by Victoria Aveyard
Published by Harper Collins on February 10th 2015
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
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The #1 New York Times bestselling series!
Red Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Aveyard, is a sweeping tale of power, intrigue, and betrayal, perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.
One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
And don’t miss War Storm, the thrilling final book in the bestselling Red Queen series!
Red Queen Review
Red Queen is the first novel in the Red Queen series by New York Times bestselling author Victoria Aveyard. The story follows seventeen-year-old Mare Barrows, a red blood and thief who is on the brink of being forced to join a war she doesn’t believe in. Mare lives with her impoverished family in a desolate, poor town known as The Stilts (appropriately named due to homes being suspended above the ground on stilts- thus only being accessed by ladders). The Stilts is located on the edge of a river, where Mare and her family can watch the many silver bloods float by on their grandiose boats. In this futuristic world, people are divided by the color of their blood- red and silver. Red bloods, like Mare, are normal humans that are forced into servitude and are considered inferior to silver bloods. Silver bloods have rare abilities such as controlling fire (like the royal family), manipulating water and minds, superior strength and speed, etc. Due to the color of their blood and their abilities, silvers consider themselves superior to reds and treat them poorly.
Mare attempts to pick the pocket of someone who thrusts her into the nefarious and elite world of the silvers- an action that places Mare into a position of discovering the true nature of her being- a red blood with a rare ability. Something that is unheard of. While this is shocking to Mare, it places the royal silvers into a precarious position- forcing them to take drastic measures. Mare is sworn to secrecy about the color of her blood, is introduced to the silvers as a silver orphan raised among reds, and is promised to one of the silver princes- Maven. This new position forces Mare to learn more about herself, her abilities, and the silver world. She tries to navigate this new existence while caught in the middle of developing feelings for her intended-Maven, and his elder brother, heir to the throne- Cal. With the threat of a rebel faction of reds hanging over the silver reign, Mare finds herself ambivalent about her feelings for both blood types.
The world described in this novel is unique and breathtaking. From The Stilts to the silver Summer residence, and the royal palace, Red Queen paints a marvelous, imaginative picturesque world. The plot was filled with intrigue, danger, stolen moments of passion, and suspense. I did find Mare to be slightly naïve and was frustrated with her on occasion. Some of her choices in the novel left little to be desired, and I constantly found myself agitated about her inability to listen to her instincts, and her occasional lack of common sense. Her misplaced trust (when it’s so obvious to the reader she should be balking at the idea of teaming up with certain individuals) was almost cringe-worthy. Not so surprisingly- she ends up betrayed!
The mother of Maven (and stepmother to Cal) reminds me a lot of Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. She has a deep abiding love for her son, but secretly harbors resentment and hatred towards her husband and everything not bred from her womb. She is nefarious, calculated, and controlling- a total Cersei. I also wished there had been a little more passion and chemistry between Cal and Mare. I am all for compelling male protagonists- but Cal left a little to be desired. I hope that the author builds a bit more into his character in the next novel.
Overall, Red Queen was an exciting and shocking read that takes place in an imaginative and compelling world! I can’t wait to see the fall-out of the shocking ending of Red Queen in the next novel!
Four stars for Red Queen!
by Gena Showalter
Published by Harlequin on March 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
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"My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning."
With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.
Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?
But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.
Lifeblood is the second book in the Everlife series by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter. Tenly “Ten” Lockwood, a seventeen-year-old who has just pledged her allegiance to one of the realms must now learn how to navigate this new world. As Ten struggles with the separation from her love interest, Killian- an infamous Myriadian- and the loss of a dear friend and the betrayal of another, she tries to find ways to end the war between the two realms in the after-life, all while growing stronger with her powers. Unfortunately, Ten is given a short window of time to adjust to her new existence and is sent back to the land of the harvest to investigate contaminated humans that are being pressured to join the opposing realm. This insidious infliction upon those in their firstlife has the potential to cause serious harm in Troika- which some of the characters suspect may be the reasoning behind its existence.
Killian and Ten’s chemistry in Lifeblood is intense! Their scenes are fraught with burning chemistry, frustration, and desperation. While their attraction and depth of feelings for one another are prominent and mind-blowing, the politics between the realms makes it exceedingly difficult for both characters to progress in their relationship (which is SO frustrating!). Ten’s relationship with other characters also provided a lot of different opportunities. I enjoyed some of her heated skirmishes with new characters in her realm and loved watching her connection with General Nanne deepen- he was the father-like figure that Ten desperately needed.
Normally in a trilogy, I find the middle novel to be my least favorite (not exactly sure why this happens, but it does). However, Lifeblood was NOT a disappointment! I mentally devoured Lifeblood in a matter of days. My dreams alternated between the dreamy scenes between Ten and Killian, the anxiety-inducing action and intense scenes, and the heart-wrenching, soul-crushing scenes of despair. Yes. Lifeblood brought me to tears a few times…Ten’s devastation practically seeped from the pages and tormented my soul. It was that awful. But don’t let that deter you! If an author can incur those types of feelings within me, then you know the writing is good. Oh! And let’s not forget that delicious plot twist and betrayal! Ah! I literally chucked the book across the room in shock- and then promptly rushed over to finish the scene.
Lifeblood was a delicious surprise that made me ride the whole spectrum of feelings! Ten may be impulsive and sometimes reckless, but there is no doubting the depth of her loyalty and love. So, I’m definitely invested in her little (okay, major) adventure. I can’t wait to check out the latest in the series- Everlife!
by R.J. Furness
Published by Createspace on October 16th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy
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Ideal for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent!!
"Settle in for daring leads, vicious enemies, and an immersive world. Intriguing twists unfold a well-paced tale of survival and the age-old question, who can you trust?" Emily R. King - Author of The Hundredth Queen Series
R.J. Furness brings you his debut novel, and the first in the DISSENT series. RENEGADES is here!
The Great Freeze changed everything…
“Ellie loved riding the orgo. She had often dreamt about it since being a small child. Now that her father wasn’t around to voice his opinions, she finally could. Twenty years had been a long time to wait.”
Centuries from now, during a new ice age, only three human colonies are known to exist. Scorr Tanta, the first city, is vast and resourceful, whereas Eklips is more desolate. Ellie, on the other hand, works in Port Harmony; a harbour town. As an apprentice orgo-keeper, the only highlight is getting to ride the animals that she cares for. Then, a chance skirmish at the market draws her closer to Haylee and her friends, and everything begins to change. Desperate to join them, Ellie has heard many tales about Haylee and her group of renowned warriors. What she doesn’t know, is how much danger follows them. Ellie is soon tugged into a much different world than she had first assumed. A world built on dissent, and filled with secrets.
‘The story has me gripped and wanting more. I can’t believe I have to wait for the next installments!’
'Thrilling, enthralling and immersive. Dive into a world you won't want to wake up from.'
Dissent Renegades is a novel by author R. J. Furness. The story takes place on Earth- though many years into the future after most of the planet froze over- and follows Ellie- an undercover warden from Scorr Tanta who poses as a caretaker for Orgos (a large creature that can be ridden like a horse, though reminds me of a smaller version of a long-neck dinosaur). During Ellie’s time as an apprentice for an older gentleman named Cedric, Ellie bonds with one of the orgos named Sage. It is also during this mission in Port Harmony that Ellie meets a young man named Evan, a market trader. And while Evan is easy on the eyes, fair mannered, and steady- his sister Haylee hold all the qualities of a fearless leader- strong, dependable, passionate, and loyal. Her followers- Tik, Ditto, and Morrigan are the perfect reflection of her attributes as a leader with their unwavering faith in her, and steadfast loyalty.
This futuristic, post ice-age world is broken into different colonies- Port Harmony, Scorr Tanta, Eklips, and the caves. Dissent Renegades takes you through most of this terrain- which I absolutely loved, as I enjoy a good story that provides an imaginative setting. These different locations also provided an opportunity to bring different characters into the story. The mix of characters was refreshing- for example, this wasn’t a story that focuses strictly on good vs. evil- one set of “good” guys fighting one set of “bad” guys. We were able to see the good, the bad, and the murkiness in between. Rada- the cold, domineering ruler of Scorr Tanta constantly tries to exercise her power and control over her people. She operates behind this veil of strength and competency- though these machinations are really a bid for complete dominion (which Ellie begins to see beyond, thank goodness). Then there’s Kayden, another ruler with a sick appetite for controlling people by making them slaves- and punishing them severely when he sees fit to do so. Finally, Ermine is a warden operating with fierce indignation, anger, and cruelty.
My favorite part of this story? The fact that there really aren’t too many “damsels in distress” who need the guy to come swooping in to save them. On the contrary, the females in this story hold their own and often do all the saving. Ellie is naturally curious, fearless, and begins to see beyond all the lies she was raised believing. She proves her loyalty to Haylee on more than one occasion by saving her life. Though, I suspect Haylee would have managed to make it through some of those situations had she had more time to think of a plan of escape. Haylee knows how to hold her own in a fight and remains strong and confident even in the face of insurmountable odds. Her desire to care for and protect the Elrupe (a different species of beings) also made her a favorite of mine. Ditto also saves the life of a slave girl named Pandra and pays a price that still makes my heart ache to think of it. Also- Pandra with a mace…eh, not something you’re going to want to be on the receiving end of. And Morrigan is fiery and loyal as well. All things considered, the females of this story really carried the true strength and power needed to succeed (sorry Evan and Tik!). And Widget? This little guy cracked me up (seriously though, I need a widget in my life).
The dash of something brewing sweet and beautiful between Ellie and Evan was the perfect little cherry on top of a story that was brimming with adventure and intrigue! Dissent Renegades was an exciting adventure filled with imaginative creatures, breathtaking settings, nail-biting action, and unforgettable experiences! I can’t wait to see where the next adventure takes these characters! And thank goodness for a good story that involves STRONG female protagonists!
FIVE STARS for Dissent Renegades!
by Brenda K. Davies
Series: The Road To Hell #1
Published by Brenda K. Davies on July 17th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Suspense, Fantasy
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It has been thirteen years since the war started, the bombs were dropped, and the central states became a thing of the past. When the war ended, a wall was erected to divide the surviving states from those destroyed. I never expected to go beyond the wall, but unlike all the others who volunteered to go, I wasn’t given a choice.
With a dim knowledge of what I could do, the soldiers came for me. They took me beyond the wall where I learned that the truth is far more terrifying than I’d ever dreamed. Alone, with humans and demons seeking to learn what it is I can do, I find myself irresistibly drawn to the one man I should be avoiding most. One who intrigues and infuriates me. One who is not even a man, not really.
My entire life, I’ve had only one mission, reclaim my throne from Lucifer and put right everything that was torn apart when he was cast from Heaven. It’s a mission I haven’t wavered from, not even when the humans tore open the gates and unleashed Hell on Earth.
Now, I’ve never been closer to obtaining my goal, yet I find myself risking it all because I cannot stay away from her, a human who may be the key to it all.
***There are four books in this paranormal romance series which is now complete. Not all things will be resolved in this book. Due to sexual content, violence, and language, this book is recommended for readers 18+ years of age.***
The Road to Hell Series Complete Reading Order:
Good Intentions (Book 1)
Carved (Book 2)
The Road (Book 3)
Into Hell (Book 4)
Close Liaisons (The Krinar Chronicles: Volume 1)
Review of Good Intentions
Good Intentions is the first book in the Road to Hell series by USA Today bestselling author Brenda K. Davies. The story follows River, a young woman who shoulders the responsibility of caring for her two younger siblings and mother in post-apocalyptic New England. With the center of the United States considered a dead zone, and a massive wall separating it from the barely surviving outer states, life is filled with dread and speculation about what the wall could be keeping out. Unfortunately, volunteers are routinely asked to join military forces at the Wall to assist in some capacity. In addition to volunteers, anyone who displays odd abilities are asked to come forward- willing or unwilling. Unfortunately for River, she happens to harbor secret abilities that she truly doesn’t understand herself. This secret is brought to light during a moment of bitter betrayal, and River finds herself in the undesirable position of being escorted to the ominous wall.
Kobal is a powerful demon in search of a person with special abilities who is possibly the key to saving the world and defeating Lucifer. Beyond the wall, he and his demon followers help to train the volunteers to protect the wall and fight lower demons who have escaped hell to wreak havoc on the bare remnants of the world. However, what he did not count on was finally finding the key to Lucifer’s destruction within a woman who tempts him.
River and Kobal’s chemistry is sizzling! Kobal takes River under his wing and personally sees to training her how to fight. This allows for ample opportunity for the characters to become acquainted and to navigate the emotions erupting within them. You can practically feel the sexual tension and interest leaping off the pages in some of their more heated encounters. I also love how a young, mostly human woman can bring out the good aspects in a demon notorious for his savagery and strength. Kobal is not a demon anyone would wish to cross- as was demonstrated, in such a graphic and decidedly uncomfortable way, with a former flame who should have thought twice before making the move they did.
The vivid imagery, the passion, the adventure, and heart-pounding action makes this book a MUST-READ!! I was thoroughly engrossed in Good Intentions…completely and utterly engrossed. Maybe even a little obsessed? Can’t wait to snag the next two novels in the series!!
FIVE Stars for Good Intentions!
See Next: Review of The Road (Book#3) Road to Hell Series
by Anna ZairesDima Zales
Series: Krinar Chronicles #1
Published by Mozaika Publications on September 5th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Suspense, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Contemporary, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Twist Me comes an addictive, thrilling tale of dark love set on post-invasion Earth…
In the near future, the Krinar rule the Earth. An advanced race from another galaxy, they are still a mystery to us—and we are completely at their mercy.
Shy and innocent, Mia Stalis is a college student in New York City who's led a normal life. Like most people, she’s never had any interactions with the invaders—until one fateful day in the park changes everything. Having caught Korum’s eye, she must now contend with a powerful, dangerously seductive Krinar who wants to possess her and will stop at nothing to make her his own.
How far would you go to regain your freedom? How much would you sacrifice to help your people? What choice will you make when you begin to fall for your enemy?
Note: This is book 1 of a completed trilogy. All three books are now available.
Review of Close Liaisons
Close Liaisons is the first novel in the Krinar Chronicles series by New York Times bestselling author Anna Zaires. This turbulent story follows Mia Stalis, a young human woman attending college as a psychology major, and Korum- a charismatic, dangerous, and forbidden extraterrestrial. A charmed childhood with loving parents, an impressive college experience, a close best friend, and a future mapped out- Mia has led a decent and peaceful life- though her love-life has been less than ideal. However, this predictable and simple life crashes around Mia due to an unexpected encounter with a man from a distant planet.
Korum is a brilliant extraterrestrial man from a planet called Krina. With his people living freely, and openly, among humans after announcing their presence, Korum can focus on his work as an engineer, while simultaneously trying to discover rebel Krinars and humans. His work inevitably leads to a chance encounter with Mia in a park- which leads to a whirlwind of obsession, passion, betrayal, and an explosive conclusion.
It was fascinating reading and learning about the authors imaginative world of Krinars. I found myself fascinated by the unique technology created by Korum, as well as their idea of “good” food (blech!). Whenever Korum’s obsessiveness and controlling ways irritated me, I had to remind myself that he comes from an entirely different planet. Mia is a well-educated and sensible young woman, however, some of her decisions in the story left me questioning just how sensible she is. It was one of those situations where I had to remind myself that she is, technically, in a very unique situation (you know, practically being kept hostage by a thousand-year-old extraterrestrial man with control issues) which can make rational thought disappear at times. I have to say I was surprised that Mia was able to keep the secret of her unwitting involvement with the rebels all the way until the end- I was so sure she would spill the beans because of how guilty she was feeling.
The story was fast-paced, imaginative, thrilling, and passionate! My love-hate relationship with both characters kept me emotionally invested until the very last page. I can’t wait to see how this delightful slice of cosmic relationship turmoil plays out in the next two books. Eek!