, intelligent, could hold her own ground, and was quite manipulative when it suited her needs. I loved the fact that Schwab made both Kate and August such well-rounded characters. They both had issues, strengths, and weaknesses, which made them far more real and believable. Too often there are female protagonists that just seem flat and unrealistic, they have a single aspect of their being/personality that is focused on, and it makes them boring and annoying. However, Schwab juggled various aspects of Kate's character remarkably well, and she did a superb job of showing the reader exactly what's going on in Kate's head. I also think that Kate and August suited each other quite well.

The only criticism that I have for the novel would be a single aspect of the ending. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that one character seemed to die a little too easily. They were portrayed as a far more powerful individual throughout the story, and I was disappointed that it didn't take much to kill them and perhaps it was also the fact that they died so quickly. However, Schwab did make up for it via a little surprise in the last few pages, and I am so excited to see where this will lead the story. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will definitely be reading the next novel!

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Blaze Publishing Giveaway!

Blaze Publishing is celebrating the new upcoming release of The Underground by Case Maynard by giving away Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa.

Teaser for The Underground by Case Maynard

The Underground will be released by Blaze Publishing on 9/12/17! Make sure to grab your copies!

You can purchase the book here:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Free Novella from Lily Luchesi!

Get the thrilling prequel novella of The Paranormal Detectives Series for FREE!

In 1988, Angelica Cross worked with a mortal detective to take down a werewolf pack who were feeding on children at a local school playground.

In 2008, the killings begin again, and Angelica is called in to work the case alongside her old partner's nephew, who likes Angelica as much as she likes garlic.

They need to put their animosity behind them, before more people are murdered.

Click HERE to receive your free e-book from Lily Luchesi!

And don't forget to check out book one in the PDSeries, which is always 99cents for Kindle!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ultraxenopia (Project W.A.R. #1) by M.A. Phipps

This review was written by: B
Received: Ebook for Review
Date of Publication: Aug. 1, 2017
Page Count: 355
Stars: 4.75/5

Official Summary:

Don't stand out.  Blend in.  Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by -- the rules I thought would keep me alive.

I was wrong.

Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression.  With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed.  However, on her twenty-first birthday, she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness -- ultimately attracting the attention of the State.  Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality.

Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter.  Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.

My Thoughts:

I have a huge love-hate relationship with dysptopians.  For example, I'd gladly reread The Giver any day, but I'd really rather not finish the Divergent series.  (Been there, tried that if you know what I mean.)  Most of the time, though, I find dystopians to be just meh reads.  They're pretty good, but I'm not likely to fall in love with them, like with Not a Drop to Drink.  However, Ultraxenopia was one of the exceptions.  Not only does it have a stunning, captivating cover, but it also has a great plot.

We first start off by getting a glimpse of Wynter's world, which the author does a remarkable job of portraying to her readers.  She not only makes it exciting to explore, but she does it in such a way that avoids inserting info dump after info dump, which I know a great deal of readers appreciate.  Right off the bat, we peek in on how those in Wynter's society interact with one another, which is to say not at all.  They avoid eye contact, refrain from exchanging conversation, and generally keep to themselves.  At first, I was like

This is my dream introverted society!  Then I realized how messed up her world was and I was like

The story was engrossing, which is largely due to M.A. Phipps' way with words.  With the book being fairly fast paced I was rarely bored, though I did find some parts to be a tad bit lagging (but this didn't happen often).  

And my two favorite characters!  Let's start with Wynter.  I have a ridiculously hard time dealing with female protagonists, which you may have already read about here on the blog.  If I had a dime for every time I considered a female protagonist annoying to the point where I'd rather cry actual tears of blood instead of read on, I'd be a rich human being.  A filthy, filthy rich human being. Wynter is drastically different though.  I actually didn't want to pull out my own hair because of her.  She turned out to be much stronger than I ever thought she could be, and for that I must give M.A. Phipps a great deal of credit.  Wynter actually surprised me and was able to give me another young lady to add to my favorite modern literary females of all time alongside Zoey Valentine (The Awakened) and Angelica Cross (Paranormal Detectives Series).  Then there's Ezra, who I'm going to let you fall in love with for yourself.  However, on a side note, why does every Ezra I come across in books have to be such a fine specimen?  (I'm talking about you Ezra from First & Then.)  Cue the drooling:

If you're looking for a dystopian trilogy with traditional elements that spins them into something entertaining and refreshing, I'd highly recommend Ultraxenopia.  It's jam-packed with great characters, excellent world building, and a dash of powers!

Release Day Blitz: Omega by Karina Espinosa

Title: Omega
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Laura Hildago
Publisher: Black Quill Publishing
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Bodies drained of blood are scattered around New York City. With a serial killer on the loose, Mackenzie Grey is obsessed with solving the murders. She dives into her work at the Supernatural Investigative Unit to forget about the events that dismantled her Pack a year ago. When the killer makes Kenz the target, she falls down the rabbit hole and discovers she has a lot more to do with these murders than she realized.
As her past creeps up behind her, she must swallow her pride and seek aid from old and new friends.
In the epic finale of the Mackenzie Grey: Origins series, she will finally become the wolf she is destined to be…

Karina Espinosa is the Urban Fantasy author of the Sins of the Fallen series and the Mackenzie Grey novels. Infatuated with travel, pop culture, and the need to write everything down, she spends much of her days in front of a computer working on her next book, shopping online, and listening to music. With nomadic tendencies, she is currently resting her head in South Florida until the itch to move strikes again. You can usually catch her on Facebook, Instagram and live-tweeting during episodes of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Orphan Black. Follow her on social media!

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Friday, August 4, 2017

ISAN Cover Reveal

Title: ISAN
Author: Mary Ting
Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Cover Designer: Deranged Doctor Design
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: May 1st, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR


The world has changed.

Scientists warned it would happen.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.
Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.
While on a training mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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