eStories: A Review

Some time ago, I was contacted by eStories.com to do a review of their system. For those of you who might not recognize the name, eStories is the non-Amazon version of Audible. I was given a book credit and one month free trial in exchange for an honest and open review about my experience. Here is what I have seen.

The Selection

When I first logged on, I did so armed with a list of books to try and find. I did not really expect to find that many of them, as let’s face it. Most book sites that are not the big three (Amazon, Google, and Barnes and Noble) don’t really tend to have that large a collection.

I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I found that most of the big names on my list were not only on the site, but in fact had a decent sized collection of their works available. A little research, and information from the marketing manager at eStories, revealed that this is because TriPlay (the company that runs eStories) has landed contracts with many of the big publishing houses, and has in fact over 80,000 bestselling titles and new releases.

The Experience

I have to be honest. While I used to be obsessed with audio books when I was younger, as I have gotten older and busier I have slowly turned away from them. This was a wonderful opportunity to turn back to the joy of hearing someone else’s interpretations of the characters. Going to the technical side of things, I found both the site and the app (I have an Android) easy and intuitive to navigate. Not only is it easy to find and download books, but one account can connect to up to 10 devices, making one subscription easy to use for the whole family 🙂 Not only that, but device brand is not a problem. According to the marketing manager who  contacted me this service “works with ALL devices from ALL brands” and even offers a “cloud service to upload your existing collection to eStories” for easy access.

The Cost

At $11.95 a month, this service is the most affordable out there. In addition, for a limited time only, subscribers get their first audio book for free. Adding in the knowledge that over 80% of the audiobooks are DRM free – meaning you are free to do with them as you will – and this service is a very good bargain.

Get your free audiobooks trial here. 

 

*As stated before, I recieved a free 30 day trial and audiobook credit in exchange for my review. All views expressed are unbiased and my own.*

Added Focus For Reviews

Hi everyone.

As you may know, I have generally focused on reviewing Urban Fantasy, SciFi and YA Fiction on this blog. As the months have gone by, I have realized that I have another genre that I enjoy just as much if not more than these three. So I have made a decision. Along with those genres I review currently, I am adding romance to my repertoire.

Expect to see some new reviews soon!

 

Blog Tour and Author Guest Post!!!

Hi y’all!

 

I have some exciting news for everyone! I am one stop on the Stack a Deck Virtual Blog Tour, and as a part of this stop Bestselling Author Sue Duff is here to write a guest post on how she began writing! Let’s all welcome Sue.

Sue Duff

I stumbled into writing. Well, more like tripped, if that’s even possible with skis that don’t eject because they’re set for an experience skier. Only a newbie skier would be stupid enough to slowly ski backwards down an icy run, watching as your son navigates the ice cube hill you just finished. Stupid me, I was worried about him and didn’t see the mogul that reached up and grabbed my rear ski tip, sending me on a tumbleweed journey down the slope. It ended with my son standing over my prone body, then had the audacity to say, “Well that was embarrassing.”

The inevitable surgery two months later laid me up for the entire summer. The beforementioned son, however, eventually discovered that the handicapped car sticker was good for something. A small price to pay for waiting on mom the first couple of weeks. I was used to being active, independent and resourceful. I had to put that aside, along with my self-esteem, and scoot down stairs on my rear and traverse my house while hopping from one stable surface to another.

I turned on the word processor to combat the boredom. It also helped to ignore the whiny teenager who wasn’t old enough to drive himself anywhere and had convinced himself that mom had chosen to make him a prisoner in his own home. Like that would have been my first choice. EVER!

The novel that emerged from that summer was a welcomed respite from my frustration, lack of control and the inevitable self-pity. I loved the newfound control over a world of my making, but especially characters that I loved and loved to hate. Who needs therapy when you can hang out with people of your own creation, have them fall in and, if you feel like it, out of love. Instead of killing my teenager, I killed others and avoided incarceration in the world that frowns upon such atrocities. I found out that I not only enjoyed writing, but that I was good at it. Racing thoughts transformed my fingers into a typing machine and I’d stay up till the middle of the night, having forgotten to feed the dog, eat more than a single meal, or provide sustenance for the boy who peeked around the corner, no doubt wondering where his mother had gone, and who this stranger was that took her place.

I LOVE writing! On my journey to a successful series with four novels and two anthologies, to-date, lining my shelf, more than anything, I cherish the writers I’ve met along the way. They are incredible people with more talent than I, and I want to be them someday. All it took was a stupid accident. May you be so lucky 🙂

If you want to follow the rest of the tour, click the banner below to see the other stops.

stack-a-deck-vbt

Blog Tour and Review of Chameleon Assassin by B. R. Kingsolver

Displaying the chameleon assassin.jpgLibby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.

Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized. There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets.

In the year 2200, the world has barely recovered the level of technology that existed before the ice melted and the subsequent wars. Corporate elites live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.Libby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.

Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized. There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets.

In the year 2200, the world has barely recovered the level of technology that existed before the ice melted and the subsequent wars. Corporate elites live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.

Hello Everyone!

I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the Chameleon Assassin Blog Tour, one of the better books I have read in a long time. I will get to the review in just a second, I know you’ve all been waiting for it 🙂 But first, let me tell you about the rest of the stops on this blog tour, or rather, send you the place where you can learn about them.

Just click on the picture below and it will give you a list of stops, as well as what the content on their blogs will be!

Displaying Tour Banner .jpg

 

And now, on to the review.
Characters

One of my favorite parts about this book were the people. Libby was amazing, an assassin, thief, hacker, and basically a jack of all trades in the criminal world. Best of all, she knew her own limits – meaning she never shied away from asking for help when she needed it.

“I’d also want my own cavalry.”

His brow furrowed. “Cavalry?”

“You know, tough guys ready to ride to my rescue. I’m pretty slippery, but I have a cogenital aversion to pain and death. If I get into something I can’t get out of, I want to know someone has my back.”

That’s not to say that Libby is a damsel in distress, quite the opposite!

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah. Why shouldn’t I be?”

“You just had a run-in with a gang and killed two people.”

“Oh, that. Jorey had it coming.”

Libby is simply the rare person who realizes that there are situations in which she might need help, as all mortals do. And she isn’t scared of asking for it.
Character Relationships

Besides a protagonist who has enough self confidence to know what she can and cannot do, this book also boasts one of the best character relationships I have seen in a while.

The one involving Libby’s mother and father. Though it is described as a one night stand that produced a baby their relationship is a tangled mess that is so fun to watch.

What truly speaks to the talent of B. R. Kingsolver is that though this relationship is so fun to watch, you don’t really see it in the novel but rather see it through Libby’s interaction with her parents and her parents interaction with her.

Setting

The setting of the novel was interesting and fun to read. I particularly liked the way that the world had changed since the apocalypse. Dallas was in the middle of the desert and had moved underground, Toronto didn’t get any snow, the air was so toxic that you couldn’t breathe in without gas masks, all of it woven in to make a place that was vibrant and alive.

Questions, Gripes, and Complaints

A few nitpicks I have with the novel, which are really small things in the grand scheme of things.

  1. What was the point of the beginning? Though it was only a small point of the overall novel, it seemed like there was a lot of filler that there really was no need of. I mean, yeah Libby is a badass, but we found that out later in the novel too.
  2. Some small writing mechanical type complaints. The story could have been smoother, but really, not that big a deal.

I give this book a B.

I was provided with a ARC copy of this novel by the author for the purposes of a free and unbiased review. All views expressed are my own and true to what I think.

2017 2nd Annual Authors Talk About It Book Award Contest

Hello Everyone!!!

I am sorry that I have been away so long. It has been a very busy few weeks in my corner of the world, the details of which I won’t bore you with.

Instead I shall bring to you the details of this amazing contest!

I actually learned about this contest in mid December, and meant to tell you about it then, but life got in the way.

But, I’ve posted it now! So let me tell you what this contest is. If you haven’t already figured it out, I like lists. So we shall be doing this in a list format, just to keep things organized. 🙂

First: Who is Qualified to Enter?

  • Authors who are 18 years of age or older

Second: What Can You Enter?

  • Published and unpublished books, manuscripts and eBooks are accepted
  • Books in the following categories:
    1. General Fiction
    2. Romance
      1. Note: (Erotica is currently not accepted. Spicy and steamy? Yes, but nothing explicit.)
    3. Mystery
    4. Thriller
    5. Sci-fi
    6. Paranormal
    7. Horror
    8. General Children
    9. Young Adult Fiction
    10. Non-fiction

Third: What Are You Entering?

You are entering a book award contest, hosted by Authors Talk About It (ATAI), which provides critiques to every entry entered, no matter if you win or not, always a helpful thing. In addition, if your book gets 3-5 stars, you get tons of promotion, which is listed in more detail below. If your book gets below 3 stars, you get a review emailed back to you, which is yours to do with as you like. If you win, you get tons of prizes all associated with different levels of prize winning.

Fourth: What Do You Get

  • If You Enter
    • Everyone who enters, no matter what happens next, gets a 250-350 word critique/review of their book, which can then be posted anywhere they wish, as long as it is cited properly
  • If You Get 3 – 5 Stars
    • Promotion across all of ATAI social media platforms
    • Featured blog post on ATAI, Authors Village, Readers Village, Download This Book
    • Promotion across combined social media of 40K+
    • Digital Badge for 4-5 Stars
  • If You Get Less Than 3 Stars
    • Your critique, featuring helpful feedback, will not be posted in a featured post, but emailed back to you, to do as you will
  • If You Become a Finalist
    • Invitation into private mastermind for 12 months
    • Monthly live calls – ability to participate
    • FREE monthly training shared online
    • $997 Value
  • If You Place First in Your Category
    • Promotion across combined social media of 40K+ for 3 months
    • Extra blog posts via ATAI blogs as winner
    • HeadTalker created to promote winner
    • Featured on sidebar of ATAI through January 2018
    • Listed on winners page as ATAI Book Award Contest 1st Place Winner
    • Badge as ATAI Book Award Contest 1st Place Winner
    • Announced during ceremony via video
    • Finalist invitation into private mastermind
    • Bragging Rights
    • $1697 Value
  • Grand Prize
    • Author VIP Day with Rob and Janelle (virtually or in-person)
    • Promotion across combined social media of 40K+ throughout 2018
    • Featured on homepage of ATAI throughout 2018
    • Featured on sidebar of ATAI through all of 2018
    • Extra blog posts via blogs as Grand Prize Winner
    • HeadTalker created to promote Grand Prize Winner
    • Announced during award ceremony via video
    • Podcast interview as Grand Prize Winner 2017
    • Listed on 2017 ATAI Winners page
    • Badge as ATAI Book Award Contest Grand Prize Winner 2017
    • Finalist invitation into private mastermind
    • Serious Bragging Rights
    • $3997 Value

Last: How To Enter

  • Go to Authors Talk About It
  • Click the drop down and select
    • Book Entry $35
    • Book Entry With One Added Categories $45
    • Book Entry With Two Added Categories $55
  • Each manuscript can be entered in a maximum of three categories, using the prices listed above.
  • Submissions Deadline
    • September 30, 2017
  • Finalists Announced
    • October 15, 2017
  • Winners Announced
    • November 1, 2017

If you have any additional questions go to http://authorstalkaboutit.com/

Good Luck!

 

When Our Worlds Collide by Kellie Wallace

When Our Worlds Collide by [Wallace, Kellie]As one city’s fate hangs in the balance, a woman’s destiny is about to be determined…

Amira Frost is forced to watch her home be invaded by the warmonger state, Argos. Divided into multiple class zones, the city’s once peaceful existence is threatened.
When an opportunity arises for Amira to get close to the General, she accepts with the hope that her new position as his personal food taster can help reclaim the municipality, but she is pulled deeper into his regime than she initially anticipated.

For every controlling force, a resistance is born…

The Ravens’ elusive leader, Grayson Roe, has one goal—to lead the resistance to victory against the barbaric military. Dedicated and ruthless, he sets out to use Amira to their advantage by offering her a proposal she’s unable to refuse.
Nothing will stop him from regaining control over his city and its people—not even the dark haired beauty whose loyalty seems questionable.

A city threatens to fall and a decision needs to be made…

As the battle rages, Amira is caught between two opposing forces and reevaluates her allegiance when her loyalty is tested. Her home is under attack, her friends and family are dying, and she is faced with a grueling decision that has the power to save or bring down an entire city.

When worlds collide, she must choose between saving her home or surrendering to the one man who threatens to destroy it all—including her.

When I picked up this book, I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting. It definitely wasn’t what I got.

When Our Worlds Collide is a novel loosely based on war occupied France during WWII. Amira is the girl caught between loyalty to her homeland, and the desire to keep her family safe. She is the girl who has to choose between the man who took over her land, and the man trying to free it. And this choice is not as easy as it might seem.

Background

This story begins with Amira walking to the market. Kellie Wallace makes this seemingly simple task into a journey of exploration. You learn the history of the city, the changes made in the city since the occupation, the terror and the fear of the people in the city, and how they are fighting back. And you learn all of this in a manner that is relatively smooth and relevant to the storyline. As the story progresses this theme continues, there are some nuggets of information that are out of place, and don’t really need to be there, (why did we need to know about the former queen?!!?) but on the whole this is a well developed storyline that imparts background information in a way that is genuinely interesting.

Storyline

This story is a organically woven, complex tale. While some of the twists and turns seem a little rushed at times, overall, the story follows a natural flow and cadence, showing you things you never expected, and things you might have, but not in the way you saw them.

Kellie Wallace, following the loose tie to WWII shows the reader familiar landmarks, the labor camps, Hitler’s bunker, the French Rebellion … and shows you the other side of the story. You feel horror and sympathy, betrayal and loss all regarding the same event

Characters

Perhaps the weakest link in this story were the characters. The supposed hero, Grayson Roe, is dark and cruel and manipulative, without any explanation for this or his sudden mood swings.

The villain is innocent, and tongue-tied, while confident at the oddest times, with no explanations for the reasoning behind the horrible things he does to the populace he has taken over.

And Amira, the heroine, is perhaps the worst of all, switching from one extreme to the next, one love to the other, one side to the other, without any explanation as to why. The only constant in her character is her love and loyalty to her family, and even that is shaky at times.

 

Summing It Up

All in all this book is a pleasant read. Not for the characters, but for the world around them. The idea behind this novel is powerful, and I would love to see the beautiful creation it could become with some characters that, if not likable, can at behave in a manner that can be understood.

 

I give this book an B-.

*Disclaimer: I was provided an Advanced Reader Copy by the author for a honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own.*

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

From the New York Times #1 bestselling author, Ilona Andrews, comes a new tale from the Innkeeper Chronicles
One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 3) by [Andrews, Ilona]
Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!

Before I start this review, I need to give a little background. One Fell Sweep is the third book in a series that Ilona Andrews, a pseudonym for a husband-wife writing team, started as a side project. Already wildly successful authors, they, for reasons of their own, started posting chapters on their blog week by week. When they were done, they took the book off their site, polished it up, and self-published it, with no expectation that people would buy the book after they had already read it for free.

Sales went through the roof.

Three years later, the third book in the series, One Fell Sweep, has gone through the same process and will be be available in stores on December 20, 2016.

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from the authors to review. I am horribly late in posting this, as life kept getting in the way, but without further ado, here are my thoughts on this amazing book.

I loved this book. I can’t say it any better than that. I loved the unpolished version put up week by week, and I loved the more formal, and presentable version just as much. All of the characters, the events, the relationships, everything … just worked.

Let’s tackle this piece by piece, because there is so much to cover.

Dina DeMille

Dina is an amazing character, who I adore. She is such a strong woman, with a moral compass that never wavers. I particularly love the way she never advertises her talents, and skills, and then leaves everyone gaping when she causally says “Oh yeah, I can do that too.”

“They will stop at nothing to kill me,” the Hiru said. “They will run through fire. There is no obstacle you can put in their way that will deter them.”

The room fell silent.

“I don’t deal in fire,” I said. “It’s difficult to control and the inn doesn’t like it. But I’m excellent at creating a void field.”

Sean stared at me.

Arland coughed. “A void field requires a high efficiency nuclear reactor.”

“Or an inn with a skilled innkeeper,” Maud told him.

“You can do that?” Sean asked me.

“I already did it,” I told him.

Character Relationships

Ilona Andrews, is also the master of slow burn romance. The relationship between Sean and Dina is allowed to grow and flourish and change as they themselves change before they ever have sex or become a couple, which is simply amazing, especially in the sea of one book relationships of today. Not that I have anything against books where the hero and heroine come together in one book, I just love the way you get to see the relationship form in Ilona Andrew’s novels.

Story Building

This book was so good in this regard. It brought back things and people we had met before, explained concepts of the past, all while dealing with things in the present, and going towards the future. You learn about inns and their relationships with innkeepers, about ancient civilizations, and people you met in book one, all while battling evil aliens who seek to harm one of Dina’s guests. And the story never lags through all of that!

Small Annoyance

Well, it doesn’t lags because of anything described before. This book is amazing, as I think you might realize already. But in places, the story does slow. And it is because of backstory. Not backstory of characters or places, those all flow perfectly, but the backstories of things that happened in previous books. While I understand the need to catch up readers who have never read the series before, and are starting with the third book, it gets a bit annoying for continuous readers to have to relearn and go over things they already know. But in the grand scheme of things, this was a very minor annoyance.

Everything Else

There is just too much to cover about this book for me to hit everything. So I am issuing a blanket statement about the rest of the book.

It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. It will make you sob, and vow revenge, and sigh dreamily. It is everything you didn’t know you needed in your life.

 

I rate this book 5 stars.

*Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed are my own.*

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

30320008The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.

Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.

When I find read this synopsis I went … a woman warrior, who is Celtic, AND becomes a gladiator … uh … where do I sign up?! But unfortunately the novel did not live up to my expectations.

This book was the classic case of awesome awesome story line, mediocre execution. And it is these kinds of books that bother me most. It could have been so good. But it fell just short. But then I have some strict standards, so let me tell you what turned me off.

The book starts out with Fallon, the heroine, attempting the “Morrigan’s Flight” an extremely difficult maneuver involving a chariot, a spear, and almost certain death. I don’t want to say what happens next, as I feel it would be a spoiler, but Fallon is made out to be a fearsome warrior, one of the best in her entire clan, simply by the fact that she is even attempting this extremely dangerous trick.

This makes it hard to understand, when later in the novel, she is constantly put down for her martial skills. In the first few chapters, Fallon is the best of the best. In the space of the next few chapters she becomes almost completely incompetent, to the point of cowering in a ball when someone attacks her. Needless to say, this makes no sense. And this is just the first problem.

The entire book reads like a soap opera, with people coming back to life, and dying, and backstabbing, and ominous portents, all happening without pause. One event happens, and while you are still absorbing, the next one has already happened, and the third is starting. I am not ashamed to say that I skipped a few chapters, because I couldn’t deal with all the melodrama anymore.

That said, it is obvious that the author researched her book thoroughly before she wrote it. The descriptions of the Celts, their traditions, and clothing, is – as far as I can tell – spot on, and so vivid, I can almost see them in front of me. So too are the types of gladiators, and the other cultures portrayed.

The backlashes, and startling events are all good ideas, and things I would enjoyed, if there was a split second more time between them, and romance was a wonderfully drafted slow build that were my favorite parts of the books.

No, wait I take that back. My favorite scenes were definitely the fight scenes, which were heartstoppingly detailed. I was on the edge of my seat with every word.

All in all, this book was a good book that had the potential to be amazing.

I rate this three out of five stars.

To Be Released: February 14, 2017

*I was provided an ARC by my local library for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Image result for throne of glass

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Before I begin explaining this book, I need to explain something. I read a lot. When I mean a lot, I don’t mean that I read a book a week, I mean that today, since I woke up I have finished one book, and started and completed two more. It is highly likely that I will start a third before I go to sleep tonight. All of this means that my favorite book changes quite often. I loved Harry Potter for a while, then moved on to Megan Turner’s The Thief, then to Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. That makes it all the more significant when I say that the Throne of Glass series has been my favorite since I started it almost four years ago. There have been some books that caught my interest and moved up on my list of loves, but I always came back to Sarah Maas, because she is just that good.

The series starts out by introducing the heroine, Celaena Sardothien, who has just spent a year in a slave camp where the average life expectancy is only a month. She was put there because she was Adarlan’s assassin – the best in the land, never caught, and never seen. Until her trial, almost no one even knew that she was a 17 year old girl. She has always been the best, the prettiest, and she knows it. Even worse, she makes sure everyone else knows it too.

I love Celaena.

Throughout this book, she isn’t just an assassin who has killed too many people to count. She isn’t just the girl who became a woman in the depths of Hell. She is a woman who is scarred and a little broken, but loves pretty things, and sweets, and music. She is a woman who is scared sometimes, who loves and gets mad and is happy. She is a person, not just an assassin, and that is what I love about Sarah Maas’s work.

Too many book these days are all about the situations the main character is in. I cannot count the number of times I have read a dystopian novel in which we get to watch the heroine come to age because of the circumstances that force her to grow up. In this world we get to see a woman who already knows that the world is bad, who has already grown up inside of it, and watched her love and her innocence die, but still has the will to truly live. 

 

I rate this book 5 stars.

 

Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

 

 

They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares.

Monsters.

Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky.

To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people.

Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers, and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in—to them, Joy and her corps of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.

When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, she uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them…

     This book is one of the finest YA novels I have read to date. With plenty of action, a cool-headed and strong female lead, and the beginnings of a subtle love triangle, it has all the characteristics of a traditional dystopian novel, while remaining fresh and new.


     This book opens with Joy Charmand traveling from the little village in the Rockies where she grew up to the biggest city on the continent after the Diseray. Seems like a cliche right? Clueless village girl goes to the big sparkling city only to learn all is not as she thought …

     

       That is not what happens. Without giving away too many spoilers – Joy grew up not in a clueless village as everyone thinks, but in perhaps the greatest center for knowledge on the continent. While lacking some social skills, and city life experience, she knows enough to figure out the politics of the city, while still remaining innocent enough to not understand why the “Cits” – citizens or city dwellers – behave the  way they do.

“My Masters had explained to me in detail the difference between the way a solider thought, the way a Cit thought, and contrasted both with the way a Hunter thought. . . Cits – the city folk sort of Cits – they want victories. They want to win or cheer the winner. Soliders want things to end neatly, they want victories too, and win or lose, they want things ended. But up on the Mountain, we’re much more pragmatic. We know what seems to be an ending rarely is, that victories don’t last forever, and you take what you get and make the most of it for as long as you can.”


      She, however, catches on quickly, and is soon one of the best Hunters in the city.

       This book is a must-read for anyone tired of the classic clueless heroine dumped into a mess of political tangles cliche. Joy is a cool headed politically savvy heroine whom I loved.


I give this book 4.5 stars.