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review 2019-08-16 22:47
Review ~ Great read!
Chasing Graves - Ben Galley

Book source ~ Tour. My review is voluntary and honest.

 

This story starts out with a prologue where a woman is dragging a dead man through a desert. I have to say, quite intriguing. Then chapter one introduces a guy taking a shit in an old woman’s lockbox. Meet Caltro Basalt. Master locksmith extraordinaire and someone who thinks outside the box (or takes a big dump in one) when getting revenge on people. He’s received a job offer that originated from the Cloudpiercer in Araxes. His situation is desperate enough that he decides to chance going to the City of Countless Souls even though the chances of dying there are quite high. But dying there isn’t the worst part. Oh, no. Once dead, someone can claim your soul and when you come back as a ghost (known as shades in this world) they own you. Instant slave. Yeah, Araxes doesn’t appear to be a place that I’d want to visit, for any reason. But Caltro needs funds so off he goes - only to be murdered almost as soon as he sets foot off the docks. And then the book is off and running with several people on different roads set to converge. What in the Arctian Empire could dead gods, an anonymous woman, a dead and bound locksmith, the Empress-In-Waiting, and a soulstealer have in common? You’ll have to read to find out.

 

Told from several POVs this is one highly imaginative and deeply twisted tale. There’s Caltro’s experiences and the woman in the desert is Nilith who killed her husband Farazar, but the nuggets about them are dropped sparingly as they traverse the dangerous desert lands. The Empress-In-Waiting, Princess Sisine Talin Renala, has her own agenda as does the soulstealer , Boss Temsa. Each one goes about their business in this book, but as the pages fly by I could tell they were going to intersect at some point. Well-written and nail-biting this dark fantasy contains murder, slavery, power, and corruption in a uniquely built world. Luckily, there’s some humor thrown in to lighten it up just a tad. Two of our fellow journeymen’s stories end in a bit of a cliffhanger (and frankly a jaw dropper for one), but not such big ones that you want to toss a table. Or two. I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2, Grim Solace!

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2019/08/chasing-graves.html
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review 2019-08-16 20:15
HOLLOW KINGDOM by Kira Jane Buxton
Hollow Kingdom - Kira Jane Buxton

 

HOLLOW KINGDOM is simply sublime!

 

S.T. is a domesticated crow living with his mofo, Big Jim. (S.T. calls all humans mofos, because that's what Jim calls them.) He spends his days learning tricks, caching objects and avoiding Dennis, Big Jim's bloodhound. Then, Jim's eyeball falls out. What happens next? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I read the reviews of a few of my friends and decided to give this one a go. I'm so glad I did. There is really no way to describe this book, or to even shelve it at Goodreads because it doesn't fit into any neat category, genre or sub-genre. This is mostly because HOLLOW KINGDOM is from the crow's point of view. And a cat's. And a whale's. It's beautifully written, with prose so carefully crafted-it's both inspiring and heartfelt. For example, (keep in mind this is from the crow's point of view):

 

 

“I cannot recommend this to you enough: find something that you believe in, right down deep in the depths of your silvery plumage, and then throw your heart at it, blood and valves and veins and all. Because I did this, the world, though brambled and frothing at the mouth, looked more vibrant; blues were bluer, and even the fetid puddles that collected under rusting cars tasted as sweet as summer wine.”

 

The other reason I liked this book so much is the humor; it's hilarious! I won't tell you what S.T. is short for, or his pet names for certain mofo items. I found myself laughing aloud on the second page and that continued throughout. S.T.'s hopefulness and his love of humanity kept me going through this past week or so, despite the seemingly endless violence we hear about all the time.

 

“Watching the sunrise.....what an act of beauty, of unwavering faith, something to look forward to each and every day.”

 

I am very much simplifying for this review, but be aware, this is a bit more than your average zombie apocalypse. The cause of it was sobering when I thought more deeply about it. Also, I don't see how anyone could not take away a love for our environment, our animals, and our very earth. We need to care of her, because she takes care of us.

 

HOLLOW KINGDOM is a unique, hilarious, thought-provoking, and beautifully written novel and I'm giving it my highest recommendation.

 

ALL THE STARS!

 

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

 

**Also, if you could hook me up with every book by this author in the future, that'd be great.**

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review 2019-08-14 08:05
This YA novel about one night of riots and chaos is a powerful, quick read and is destined for lots of conversation and classrooms
I’m Not Dying With You Tonight - Kimberly Jones ,Gilly Segal

‘I’m Not Dying With You Tonight’ is a powerful, quick read destined for lots of conversation and many classrooms and library bookshelves.

 

Following two young girls, thrown together by a high school football game that deteriorates into chaos and a night of city rioting, this YA novel addresses issues of race and class and reflects the fragile state of the domestic climate right now.

Lena, a popular black student, and Campbell, a white teen new to town, who knows no one and is unsure of herself, live in the same world, but seemingly come from different worlds. The book is set over one single night, really over several hours, and that’s what it took me to read this captivating book.

 

Over those few hours, they rely on each other to survive unimaginable circumstances, facing down riot police, looters, vagrants, and gunfire. The perspective shifts back and forth between the two characters throughout and the chapters are short, keeping the action moving quickly and the pace fast.

While it may seem as though there's no time to dig deeper into the enormous issues that come up in this book, all revolving around the race relations canon, debut authors Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal have written a relatable novel that can serve as a great jumping-off point for conversation.

When Lena and Campbell have awkward moments that remind them of their (often ill-conceived) preconceptions and assumptions of each other, the subtext taps into the dialogue we are having as a country and also serves to point out how easy and necessary it is for all the walls to come down. The two girls end up being emblematic of how we work through things better when we work together.

 

I expect that others reading this will recognize how it reflects the racial divide in this country (and some shocking recent current events), yet feel the hope that I felt when I read it. I honestly raced through this, it placed me right in the action myself; it's a poignant read for teens or anyone who needs to have a quick reexamination of their thinking about how we are all judging each other.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/43352274
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review 2019-08-12 02:37
‘The Lost Power’ is an exciting read: a thrilling action adventure with high stakes and a race across the globe
The Lost Power - Avanti Centrae

Sometimes I'll go out on a limb and read a book that wasn't necessarily on my radar, by an author who's new to me, and even within a genre (or crosses several genres) that I don't read often. I like reading outside of my comfort zone because this is often where I'll find the shiniest gems of books that may otherwise pass me by. 'The Lost Power' is one of those books; touted as 'Da Vinci Code meets Tomb Raider' (both of which I know of, but haven't read or seen, and probably just as well), I knew that others had found popular works to compare it to, but I'm glad I went in blind.

 

A family get-together in Napa, ruined by sniper's gunshots, is the opening setting for this exciting novel; app designer and Aikido instructor Maddy Marshall meets up with her estranged twin brother Will, go there to meet their elderly father, who reveals a dark, family secret, as he takes his last breaths. They then meet up with an old classmate, Bear, who accompanies them on their adventure across the globe, perhaps not so coincidentally.

The trio set out on a quest to discover a secret ‘Lost Power’ (with some dangerous people trying to beat them to it), before it can possibly endanger millions. It’s something of a quest to find the Holy Grail, filled with encounters in Spain, Jerusalem, and flying in a hot-air balloon.

 

What is so captivating about this novel, and what I didn’t expect, is the way that author Avanti Centrae has created a story about a brother and sister, with a rich family history, and made their relationship relatable, endearing, and it drives a lot of the action through. By having their friend Bear along for the adventure, he acts as the perfect buffer for the twins’ rough spots and develops into a fuller character than I expected. Rather than Will and Bear taking the lead with all the action in this book, it was completely refreshing to have Maddy be the person who ends up kicking butt, and it makes a change to have both the male and female characters airing their fears and showing their weaknesses.

 

Like any action adventure, there are many sequences that seem implausible (Spielberg  and authors like Dan Brown say it can be done though), but it felt really good to read a book that was just one crazy ride.

This is a heart-pounding action thriller that makes you feel like you have stepped into an adventure movie, where your every move will have you moving from one exotic locale to another, looking over your shoulder for who is chasing you, and tapping into the author’s vast knowledge of history and world religions and cultures, to solve an international mystery with unbelievably high stakes.

 

Thank you so much to Booktasters for the chance to read this; I powered through it during a recent readathon, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/46272424-the-lost-power
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review 2019-08-06 03:55
Hitchcock-style caper has an emotional core and moves at a break-neck speed; pick up this high-stakes YA thriller from Derek Milman for an exciting summer read
Swipe Right For Murder - Derek Milman

RELEASES TUESDAY AUGUST 6, 2019!

 

This is the sophomore novel from the immensely talented and wildly unique Derek Milman, who previously gave us the quirky and brilliant YA novel, ‘Scream All Night.’

Milman steps it up a notch in this one, bringing readers something close to the anxiety-fueled capers of Hitchcock, but with an emotionally-fueled story  at its core, something he seriously does best.

 

‘Swipe Right’ is a high-stakes genre-bending murder mystery, with classic elements like a case of mistaken identity, running from the good guys (the FBI) and being targeted by the bad guys (a crazy, murderous cult). There are dead bodies, accusations of cyber-terrorism, and it all starts with a deadly DirtyPaws hookup in a hotel room.

What makes this incredibly fresh and compelling for readers of YA, is the fantastically honest character portrayal of a young gay man, the main character Aidan Jamison. He is flawed, and arrogant, funny, charming, and he is struggling with his independence from his family, while receiving warnings from friends who seriously are worried about his recklessness. Amid all the action, and dark comedy that’s packed into this book (one of my favorite things about Derek’s writing), Aidan is forced to face his disturbing past and relationships.

 

‘Swipe Right’ moves at a break-neck speed as Aidan races to solve the crime that he’s implicated in, without getting killed or arrested, and finds out a lot about himself while he’s ‘on the lam.’ His character arc is natural and necessary and kept you rooting for him. Derek just knows how to write compelling, flawed characters and knows how to really get you to feel.

 

It’s exciting, funny, relatable, and it’s hard not to get wrapped up in Aidan’s story of emotional highs and lows as well as Milman’s writing really quickly. I swooped in quickly on Derek’s first book and became a fast fan of his, and now I’m already wondering what he will be doing next. This must be your summer thriller read for 2019!

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/39678946-swipe-right-for-murder
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