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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-14 21:28
Book Review - Knight of Flames by Amelia Faulkner.
Knight of Flames (Inheritance, #2)Knight of Flames by Amelia Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Knight of Flames is the second of Amelia Faulkner's Inheritance books and dayam, it was even better than the first!

The book takes up almost immediately after Jack of Thorns. Laurence Riley has killed a god, and not just any god, Jack, or Jack in the Green (the god, not Myriam's flower shop), was The Green Man, one of the aspects of Cernunnos, the Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. But the fight had literally been to the death and Laurence, despite his fast healing abilities, was six weeks in healing. And during this healing the dream Myriam told him about finally came. Turns out Laurence isn't your average run of the mill psychic, oh no, he's descended from Herne the Hunter, and is a demigod. Just another day in the life of Laurence Riley, right? And then there's Quentin.

Quentin has his own demons to struggle with. Jack had used his weakness against him in the fight to destroy the god and to Quentin that was entirely unacceptable. He needed Laurence more than air, more than his own life. Laurence is... everything good and wonderful and wholesome to Quentin so he works with single minded purpose to overcome his fears, control his burgeoning abilities and be worthy of the man who is _his_. That means he needs to conquer his fear of sex, of physical intimate touch. But it's worth it if it means he gets to keep Laurence.

As if that isn't enough on his plate, a chance encounter reveals there are more psychics in San Diego, including one who can control other people through words alone. Well not Quentin, but Laurence definitely. The fact that Quentin is immune is mystery and one that Kane Wilson, one of the new psychic, is most troubled by. Oh and then Freddy, Quentin's twin shows up from home. Quentin's first instinct is flight but that would mean leaving Laurence and that is entirely unacceptable. So he must start to face the fears that chased him from his home and his country head on.

Kane invites Quentin to help teach control the psychic children he's gathered to him. But what is the man's end game? Laurence doesn't trust Wilson, and nor does Freddy. Laurence's visions reveal the man to be a murderer and one with an agenda that includes outing all psychics so it's up to Quentin, Laurence, and Freddy to thwart his end game. But are they playing Kane or is Kane playing them?

And what is Laurence going to do about his urges to hunt down prey? Things never run smoothly in the course of love and for these two men, well they've got a tsunami of troubles coming at them.

Amelia has done an amazing job of building up this world and populating it with rich, powerful, emotionally evocative characters. I get sucked in more and more and I can't wait to see where Book 3, Lord of the Ravens, goes with this storyline!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-13 15:49
Book Review of Jack of Thorns

Jack of Thorns (Inheritance, #1)Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner

OMG this book was sooo good!

I admit I was hesitant to read it at first because there are some themes that, while they aren't triggers, I do find disturbing; drug addiction and child abuse hurt my heart in a major way so I tend to avoid books with them in general. That being said I am SO glad I read this book!

Amelia Faulkner has created such an amazingly rich world and mythos in this book. The premise? What if the old Gods really do exist and interact with humans? What if demi-gods are still being born today? What if you accidentally call down a God that you don't mean to and you find out he's a massive DICK, a user and an abuser to boot? This is the world Amelia creates, a world where Herne the Hunter married a human and now has a line of descendants, demi-gods, with amazing abilities. A world where The Green Man is a great big douchebag of a God who is as flawed as any mortal. A world where men can move things with their minds and demi-gods can make things _grow_ like crazy. It's fantastical and amazing but also gritty and realistic because she makes the characters real and flawed and doesn't shy away from the darkness of addiction and abuse.

The story starts with one of our main characters Laurence (only my mom calls me Bambi!) Riley getting a heroin fix and nearly dying. It was his near death that triggers his 'inheritance', his gifts. Laurence is an addict, he knows it and despairs because he can't resist the white rabbit, whether it's through the marajuana he uses his ability to grow, or the heroin he scores when the need gets too desperate. His visions of the future show him going back to rehab time and again, so his self-loathing only increases, which only increases his need for a hit in a vicious cycle of addiction, overdose, rehab, regret and self-hatred. Until the day Quentin D'Arcy, Earl of Banbury, happens into his life after a chance meeting in a park.

Banbury is on the run from a life of privilege, wealth and family he loathes. Being an aristocrat doesn't protect you from predators, not if they're family members. The peerage protects itself and proclivities are overlooked for the 'greater good'. But Banbury knew nothing else and he was his father's heir so he stayed, he endured and he survived. Until his mother was murdered. Now he's in San Diego, flying under the radar, vowing to not set foot back on English soil until his father does the decent thing by dying. Banbury - or Quentin as Laurence calls him - despises bullies, is ashamed of his body and freaks out at the merest suggestion of sex. Except when Quentin freaks out bad things happen to the weather... and to the people trying to hurt him. Because Quentin can move things with his mind, not that he knows he does it. When Quentin is threatened he simply shuts down, escapes within himself, and his abilities protect him with wild fury.

A tentative friendship blooms between the two psychic's, but Laurence has a stalker ex-boyfriend and he might have accidentally summoned a God to help him sort out his life; a god who is an absolute dick and who will help Laurence for a price - he needs Laurence to 'feed him' by getting sex regularly. Problem is, Laurence is falling for a guy who's fear of sex is potentially lethal, so sex is off the table. Suffice it to say, the God does not react well and very bad things ensue.

In order to survive the wrath of the God, Laurence and Quentin must learn to control their dubious gifts, learn to trust each other, and face their pasts head on. Easy peasy right? Oh hell NAW!

This book had me on the edge of my seat, turning each page with bated breath. I was seduced by the way Quentin talks, my heart broke for Laurence time and again as I watched him struggle with the demon of addiction, and watching their relationship unfurl like a fragile bud and blossom into a beautiful, strong, plant with deep roots was amazing.

I can't wait to dive in to book 2, Knight of Flames, to see what happens to the boys next.

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Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/2289293367
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review 2018-01-26 15:23
Always Tell the Truth
The Empty Pot - Demi

I love this book for the message! "The Empty Pot", by Demi, is a great story to read when talking about honesty and how always telling the truth is best. In the story, the Emperor is looking for someone to replace him for when he is too old. He gives out seeds to all the children and sends them on their way to plant them and grow their seeds for one year. After a year, Ping, the main character in the story, has tried and tried to get his seeds to grow only to be left with an empty pot. Why didn't his seeds grow? When it was time to meet the Emperor, Ping had to present his empty pot while all the other children had beautiful flowers flowing out of their pots. Ping was upset, but the Emperor chose his pot because the seeds he had given the children were all cooked which mean they would not sprout. This showed Pings honesty and he was chosen as the next in line for the throne. It is always best to tell the truth and be honest about any situation, because honesty will usually keep you out of trouble. Another lesson that could be introduced is how seeds grow and how a cooked seed will not grow. The students could then plant their own seeds to grow in the classroom and watch how they sprout. They could also spent time observing plants and learning parts of a plant. This book could be used in several different ways.

 

Lexile: 630L

ATOS: 3.8

 

 

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review 2017-12-27 10:00
New Release Review: The Coyote's Chance (Masters of Maria # 4) by Holley Trent

 

 

It’s a literal fight for love in this fast-moving shifter tale in the popular Masters of Maria series.

For coyote shifter Blue Shapely, becoming the new alpha of Maria’s pack is his long-awaited chance to be his own man and eliminate chaos from the town. Unfortunately, the pack’s patron is thwarting him at every turn.

After being magically attached to the Coyote group for more than a century, demigoddess Willa Matheson has a soft spot for them—even the dangerous ones threatening to expose them to humans. She may have hired Blue to rein in the pack, but the two constantly disagree on strategy. She doesn’t want to upset anyone, whereas he’ll do whatever it takes to get his Coyotes in line. And to make things worse: all signs point to the anxious demigoddess being his mate.

But developing a tenderness for Willa will be an obstacle to Blue’s determination to be as ruthless as he needs to be. If the duo can’t find a way to retract their claws, and soon, it may be too late to protect the pack’s secret—and their own hearts.

Sensuality Level: Sensual 

 

 

 

The Coyote’s Chance is an enchanting book that characters were a bit surprising because they were in no way what I was picturing. But this is a good thing, because the difference added a whole different feel to the book and made it a very interesting read. Willa was the most surprising because her being a demigoddess had picturing a whole different personality but the surprise that the author had in store for me added a lot of depth to the characters and definitely had me emphasizing with the characters as I became totally engrossed in the rocky relationship growing between these two characters. As usual, Holley Trent manages to portray her characters with a vibrancy that makes it easy for readers to become caught up in the story as well as ensuring that the characters heat up the pages with lots of steamy passion.

 

The readers are also kept glued to the pages by the suspense that builds throughout the story regarding their respective fathers who cause some major conflicts for Willa and Blue and what their future has in store for them. Lots of action and thrills to keep reader’s on the edge of their seats but what’s more, the author adds some unexpected twists to keep readers guessing as to what will happen next or even if Willa and Blue shall overcome some major obstacles in their search for their happily ever after.

 

Holley Trent has added another enchanting book to her growing list of wonderful books as I was totally captured by Willa and Blue’s story and I can’t wait for the next Master of Maria book.

 

 

 

The Coyote’s Chance is the 4th book in the Masters of Maria series.

 

The Coyote’s Chance is available in ebook at:

Amazon   B&N   iBooks   Kobo

 

Holley Trent can be found at:

Website   Goodreads   Facebook   Twitter   BookBub   Instagram

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review 2017-04-19 01:20
Ajin
Ajin: Demi-Human, Volume 1 - Tsuina Miura,Gamon Sakurai

Invincibility is a common trope in comic stories but there are not a lot of stories that deal with Immortality and the effect it can have mentally on the said individual. In a way, it is understandable considering that it will have to be handled delicately and expertly and there is a lot of room to fail. Ajin takes up Immortality, pits immortal people against a cruel, brutal and paranoid society and tries to analyze what this would do to an immortal’s psyche and the consequences that would come of it.

 

Shortly after the world finds out about the existence of a few immortal “Ajin”, who regenerate and come back to life after being killed, they are branded dangerous and are hunted under the pretense of segregating these dangerous creatures from the normal ones. Once captured, these beings are then subjected to brutal experiments to try and find out how they actually regenerate and if it is possible to achieve similar effects for all humans. The story revolves around Kei Nagai, a high school student in Japan, who finds out that he’s an immortal when he is hit by a truck. Per procedure, the government and the bounty hunters start hunting him and he escapes with the help of his childhood friend Kaito. While on the run, Nagai finds out that there is an escaped group of Ajin extremists headed by Sato who want to fight against the government and the government agency behind the inhumane experiments. You can guess where the story goes from here.

 

Any good story needs a great villain to be memorable. Ajin has Sato, a player through and through who cares not about the ending but about the fight. To him, glory is not in the way the war is fought or in achieving success. To him it's all about the fight. The heat of the battle. He can not be predicted as there is nothing he won't do for the thrill of the fight and nothing he won't do when he is on it. Imagine a unstoppable, immortal, super soldier version of Joker. Yep. Sato is an absolute badass and the tight story telling only helps elevate his legend. I cannot remember such a compelling, simple (yet complex) character in recent times. Sometimes, less is more and the author understands it and utilizes it perfectly. Aside from the brilliant villain and the hero, there is no shortage for good characters: Tanaka (right hand man to Saito) an Ajin who was tortured extensively and wants vengeance on his tormentors, the idealistic Kaito, the naive Ko, shrewd Sokabe, Tosaki.... the list goes on.

 

The main attraction of the manga, aside from the art, is the character development and the psychological aspect of the situation. One cannot fault the Ajin for any of the choices they make after being hunted, tortured, experimented on and killed repeatedly for months (or years on some cases. In such a situation it is not a question of if they will snap, but when). The story, on that regard, does not paint either side as good or bad. It's monsters vs monsters fighting for their own agendas in a cruel world where no one really cares about the situation. The author handles the plot as it should be handled: without any goofs, grim, graphic and unrelenting. Another thing I really appreciated is the fact that there is no moral grandstanding or agenda pushing of any kind (unlike western comics) even though the story is heavily reliant on the Ajins fighting for their right and freedom. The story gives you a glimpse of what they went through, leaves it at that and concentrates on what they do because of that. The story, characters and even the dialogs are very realistic on that regard and is very refreshing to read. In fact, the story tries to avoid any kind of trope as much as possible even down to the character level. Unlike most books, there is not much of a contrast between most of the characters. There is no good vs evil. The hero and the villain are not black and white. They are both very gray and their difference is only in the degree. If Sato is a monster who loves battle, then Kei is a cold, calculating, ruthless machine who will sacrifice anything and anyone to achieve what he wants. One can only wonder if the hero will have the same conviction and ideas as Tanaka or even Sato if he had gone through the same ordeal that either of them went through. That goes for most of the characters. They are not in the struggle for moral reasons. They have their own agenda, be it survival, career, power or fun.

 

Ajin was a joint effort by Gamon Sakurai and Tsuina Miurna when it started. After about an year, Miurna left and Sakurai took the helm of the story. I was surprised to know that this was his first major story and all he has written before are short stories. I would be very interested to know how he takes this series further and his work thereafter. If his brilliant and insightful chapters "The real Kei Nagai, Blood relations, Fight and Call of Duty" are any indication, I have high hopes for this series. If you want a fast paced action story with excellent character development and psychological insight thrown in, give Ajin a try. You won't be disappointed.

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