Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Book Shelf: Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

A sound awakens her. There's darkness all around. And then she's falling...

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she's dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn't utter a word. There's Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key's instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can't remember why.

Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she becomes the next victim…


More info on Goodreads.....


Review:

Smoke and Key is a unique standalone fantasy novel from Kelsey Sutton that is full of magic and mystery.

When she awakens and falls to the ground from her casket, Key has no idea who she is or how she came to die, only that she’s dead and the only clue to her identity is a rusty key that lies on a chain around her neck. With no memories of who they are, those who exist in Under obtain their names thanks to the items they are buried with—Ribbon, Journal, Doll---and are content with their existence in the dark shadow world they live in. But Key is curious and determined to discover who she is. As memories from her past begin to return, Key soon finds herself drawn to the dark and enigmatic Smoke yet this is only the beginning as people begin to turn up dead. Burnt to a crisp, the dead now stay dead and with the possibly linked to their former lives, Key will need to discover the truth about her past before she herself winds up a victim.

Written as a standalone tale, Smoke and Key offers readers mystery and murder in this YA tale. An easy read that concludes solidly, I was of a mixed mind where this novel was concerned. I think the concept Kelsey Sutton has come up with was a great one—individuals in various stages of decomposition with no memories of who they are find themselves in an underground world---but I feel like the execution could have been a bit better.

Don’t get me wrong; Smoke and Key was in no way a bad novel, but I feel like the story could have been fleshed out a bit better and the ending—and subsequent “big reveal” seemed anti-climactic and too easy. Maybe the limitations of it being a standalone novel let Smoke and Key down, but I was just wanting it to reach that next level and I don’t think it even really did.

I appreciated that the novel was set in Colonial times and liked the mannerisms and attitudes of the characters. Protagonist Key was easy to follow and I liked the glimpses into her past and who she was in life. Her romantic connection with Smoke plays a large role in the storyline but while I liked the significance of their romance, I just couldn’t connect the way I really wanted to. They were sweet but didn't completely blow me away.

Different and unique, Smoke and Key was an enjoyable and easy to read novel. Readers will be guessing as to who the killer is until the end and trying to piece the clues together. Not a bad novel; it just needed a little fine tuning to take the brilliant concept and really make it really shine.

Smoke and Key is worth a read for fans of Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore and those who like their old world tales brimming with magic and undead mysteries.


Rating:
Source: Sent for review by publisher via Netgalley (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Format: Kindle ebook
Release Date: April 2nd 2019
Buy: Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts: Smoke and Key was a different and unique novel.



Sunday, August 18, 2019

Free Ebooks

Hi book lovers and happy Sunday! I have a bunch of Amazon freebies to share with you today. Hope you get something new :)

Witch's Dawn by Crystal Ash
Prince of Hearts by Margaret Foxe
Garden of Thorns by Keary Taylor
Vampire Kingdom by Leigh Walker

The Key by Jennifer Anne Davis
Liquid Death by Mitzi C
Looking for Dei by David A. Willson
The Viking's Chosen by Quinn Loftis

Entranced by Jessica Sorensen
Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet
The Spider Catcher by A.L. Tyler

Blood and Snow by RaShelle Workman
Night of the Ghoul by Graeme Ing
Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis
The Last Firebird by Safa Shaqsy  

Did you fill your kindle?


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Book Shelf: Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk #1) by Bec McMaster

When Nowhere Is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.


More info on Goodreads....


Review: 

Kiss of Steel is the first novel in Bec McMaster’s London Streampunk series and is a spectacular start to what I have no doubt is going to be a brilliant, riveting and highly romantic series!

In a world where vampires, werewolves and clockwork creatures exist, nowhere is safe for Honoria Todd and her younger siblings. Hiding from a Duke with heinous plans, Honoria has no choice but to turn to a man whose reputation paints him as more monster than man. Blade is the master of the rookeries and no one dares cross him. Until a young woman with secrets shows up at his door asking for his help. Close to snapping as the virus running through his veins reaches breaking point, Blade should turn Honoria away but there’s something about the innocent and beautiful young woman he’s drawn to even if she refuses listen to most of what he has to say. From different worlds but drawn to each other Honoria and Blade soon discover that salvation, is closer than either of them thinks.

Bec McMaster bewitched me from the very beginning with Kiss of Steel. I’m honestly kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to begin this series as I was completely besotted as soon as I began reading Honoria and Blades story. Beautifully written, the world McMaster has brought to life is a vivid and darkly enchanting steampunk world. Steampunk is sometimes hit and miss for me but BOY does Bec McMaster hit the nail on the head with this series so far. I’m already in love with the characters and excited about the prospect of following them in further novels.

Kiss of Steel unfolds through both Honoria and Blades back and forth perspectives which allows for a very well rounded view of the characters and the story. I genuinely fell in love with Honoria and Blade quite quickly and adored the push and pull connection they fought throughout the story. Honoria was a woman of her times but also very strong headed and capable who was willing to do what she needed to protect her siblings while Blade was the dashing rogue; raw and rough around the edges but who cares deeply about those he considers “his” and those under his protection.

McMaster writes the tension between Honoria and Blade perfectly. They’re electric and sizzling and light up the pages with their chemistry. Stolen kisses and touches build towards some swoon inducing love scenes that are written impeccably on Bec McMaster’s part. Theirs was a romance I felt I could get behind and enjoy seeing develop.

Filled with tangible side characters and with plenty of possibility for the rest of the series, Bec McMaster has guaranteed Kiss of Steel will only be the first of her novels I’ll read. Can’t wait to begin Will and Lena’s tale next and get lost in their story!

Rating:
Source: Purchased by me
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 4th 2012
Buy: Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book and am ready to start the next one!


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday #280

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight an upcoming release that you're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on.....
 
Chosen by Kiersten White 
Releases on: January 9th 2020

“Will get Buffy fans up in their feels.” —Entertainment Weekly on Slayer

Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.

And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?

The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.


Thoughts:
As someone who never really watched Buffy I gave Slayer a go as I still do love me some vampire stories.....and really ended up enjoying it! So much so that I'm super excited to read Chosen and see what will happen to Nina next!

Is this something you are waiting to read?


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Book Shelf: Within Ash and Stardust (The Xenith Trilogy #3) by Chani Lynn Feener

Having gone from kidnapped faux princess to the legitimate heir to an intergalactic throne, an impulsive, sarcastic teen must take charge of her own destiny in this epic YA novel.

On Earth, Delaney is a normal teenager who recently graduated high school with a fantastic best friend and a loving boyfriend.

But Delaney isn’t on Earth. She’s on Xenith, a war-torn planet half a galaxy away. Originally mistaken for an alien princess, Delaney has gone from kidnapped imposter to the recognized heir to an alien throne. Oh, and she’s engaged to the prince of an enemy nation whose ruthless father is on the warpath.

Torn between two planets, two fates, and two loves, Delaney is finally ready to choose her own destiny in Within Ash and Stardust, the stunning conclusion to Chani Lynn Feener’s Xenith Trilogy.


More info on Goodreads.....


Review:

Within Ash and Stardust is the final novel in the Xenith trilogy by Chani Lynn Feener and brings to a close this intergalactic series with a fast paced and driven ending that will leave readers hooked until the final page.

Delaney Grace’s world has changed dramatically since she was kidnapped from Earth after being mistaken for an intergalactic princess. Multiple planets, a betrothal and even more kidnapping attempts later, Delaney has been named heir of the planet Vakar and is trapped on the planet Xenith as the Klint and Vakar people prepare for war. Torn between two planets and two loves, Delaney is determined to help broker peace, but as she struggles with her growing sense of duty and her desires, Delaney will need to decide once and for all where her destiny lies….if she and her friends and survive first that is.

As the final novel in what has been an adventurous and exciting trilogy, Within Ash and Stardust was a solid conclusion. Having enjoyed books one and two immensely, I was very excited to begin this final instalment, and while I was somewhat underwhelmed in some aspects of the novel on the whole, I was overall quite satisfied with the way in which Chani Lynn Feener brought the trilogy to an end.

Within Ash and Stardust unfolds through the back and forth perspectives of Delaney, Trystan and Ruckus with heroine Delaney being our main focal point, while her two love interests and male leads continue to add insight and understanding to other areas of the novel. I genuinely do like all three main characters and have enjoyed following them throughout the story as different elements of culture, technology and science fiction have brought the novels to life.

Author Chani Lynn Feener really has brought Delaney a long way since she was an innocent human living on Earth, unaware of the existence of alien life and the war between two opposing planets. Gone is this girl and in her place is a capable and determined young woman who is ready to take her place as the head of an alien planet, even though she wasn’t born to the role.

Readers will be forgiven for going into the novel with trepidation as Delaney finally makes the choice between the two men who have stolen her heart. I’m not one for love triangles and I will never be, especially during cases like this where I have honestly come to love both guys. Ruckus has always been fabulous, but Trystan snuck up on me (as he did Delaney) and wormed his way into my heart. I don’t feel Within Ash and Stardust was as “romantic” as the previous two novels, but the angst of having a protagonist torn between two people remains until the final few pages----and I am happy with the choice Delaney made.

Exciting and full of battles and unexpected developments, Within Ash and Stardust is a deeply enjoyable novel that brings to an end a wonderful sci-fi series. I’m excited to see what Chani Lynn Feener does next and I highly recommend The Xenith Trilogy if readers are looking for action, adventure and romance!

Rating:
Source: Sent for review by Xpresso Book Tours and the author (Thank you ladies!)
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format: Kindle ebook
Release Date: July 16th 2019
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
Final Thoughts: A satisfying conclusion to this trilogy, Within Ash and Stardust was a solid read that I recommend.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday #279

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight an upcoming release that you're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on.....
  
Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian 
Releases: February 7th 2020
 
The thrilling conclusion to the series that began with the instant New York Times bestseller “made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir” (Bustle), Ember Queen is an epic fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo’s blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers.

Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way.

The Kaiserin’s strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is more at stake than ever. Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart’s sister.

Thoughts:
I've quite enjoyed the Ash Princess trilogy so far as am excited to read the third and final novel. Laura Sebastian left the last novel with a cliffhanger and I can't wait to see how Theo and Prinz Søren's story ends!
 
Have you read this trilogy?
And what are you waiting on this Wednesday?
 
 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday #278

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight an upcoming release that you're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on.....
 
The Queen's Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz 
Releases on: February 4th 2020
Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the country they are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia's deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he's the Guild's most dangerous member and the Queen's one and only assassin. He's also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow--to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts--to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she'll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they're forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they'll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they'll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen's Secret series.

Thoughts:
The Queen's Assassin sounds just like my kind of fantasy. I've enjoyed Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods series and I'm looking forward to seeing her foray into the fantasy genre. Love the sound of this book and hope it lives up to my expectations. 

Do you like the sound of The Queen's Assassin? 
Will you be adding it to your TBR list?