ARC Review: “Gold” by Talia Vance

GoldGold (Bandia #2) by Talia Vance

Goodreads | Amazon

Descended from an Irish demigod, Brianna has fled to Ireland to escape destruction at the hands of her sworn enemies, the Sons of Killian. Taking refuge at the estate of her former nemesis, Austin Montgomery, Brianna discovers a rift in time that opens to an era before the feud began.

Wrestling with her newfound feelings for the more innocent Austin, Brianna begins to wonder if she can alter the past. But when Brianna and Austin learn that the Sons are raising an army of mythical beasts, the pair will need to use their magical strength in the present to avoid a tragic end.

Four stars

Thanks to Flux and NetGalley for this eARC! This title will be released September 8th.

WARNING: This review WILL contain spoilers for book #1. Please see my review of Silver for more!

If you read my review of book one, then you know that I died in all the right ways during Silver. I had so much fun with the action and the sexiness (both books have a PG-13 rating for sure), and I was completely depressed when it ended. When Gold popped up on NetGalley, I hit the request button so hard I thought my mouse would break. Whatever I expected out of Gold, though, was not what I got–but in a (mostly) good way.

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ARC Review: “Charmed Vengeance” by Suzanne Lazear

Charmed VengeanceCharmed Vengeance (The Aether Chronicles #2) by Suzanne Lazear

Goodreads | Amazon

In the Faerie realm, Noli Braddock’s relationship with her best friend V has grown into something more. But V’s mother, Faerie Queen Tiana, has ruled that they are forbidden to see each other. Returning to the mortal realm, Noli joins the crew of her brother’s air-pirate ship, the Vixen’s Revenge. There she discovers that her brother has hired the scallywag Faerie huntsman, Kevighn Silver. While serving as shipmates, Kevighn and Noli learn that the Earth Court King plans to find a forbidden artifact–one that will bring destruction to everyone Noli loves.

Thanks to NetGalley and Flux for this eARC! This title will be released on August 8th, 2013.

3 stars

WARNING: This review WILL have spoiler for the first book! Read my review of Innocent Darkness HERE!

I’ll be the first person to admit that I wasn’t entirely thrilled by the first installment of this series, but I was interested enough to request the second book. Sadly, as many “middle” novels have been showing me these days, I sometimes think that some series should not be trilogies. Or people at least need some new conventions for middles of series.

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ARC Review: “Moonset” by Scott Tracey

MoonsetMoonset (Legacy of Moonset #1) by Scott Tracey

Goodreads | Amazon

Justin Daggett, his trouble-making sister, and their three orphan-witch friends have gotten themselves kicked out of high school. Again. Now they’ve ended up in Carrow Mills, New York, the town where their parents—members of the terrorist witch organization known as Moonset—began their evil experiments with the dark arts one generation ago.

When the siblings are accused of unleashing black magic on the town, Justin fights to prove their innocence. But tracking down the true culprit leads him to a terrifying discovery about Moonset’s past . . . and its deadly future.

2 stars

Thank you to Flux and NetGalley for this eARC! This title will be available April 8th.

This review was completed by guest reviewer Sarah from Adventures in Storyland! Thank you, Sarah!

“Moonset. The name we’d inherited from our parents, now a slur as bad as any other four letter word. Even fifteen years after their death, people didn’t use the word Moonset lightly.

Because of it, we had people like Miss Virago, following us around. Waiting for the mistake that would push us over the edge from ‘innocent’ to ‘dangerous.’ 

Waiting for the day they could kill us, too.”

Moonset follows five teenagers, the surviving children of a cult behind a lethal uprising in the magical community. They’re cared for by the magic government, constantly moved around from town to town and school to school, and are generally mistrusted because of their heritage. This first novel in a series involves the teens getting trapped into a plot to draw out a warlock, and it’s entirely possible that no one cares whether or not they live through the attempt.

Moonset starts off rocky and then pretty much continues to be rocky right up until the rocky end. It’s not a bad book, it just didn’t really catch my attention. I had trouble connecting to any of the characters, and flat-out hated others. The protagonist, Justin, was okay but he never interested me that much. His twin, Jenna, is a bratty diva with anger issues that I spent the entire book wanting to punch. The other siblings mostly fade into the background. The love interest, Ash, is squashed into the role of manic pixie dream girl for most of the novel.

The plot is okay, but everything moves rather slowly. There’s a lot of talking and thinking and people not trusting them, but between the first chapter and the last half of the book, not a lot of action. Luckily, the magic system and world-building of this magic community are actually pretty awesome. I was really interested in learning about how their magic works and it’s pretty cool.

Basically, if you’re into magic teens and some political mayhem, you’d probably dig the book. I initially gave it a 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, but I think I’m going to downgrade to 2 out of 5 stars. It didn’t keep me nearly interested enough.

ARC Review: “Renegade” by Amy Carol Reeves

Renegade2Renegade (Ripper #2) by Amy Carol Reeves

Goodreads | Amazon

Brimming with romance and danger, the suspenseful Ripper series continues

The Conclave—a secret group with twisted ideals and freakish practices—has been wiped out, thanks to Arabella Sharp. Now there’s a new malevolence afoot. Fishermen are getting killed, their partially devoured bodies washing up on the shores of Scotland. Is the Ripper responsible? Or have the Conclave’s sinister experiments left behind something more monstrous? Abbie fears the worst when her beloved Dr. William Siddal vanishes. To save the man she loves, Abbie must comply with the Ripper’s dreadful orders—and put her own life in grave danger.

3 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and Flux for this eARC! This title will be released April 8th.

This review was completed by guest reviewer Sarah from Adventures in Storyland! Thank you, Sarah!

(Note: This is a review for the second book in a series. It contains spoilers for the first book, Ripper.)

“I saw bubbles in the greenish depths of water somewhere. A creature, dragon-like, with a tail. Claws. In the murky water, I saw the creature’s scaly haunches, thick and muscular like a lioness’s, as my nostrils became overwhelmed with the smell of fish, of seaweed. The monster had hair, long hazelnut hair billowing out like burnt gold threads in the water. I saw the swift, fleshy movements of breasts. I gasped and the dream left me almost as soon as it appeared.”

I wondered where the Ripper series could go after all of Jack the Ripper’s canonical victims had been killed in the first book. The killer lived, but I was still uncertain. As the series is called Ripper, I assumed it would stay within that realm. Instead, it goes off the charts. other than the continued interest of an inspector, the Ripper case is left behind. Renegade concentrates instead on the experiments done by the Conclave. In the quote above, Abbie experiences a vision of a lamia created by the Conclave’s experiments. There are also zombies of some sort, but that thread disappears about halfway through the book and never really comes back. I can only assume it will be used in the third book.

It’s easy for a YA period book to slap the reader across the face with how very different and radical the female protagonist is, and how all other women are sheep. Renegade avoids this. It’s certainly acknowledged that Abbie’s desire to be a doctor will be difficult since few medical programs admit women, but it’s mostly taken in stride. She’s an intelligent nurse with a dedication to her patients that wants to go to medical school, and that’s accepted. Other women aren’t insulted or shamed to make her look good. It’s refreshing.

The major annoyance for me in Renegade was Abbie’s love life. Early on in the book, she discovers that William, her major love interest from Ripper, had slept with a woman nearly twice his age that had once been his father’s mistress. This was before he ever met Abbie and took place at a tumultuous time in her life, but Abbie is furious and feels betrayed. She decides that she can’t trust William and that he’ll probably just be a philanderer like his father, so she ends their relationship and then spends a lot of time thinking about how very, very hurt she is. I was thrilled when she slapped William for saying, “After all, I’m a man,” as a reason for his affair, but that was the one bright point. I got so sick of hearing about it that I could feel my eyes and brain glazing over.

Chapters from the lamia Seraphina’s point of view were a welcome break from Abbie’s whining about William. Monster ladies are kind of the best, and this one was complex and interesting. She hungers for human flesh, but because she loves her human master and is loyal to the Conclave, she keeps her appetites at bay. She’s in charge of caring for the Conclave’s menagerie, and does so with great dedication. She loves the animals dearly. She’s a painter who never finishes her work. She lives alone on an island, isolated, waiting for the times when her master will return and struggling to keep a feeding frenzy at bay. It was fascinating to watch her development as a character. I could have read an entire book about her and done without Abbie altogether.

All in all, if you enjoyed Ripper, you’ll probably enjoy Renegade, if not like it more. I know I had a lot more fun with it than I did with its predecessor. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. The writing wasn’t great, but it kept me entertained.