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review 2018-06-08 21:14
LIFEL1K3
LIFEL1K3 - Jay Kristoff

[I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.]

Overall, I enjoyed this book, although ultimately it didn’t live up to quite a few of my expectations.

The worldbuilding isn’t tremendously developed here, but what is shown was enough for me to draw a satisfying idea of what it must be like. Post-apocalyptic future, in that, without surprise, humans have been destroying their planet to the point of tsunamis ravaging California (the story is clearly set in its remnants) and solar radiations giving anyone cancer if they walk out unprotected even for an hour or so. It’s a harsh world to live in, where people eke out a living by foraging scraps, prostitution, being in gangs, or competing in the WarDome game by piloting huge robots meant to punish AI robots who stopped obeying the Three Laws (yes, that’s Asimov’s Laws—they tend to work well in various sci-fi worlds, methinks).

Piloting one of those ‘machinas’ is exactly what Eve, the main character, does to earn money and pay for her grandfather’s medication, encouraged by her tiny robot Cricket and her best friend Lemon. Except that her latest fight doesn’t go well at all, and she finds herself manifesting a strange power that sends religious fanatics and bounty hunters on her trail… although not only. This is how she meets Ezekiel, the ‘lifelike’ (an android built in such a way that he looks completely human not only on the surface, since he has blood-like liquid in his veins, metal bones and not simply motors, etc.) This merry band runs away, trying to escape their pursuers as well as to find what happened to Eve’s grandfather, in a world that would look great on screen: radioactive deserts with storms full of glass debris, enemies on motorbikes with rocket launchers, a city made of a whole landlocked float, the ghost town of what used to be a powerful corporation, a living underwater ship… The author doesn’t disclose that many details about geopolitics or history in here, however what he shows us worked for me, and let me imagine this world where Eve and her friends have to live.

In terms of characters, mostly I didn’t care for them, except Lemon. She comes off as the most human and balanced (both strong and fragile), with a cocky attitude and a to-the-death loyalty that felt genuine.

Also, special mention for the novel crossing Anastasia with Pinocchio. I don’t think I had seen or read that yet, and I found the idea interesting, as well as working fairly well.

Where I wasn’t happy with the book:

1) The romance. As often in YA, it was too much of the insta-love kind, without chemistry, and since we get to see how it started only through flashbacks, there was very little in it to make me like it. Eve took a bullet to the head and her memories are sometimes frazzled, and Ezekiel is too many shades of ‘I love you and you’re the only one who gave meaning to my life so now I’m here and I’ll do anything for you’ (commendable, but not very interesting nor even plausible, considering we never got to -feel- how it developed).

2) Ezekiel. Here we had an excellent opportunity to show a character that is not human, yet was built to be like humans, only without the emotional maturity that we develop over ten, twenty, thirty years. Granted, this is mentioned a couple of times, when it comes to the other lifelikes and the way they learnt to love (quickly, brutally, in a way that could drive them mad if the relationship broke, since they didn’t have the emotional background to soften the blow)—but then, this came through -them-, instead of through Ezekiel’s experience.

I think part of the problem stems from the fact we don’t have chapters from Ezekiel’s POV. Eve, Lemon, even a few minor characters now and then: sure. But not Ezekiel. So, in the end, we really get that ‘doll-like’ character who, sure, is an excellent fighter, but whose motives to help Eve never raise past the state of plot device. I would have loved to really see his point view rather than been told about it, see his inner questioning, how he sees the world, how he accepts (or not) his condition of nearly-but-never-human being, especially since this would’ve worked with a certain plot twist also prompting another character to question what being human means.

(A note here regarding the sexual relationship between Ezekiel and Eve; we don’t see it, but it’s more than just vaguely implied. I know that for some people, this is a complete turn-off. I must say I did find it interesting, not so much abnormal and disgusting than intriguing and raising lots of questions about, well, being human, what it means, how it is defined, etc. Did the lifelikes have sexual relationships because they were programmed to, in a perfectionist desire to copy human biology? Was it something that developed ‘naturally’ in them because they looked so much like humans and lived among them? Did they read about it, and so were conditioned from the beginning to believe it was the next step, and from there, would it mean that they could’ve learnt other forms of physical love if given the chance? So many roads to explore, but that weren’t… -sigh-)

Conclusion: In terms of action and of a world easy to picture, this was a fun and entertaining read. However, I regret it didn’t go further than that.

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review 2018-04-18 19:26
The School for Psychics
The School for Psychics - K. C. Archer

[I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.]

An enjoyable fast-read when it came to the ‘psychic powers’ theme. I really liked the premise: a young woman who’s been making questionable decisions, and gets a second chance in a school for people with psychic abilities, where they’re trained to protect and server… but a few people on the inside have different agendas, and it’s a constant game of trying to figure out what’s at stake, and if it’s going to be a bunch of revelations, or something much more lethal. The powers the students have are varied, ranging from precognition to telepathy and even pyrokinesis, and I liked how the novel tried to bring a scientific approach to it: after all, they’re training people who’re going to end up working for the FBI or NSA.

The first scene also engaged me from the beginning, what’s with Teddy being banned from Las Vegas casinos, but still sneaking into one, disguised as a different woman, to hopefully win the money she owes a Russian crime boss, because otherwise her own parents will be targeted. Well, OK, nevermind that she should never have let things go that far, all the more if she’s so good at reading people at the poker table, but ‘questionable decisions’ being a key here, alright, I can go with that.

On the other hand, I never really got a good feeling for Teddy, or for the other characters. Some of them had a sort of ‘larger than life’ vibe, with their quirks (the animal medium who likes doing yoga naked, the ex-cop who’s a charmer and can literally set things on fire, the hacker who’s also an empath…); but they remained fairly one-dimensional. Teddy barely thought of her family except in the beginning, we know nothing of the others except for a couple of things like ‘his family’s rich and he has a boat’, and so when the story took a more action/heist-oriented turn, it was hard to root for them.

The other thing I didn’t like—and which contributed to my not enjoying the sotry as much as I hoped—was the globally juvenile aspects. These people are 20-something (Teddy’s 24, and Pyro must be at least 25 considering he served in the police for some time, and I doubt you just start there at 15 or so), but the whole Whitfield academy had a strong high school feeling, and I constantly thought I was reading a YA novel when in fact it was marketed as geared towards adult, with adult characters. I don’t mind YA in general, even though I have my gripes about a lot of books; I don’t think that ‘because it’s YA, it’s necessarily stupid and uninteresting.’ This said, the aforementioned gripes involve a certain number of tropes that I find cringe-worthy, such as the mandatory romance and love triangle, the professor who immediately favours certain students and begrudges the heroine and her friends, or the whole ‘school stars vs. misfits’ aspect. And those tropes were clearly present here, to the point of making me forget that those characters were, uh, two years from going to work for the FBI? Suspension of disbelief was then shattered every time forensics or the shooting range was mentioned; it’s like the story couldn’t make up his mind about whether it was meant to be about teenagers or about adult people.

Not sure if I’ll be interested in the sequel.

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review 2018-03-06 21:24
Book Review of The Lost Chalice (The Relic Seekers Book 3) by Anita Clenney
The Lost Chalice - Anita Clenney

Adrenaline-fueled adventure and epic romance mix seamlessly in the third installment of New York Times bestselling author Anita Clenney’s Relic Seekers series.

 

Relic hunter and archaeology expert Kendall Morgan has a lot on her mind. After finding the Fountain of Youth—and discovering that Nathan, her handsome billionaire boss, might actually be her long-lost childhood love—she could really use some time to think. Except a two-thousand-year-old Protettori guardian has just teleported into her bathroom, desperate for help.

 

The Reaper, an ancient and sinister being consumed with finding the world’s most powerful relics, is after the Holy Grail. Now Kendall must use her sixth sense to find it first. With both Nathan and her brooding bodyguard, Jake, by her side, Kendall sets out to find the lost chalice in a dangerous quest that will test her abilities, her heart, and everything she thought she knew.

 

Review 4*

 

This is the third book in The Relic Seekers series. I loved it!

 

Kendall Morgan is a wonderful character. However, I sometimes wanted to shake some sense into her right from the start. She works for a billionaire as a relic finder. She has a special gift that allows her to track down, as well as know things about, the artifacts she procures for her boss. When her boss, Nathan Larraby, asks her to locate four powerful relics, little does she realise the danger she will face or the secrets she will uncover. Nathan's reclusive nemesis known only by the name of Reaper (as in Grim) is also after the artifacts. But Kendall is also fighting her attraction to her co-worker, Jake Stone, and her handsome boss.

 

This is an urban fantasy romance with a twist. I started reading the story and was instantly hooked. The story is told through the view points of Kendall and Jake for the most part, but as it progressed, other characters, namely Nathan, also has his say.

 

I found myself on a roller coaster of emotion as the story unfolded. I enjoyed getting to know the characters better and we are introduced to quite a few new ones too.

 

The story continues from the end of book two and the reader gets to delve deeper into the Protettori and how and when it was established. This means that we also get to find out more about the Guardian, Raphael, and Marco, the keeper of the relics for the Protettori. We also get to know a little more about the Reaper and his relationship to not only the Protettori, but to one of the other characters. There are other surprises that are revealed too.

 

The story is just as exciting as the first two, and the author brings two myths together - that of the fountain of youth and the chalice once used by Jesus before he was crucified. However, I still found myself wondering about the trio's relationship and growth (or lack) of it into a threesome. There is definite chemistry between the three; Jake and Nathan don't find each other attractive so much, but they both have feelings for Kendall. I could see the potential for a threesome, but the author seems to have shied away from committing them to this type of relationship. Yet. I don't know if the author plans on continuing with this series, but I hope she does as it feels unfinished to me. The ending was left a little ambiguous, which made me feel disappointed as well as hopeful. If this series will not have at least another book written to conclude it, then I will be most aggrieved. I really want to go on another adventure with these three, and to see whether their relationship grows further.

 

Anita Clenney has written an intriguing paranormal romance full of action and adventure. I love her fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more books by this author in the future, and there is a high probability that I would add her to my favourite authors list too.

 

Due to scenes of a sexual nature (which are not explicit), as well as some violence, I do not recommend this book to young readers. However, I highly recommend this book if you love paranormal/supernatural romances/romantic suspense/urban fantasy/action/adventure or myths and/or legends genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-02-20 21:42
Book Review of Fountain of Secrets (The Relic Seekers Book 2) by Anita Clenney
Fountain of Secrets - Anita Clenney

A relics expert with a nose for mystery is torn between her sexy billionaire boss and her hot bodyguard. Each would die to save her...and win her heart.

Kendall Morgan puts her sixth sense back to work in the second book of the Relic Seekers series, divining the history and location of ancient relics. Her boss, the gorgeous billionaire Nathan Larraby, sends her to Italy to safeguard a priceless treasure belonging to the Protettori, an ancient order of monks who guard four powerful relics that Nathan believes may be the cure for his dark curse. He also sends brooding mercenary Jake Stone to watch Kendall’s back—although her back isn’t all Jake has his eye on.

Nathan joins them, and all three tumble into a labyrinth of defenses created by the monks to protect their treasures, including the Fountain of Youth. They find themselves in England on the trail of the legendary King Arthur, who along with the Reaper, seems mysteriously connected to the Protettori. Sparks fly and bonds are tested as Kendall and Nathan’s pasts are revealed and Jake’s becomes even more mysterious. The trio must stay one step ahead of the mysterious Reaper if they want to survive.

 

Fountain of Secrets twists and turns through the shadows of myth and reality as Kendall races to uncover the Protettori’s secrets and fight her growing attraction to her boss and her bodyguard.

 

Review 4*

 

This is the second book in The Relic Seekers series. I loved it!

 

Kendall Morgan is a wonderful character. However, I sometimes wanted to shake some sense into her. She works for a billionaire as a relic finder. She has a special gift that allows her to track down, as well as know things about, the artifacts she procures for her boss. When her boss, Nathan Larraby, hires her to locate four powerful relics, little does she realise the danger she will face. Not just from Nathan's reclusive nemesis known only by the name of Reaper (as in Grim), who is also after the artifacts, but from her attraction to her co-worker, Jake Stone.

 

This is an urban fantasy romance with a twist. I started reading the story and was instantly hooked. The story is told through the view points of Kendall and Jake for the most part, but as it progressed, other characters, namely Nathan, also has his say.

 

I found myself on a roller coaster of emotion as the story unfolded. I enjoyed getting to know the characters better and we are introduced to quite a few new ones.

 

This story sees the trio thrown into danger as they uncover more secrets from the secretive Protettori, and unravel the secrets hidden in their own pasts. It continues from the end of book one. Jake and Kendall grow closer together and consummate their attraction, and Nathan finds out that the changes he is experiencing is linked to an event in his past. They also uncover a mysterious connection between the Protettori, King Arthur, and the fountain of youth. This sees them travelling from Italy to England in an attempt to find the lost fountain of youth, fabled to give anyone who drinks from it not an immortal life but a longer one. The mystery and suspense kept me reading until I'd finished the book. However, I was a little disappointed that the relationship between the three didn't develop as much as I thought it could have. There is definite chemistry between the three; Jake and Nathan not so much, but they both have feelings for Kendall. I could see the potential for a threesome, but the author seems to have shied away from this aspect. Perhaps they will get together in the third book? I guess I'll just have to read it and see. The book ends in a cliffhanger and I am now looking forward to reading The Lost Chalice as soon as possible.

 

Anita Clenney has written an intriguing paranormal romance full of action and adventure. I love her fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more books by this author in the future, and there is a high probability that I would add her to my favourite authors list too.

 

Due to the above mentioned scenes of a sexual nature (which are not explicit), as well as some violence, I do not recommend this book to young readers. However, I highly recommend this book if you love paranormal/supernatural romances/romantic suspense/urban fantasy/action/adventure or myths and/or legends genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-02-08 23:04
Book Review of Guardians of Stone (The Relic Seekers Book 1) by Anita Clenney
Guardians of Stone - Anita Clenney

In the tradition of Indiana Jones, a feisty heroine with a sixth sense, and two sexy heroes, a dark, reclusive billionaire and a mercenary bodyguard are on a hunt for four powerful relics that could change their lives…and the course of history. But relics aren’t Kendall’s only quest. Eventually, she’ll have to choose between her sexy boss and her badass bodyguard.

 

Kendall Morgan is a human bloodhound. Spending her childhood hunting relics with her ambitious archeologist father, she knew the two of them shared a sixth sense for the history and location of objects—sometimes even people. What she didn’t know was that their paranormal gift could ultimately be their undoing.

 

After the tragic plane crash that killed her father as well as her childhood best friend, Kendall dedicated her life to finding and protecting relics. When mysterious, sexy billionaire Nathan Larraby hires her for his latest expedition—the search for four powerful relics—she’s thrown into a world of high-octane danger. He sends brooding mercenary Jake Stone to watch Kendall’s back, but he may have created danger of a different kind.

 

As the team chases down clues, a man called the Reaper makes a play for the artifacts and will stop at nothing to put them to his own sinister use. What’s worse is that Nathan hasn’t told the whole story, and the dark secrets he’s keeping could cost them the mission…and their lives.

 

Review 5*

 

This is the first book in The Relic Seekers series. I loved it!

 

Kendall Morgan is a wonderful character. However, I sometimes wanted to shake some sense into her. She works for a billionaire as a relic finder. She doesn't go to archaeological digs, not since being a child and her father and best friend were killed in a plane crash. However, she has a special gift that allows her to track down, as well as know things about, the artifacts she procures for her boss. When her boss, Nathan Larraby, hires her to locate four powerful relics, little does she realise the danger she will face. Not just from Nathan's reclusive nemesis known only by the name of Reaper (as in Grim), who is also after the artifacts, but from her attraction to her co-worker, Jake Stone.

 

This is an urban fantasy romance with a twist. I read the blurb and was intrigued. I love action adventure mixed in with romance, as well as characters with a hint of supernatural/paranormal gifts, and since I love stories like Indiana Jones, this book seemed to tick those boxes. I am glad I downloaded this book, but am sad that it's taken me a while to get to read this book due to my large reading list.

 

I started reading the story and was instantly hooked. The story is told through the view points of Kendall and Jake for the most part, but as it progressed, other characters, namely Nathan, also had their say. I don't want to give spoilers, so will try not to.

I found myself on a roller coaster of emotion as the story unfolded. I enjoyed getting to know the characters better and we are introduced to quite a few. Kendall is hard headed, determined and carrying a lot of baggage from her past. Jake, too, is an intriguing character. He is a former soldier, working as a mercenary for hire. He is also carrying a lot of baggage from his past, and has secrets. Speaking of secrets, Nathan Larraby is one big enigma. He has a power that is changing him into something, but his past is hidden so the reader (namely me) became intrigued about him. Fergus is Nathan's butler and is another character that I liked a lot.

 

There are several twists and turns that act as red herrings, so the reader never really knows what is really going on in this book. I will say that this just kept my interest in this story keen. The castle that Kendall and Jake visit is full of secrets and is steeped in history thought to be legend or myth. If you love Arthurian legends as I do, the way the author wove this aspect into the story got me thinking. What if King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot were actually in a threesome? Whether this was true or not is only speculation on my part. We may never know for sure. However, I could imagine Kendall, Jake and Nathan in such a relationship, as there is definite chemistry between the three (Jake and Nathan not so much, but they both have feelings for Kendall). Saying that, there is no explicit scenes of a sexual nature in this story, though there is mention of activity between Kendall and Jake. I'm not keen on a love triangle in most books, but the way these characters interact, whether intended by the author or not, feels natural. The danger they face is palpable, and I found myself biting my nails or sitting on the edge of my seat often. I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings, and was glad that I'd downloaded the second and third book in the series so that I could continue reading, since the book ends in a small cliffhanger. Now I am looking forward to reading Fountain of Secrets as soon as I can.

 

Anita Clenney has written an intriguing paranormal romance full of action and adventure. I love her fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more books by this author in the future, and there is a high probability that I would add her to my favourite authors list too.

 

Due to the above mentioned scenes of a sexual nature, as well as some violence, I do not recommend this book to young readers. However, I highly recommend this book if you love paranormal/supernatural romances/romantic suspense/urban fantasy/action/adventure or myths and/or legends genres. - Lynn Worton

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