The Raging Ones (The Raging Ones: Book 1) by Krista Ritchie and Becca Ritchie

The Raging Ones (The Raging Ones, #1)

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Date of publication: August 14th, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Series: The Raging Ones

The Raging Ones – Book 1

Where you can find The Raging Ones: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

From New York Times bestselling authors Krista and Becca Ritchie, comes The Raging Ones, an edge of your seat sci-fi romance with twists and turns that you will never see coming!

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds. 

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday. 

Until the day she does. 

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people who haunt him and the world that imprisoned him. 

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny. 

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

My review:

My interest in The Raging Ones was caught when I read the blurb. I could see the potential in a plotline based on a society that knew when they were going to die. Then I read the book and man, I can’t even begin to describe what it was like reading this book. The best way I can describe it is like unwrapping a Christmas gift. You don’t know what you are going to get and you are eager to get it open to see it. That is how I felt about The Raging Ones.

The Raging Ones follows 3 teenagers who have dodged their deathdays. In doing that, they have bonded with each other. Desperate to keep their secrets, the trio decides that their best bet is to enter a competition that will send them into space. A competition that will test their bonds and their alliances with each other. But what awaits them in space?

Franny is the first character that we are introduced to in the book. She is a brass, crass Fast Tracker. Fast Trackers are people who are destined to die in their teens/early adulthood. They are known for partying like it is the last day of their life…every single day. I felt bad for Franny because all she wanted was her money so she could die knowing what it would be like to be rich. I liked her. She was the more open of the trio. The more impulsive one. I liked her. She did get the short end of the stick with her new tattoos. That artist did not like her.

Mykal was introduced with Court. Mykal was a Babe. Babes are children whose deathdates happen before the age of 8. When he didn’t die, he removed himself from his Hinterland village, supporting himself alone until he found Court half-frozen. While Mykal came across as a country bumpkin but he was anything but. I loved his character. He had a way of looking at things that were refreshing.

Court was the mysterious one. He was an Influential. Influentials are people whose deathdays happen far in the future. Court was very stingy in giving information about himself. That drove me nuts but also kept reading. Court cared about Franny and Mykal but didn’t want to get too close to them. He was also the driving force behind the 3 of them getting into the space program. I liked his character but came to love him.

The bond that Mykal and Court had were intense. As was their attraction to each other. But they didn’t act on it. You could cut the sexual tension with a knife, it was that heavy. I was surprised that nothing happened between them sooner in the book. I did think that there was going to be a love triangle with Franny but nothing ever came from it. Which I liked. A love triangle would have taken away from the storyline.

I do wish that more had been spent on explaining why deathdates were needed and how they were discovered. It was explained very briefly but not in detail. I also wish that more time had been given to explained Mykal, Court and Franny’s connection. Why they had it and why they didn’t die.

I liked the science fiction aspect of the book but I did feel that it went on for a tad bit too long. It felt that there was some unneeded luggage with that plotline that could have been trimmed. Mainly the part of the storyline with the cheating. It added nothing to the storyline and bored me.

The end of the book was fantastic. The author had a huge plot twist that I didn’t see coming. There were no hints or anything leading up to it. I was shocked. The author ended the book on that note. Brilliant move on their part. Because now I have to read the next book to see what is going to happen. Also, the author didn’t wrap up the main storyline or any of the storylines added late in the book. So I am curious to see how they will be resolved in book 2.

What I liked about The Raging Ones

A) How diverse the characters were

B) The bond that connected Mykal, Court, and Franny

C) No love triangle

What I disliked about The Raging Ones:

A) No explanation on why deathdates were needed/discovered

B) No explanation about Franny, Court, and Mykal’s connection

C) Science fiction part of the book went on a little too long for my taste

I gave The Raging Ones a 4-star rating. I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed reading it. I do think that there was too little information given about deathdates and Mykal, Franny, and Court’s connection. Other than that, I enjoyed the book.

I would give The Raging Ones an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild violence. There is mild language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread The Raging Ones. I would also recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Raging Ones.

All opinions stated in this review of The Raging Ones are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

The Ascending (Zola Flash: Book 3) by T. Marie Alexander

The Ascending (Zola Flash, #3)

4 Stars

Publisher: 

Date of publication: August 13th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Series: Zola Flash

Zola Flash – Book 1 (review here)

The Forgotten – Book 2 (review here)

The Ascending – Book 3

Where you can find The Ascending: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads): 

Escaping to Earth changed Zola’s life forever. She found happiness on a foreign planet. And she found truths from an unlikely ally.

Zola has never wanted to claim her throne…

Until now.

Because now, the people of her planet need her.

And she’s tired of running.

It won’t be easy taking on an old and controlling group of power-hungry dictators, though. And she’s going to need all the help she can get to claim her crown and prove the Court has been wrongly guiding the galaxy for centuries. 

Zola was once an innocent marred by war.

This time, though, she’s not so innocent anymore.

My review:

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I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I started reading The Ascending. I knew that big things were going to happen. It was the when and where that got me sucked into reading it. I couldn’t put this book down. I read it within 1 1/2 days. I couldn’t help but not care for Zola, Pin, Zin, and Florix. The author did a fantastic job of taking already fleshed out characters and adding more depth to them. She also did a great job of throwing in some small twists in the plot that took me by surprise.

The Ascending takes place shortly after the events of The Forgotten. Zola is getting ready to take her throne back from the Court, a group of dictators that have ruled Vitcian, and the galaxy, for centuries. But she is prepared to fight them. She is not the same girl who stumbled upon her destiny. She has seen war. She has killed people and she is willing to do whatever it takes for her people. But can she do it? Can she take on the Court and win? Or will she be another victim in the Court’s schemes?

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Zola is one of my favorite characters in this book. While she didn’t want to be queen, she still did it because it was the right thing. She dealt with all the drama that surrounded her with amazing maturity. She became a woman who was ready to do what it took to free her people from a dictatorship. I was bothered by her lack of connection with Florix. But, looking back, I could understand why she kept her distance from her. I mean, Florix did try to kill her on Talan’s orders.

Pin drove me freaking nuts the entire book. He was still blowing hot and cold with Zola. There were scenes where I was ready to reach through my Kindle and shake him. Talk about frustrating. Other than that, I liked him. He was loyal to Zola and was willing to fight the Court to help her gain her throne.

Florix was a great addition to the book. The author did a great job at having me question her loyalty to Zola. I wish that more background was given about her younger years. Her training, how she met Talan, how she dealt when her bond was severed with Zola. I am hoping that the author considers writing a spin-off book about her. I know that I would be very interested.

I thought that the science fiction angle of the book was great. I do wish that more insight was given into the portals/ships/other lifeforms. But everything that the author did explain was fantastic!!! The fantasy angle was fantastic also.

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The romance angle of the book was great, even though I wanted to punch Pin. I didn’t doubt that he loved her but man, he needed to show it more often. Like I said above, he blew hot and cold with Zola. One minute, he loved her. The next, he was back to being her protector and having walls up. It drove me crazy because that’s not how it was supposed to work.

The author did have a couple of twists in the plot that I didn’t see coming. Also, there are a couple of main characters that leave/get killed off. At least one of those I was surprised at.

I will say that this book can be bloody. The author didn’t hold back on the battle scenes. Which is awesome because you don’t see many YA books that embrace violence. Most of them are sunshine and rainbows. Not this one!!!

The end of The Ascending was great. The author wrapped up all the storylines in a way that satisfied me. The only one that wasn’t resolved was the storyline about Rhea. I am hoping that there is a book coming out of it because I want to know what is going to happen.

Now onto why I rated The Ascending 4 stars. I enjoyed the book. It was a fitting end for the series. I connected with the characters. Why it didn’t make 5 stars? Well, I didn’t like how Pin treated Zola for most of the book. The Rhea storyline was left unfinished. I felt that some of the battle scenes were a little too violent for a YA book. But, like I said at the beginning of this paragraph, I enjoyed the book.

What I liked about The Ascending:

A) I enjoyed the story

B) The book was a fitting end for the series

C) I connected with the characters

What I disliked about The Ascending:

A) How Pin treated Zola

B) The Rhea storyline being left unfinished

C) Some of the battle scenes were a little too violent for a YA book.

I would give The Ascending an Older Teen rating. There is sex (but it is not explicit). There is violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread The Ascending. I would also recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review The Ascending.

All opinions stated in this review of The Ascending are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy: Book 1) by Mikayla Elliot

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy, #1)

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association, Member’s’ Titles

Date of publication: July 31st, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, New Adult

Where you can find Snow: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Series: Black Ice Trilogy

Snow – Book 1

Blizzard – Book 2

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Taken from all she has ever known and loved, Neva finds herself swept into a world of vampires where she learns she will determine their future. Yet she quickly discovers she is the target of a vampire, Zachariah, seeking to stop her from altering the vampire lineage. She must decide which path she will take while trying to protect the family she left behind and discovering a past she cannot escape.

My review:

When I started reading this book, I thought that it was going to be a vampire Snow White type of book. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. If I paid more attention to the blurb, I would have seen that.  Oh well.

I don’t understand how Snow was labeled as a young adult novel. Neva, the main character, was married. If I were to guess at her age, I would put her in her early to mid 20’s. I thought that his book was better suited for the NA genre than YA. But that’s me. Someone else could have a different take on it. Which is the wonderful thing about writing reviews. No one’s opinions are wrong. Unless you didn’t read the book and give your opinion, then I don’t pay attention to the review.

I liked the plot of Snow. I thought that it was original. Neva is brought into the vampire world when her life was almost taken in an attack. She is thrust into the middle of a conspiracy that will leave everyone reeling. Can Neva bring Zachariah to his knees and save the vampire lineage? Or will she become a pawn in an ancient war?

I liked Neva but I found her whiny for most of the book. Yes, she had a terrible shock when she was turned. It would have been a huge shock for anyone. Even after Thedryk explained why she was turned and who she was, she still whined about it. She didn’t understand the danger she was in. For an adult, she didn’t act like one. I did like that she wised up during the last half of the book. Seeing what happened to her family shocked her into wising up.

I didn’t think that Zachariah wasn’t that bad of a guy for most of the book. Yes, he didn’t like Neva and yes, he was only with Eliza because he cared about the power. The author showed a 100% different side to him when he was interacting with his adopted daughter. He cared for them. I honestly don’t think that he is going to be as bad as he was made out to be. I do think it is awful what he did in the last half of the book. But it didn’t go with what the author showed. I wonder if there is more to his story and if it will be revealed in book 2.

I loved what the author did with the vampires in this book. While these vampires need human blood, they don’t need it that often. They can eat regular food but it doesn’t do anything for them. Not everyone can be turned into a vampire, though. The author explained that the people can be turned into vampires have a special aura. The vampires can see it but can only turn if they have permission from the Council. If someone is turned who doesn’t have the special aura, they become something out of a nightmare. The author also had the vampires have a special gift. Some are stronger than others but everyone has it.

There is even a science fiction angle of Snow. There is a vampire that can open portals into different dimensions. It is explained more thoroughly in the book. I found it fascinating and wished that it has been added sooner in the book.

The end of Snow was action packed and moved very fast. What happened to Zachariah, he deserved it. But it was the end of the book that made me go what. First with the introduction of a famous fictional character. Then it was who was introduced in the very last pages of the book. It is that revelation that makes me excited to read the next book in the series.

What I liked about Snow:

A) How the vampires were portrayed

B) Neva’s storyline

C) The science fiction angle

What I disliked about Snow:

A) Neva. She was a whine bag for most of the book

B) Zachariah. I was on the fence with him for most of the book. But the ending events turned me

C) What happened to Neva’s family

I would give Snow an Older Teen rating. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is violence. There is no language.

I would reread Snow. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Snow.

All opinions stated in this review of Snow are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Throwback Thursday: May 31st, 2018

I decided to do Throwback Thursday but blog style. I am going to select a book I have read before and see if I would still read it.

This week’s Throwback Thursday is a space opera.

Spinward Fringe Broadcasts 1 and 2: Resurrection and Awakening (Spinward Fringe, #1-2, Omnibus)

Date of publication: August 1st, 2008

Genre: Science fiction, Space Opera

Where you can find Spinward Fringe: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

This volume collects the first two novellas in the Spinward Fringe Series: Resurrection and Awakening. Captain Jacob Valance has no memory of his past. Left on a strange ship in an unfamiliar sector of the galaxy, he was forced to begin a new life. Years pass and in that time he’s earned a reputation as a man who can hunt down hardened criminals and go where others fear to tread. The crew of the Samson are caught up in the problems of their Captain as his past starts to catch up with him. Just as new allies start to fall in line old enemies come creeping out of the shadows, putting everyone at risk. While the crew struggles to deal with their own problems, Regent Galactic begins putting a plan in motion that will bring about the fourth fall of man and position their Corporation as the dominant power on the fringe. Their ambition and greed spell disaster for mankind. The Spinward Fringe Series follows after the First Light Chronicles, available in a collected Omnibus.

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StarToucher by C.J Odle

Startoucher

4 Stars

Publisher: Startoucher Ltd

Date of publication: February 17th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find StarToucher: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Will humanity survive being judged in a galactic court?
New Age Sci-Fi, a mystical and spiritual novel.

After 3.8 billion years, the alien creators of life on Earth return to evaluate the results of their experiment. One species is found to be an extreme danger to itself and others – Humanity. Evidence for the continuation of the species hangs by a thread. 

Jake Connolly, talented up and coming LA lawyer, has a hidden psychic side long suppressed. When a series of intense visionary experiences threaten to derail his life, he is dragged unwillingly towards mysterious events deep in the Mojave Desert. What he discovers there changes him forever, and will affect the lives of everyone on the planet. 

As the world watches its destiny unfold, humanity is forced to fight for its survival in a galactic court and justify its existence to far superior beings. 

My review:

I like science fiction. Something about aliens, space crafts, and the human race fascinates me. I would like to think that if aliens decided to come to Earth, there would be no mass riots or calls to shoot them down. But I am a realist. I know that people, as a whole, do not deal with things like that rationally. There would be mass riots. The leaders of all the countries would try to blow it out of the sky. When I got the request to review StarToucher, I did think that it would be one of those types of books. Even after I read the blurb. But, I was surprised. StarToucher is nothing that I thought it would be.

StarToucher’s storyline was original and a fresh look at how humanity began. I liked the fact that humanity began as an experiment and was monitored by aliens for centuries. I liked that the aliens found that humanity was an extreme danger to themselves and others in the galaxy. So the creators (I likened them to scientists) have a trial to see if humanity should be erased or allowed to continue.

The author did a great job of showcasing everything that is going on in the modern-day. He showed that humanity was doing so much harm to the Earth that its creators had to jump in to stop it. I loved it!!

The main character of StarToucher is a lawyer, Jake Connolly. I didn’t like him at first. He came across as cocky and way too sure of himself. As all lawyers do. When his visions started bothering him to the point he took a forced vacation, I started to see a different Jake. By the time he met Sarah and Genesis, he was almost there with the character transformation. By the time he was on the ship, he was transformed. I loved it. I love seeing a character change, for the better, in a book.

I thought that the author chose an eclectic group of people to represent the Earth. The President of the United States, the President of China, The Pope, a physicist, a philosopher, a shaman, a teenaged activist and a mother. A broad spectrum and each lived up to their stereotypes. I had to laugh because the President kept getting choked by the alien truth device. Typical politicians. Too bad there wasn’t one in real life…lol.

I am going to admit that I was surprised by the verdict and by what the aliens were going to do. I thought it was going to go the other way. I was also shocked by Jake, Sarah, and Genesis’s roles in that decision.

There is a twist in the plot towards the end. With what happened and what was revealed, I am hoping that there will be a book 2!!!

What I liked about StarToucher:

A) original storyline

B) great job of showcasing present-day issues

C) The eclectic group of people chosen to represent Earth

What I disliked about StarToucher:

A) POTUS. He couldn’t stop lying to aliens

B) Genesis. They blew the lid off of what was happening

C) Jake’s visions. My head hurt reading about them

I would give StarToucher an Older Teen rating. There are sexual situations but they are very vague. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings for StarToucher.

I would recommend StarToucher to family and friends. This is a book that I would reread.

I would like to thank the publisher for allowing me to read and review StarToucher.

All opinions stated in this review of StarToucher are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Starswept (Starswept: Book 1) by Mary Fan

Starswept (Starswept, #1)

5 Stars

Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Date of publication: August 29th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Series: Starswept

Starswept – Book 1

Wayward Stars – Book 2

Where you can find Starswept: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Some melodies reach across the stars.

In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

My review:

When I was approached to review Starswept, I was kind of “eh” about it. But a friend and fellow blogger, Kristin at Simply Enchanted Life, had reviewed it and she loved it. I trust her opinion when it comes to books, so I made the decision to review it. I am glad that I did because this book was fantastic.

Starswept takes place in the 2157 North Carolina. It did take me a while to realize that the book was set in North Carolina. I was so engrossed with Iris and Damiul’s romance that it didn’t register. It was only when the author makes a point of mentioning Charlotte, that my radar went off.

Iris was a gifted violist who, at the beginning of the book, more than anything wants her ranking to go up. She wants to attract an Adryil patron and be able to find her parents. She meets Damiul as he was running from security bots. He gives her a strange device and tells her not to tell anyone about it. It is soon after that she is able to see and hear him through telepathy. She is soon falling in love with Damiul even though he is hiding something from her. At the same time, she attracts an Adryil patron and is soon off to their planet. But, she comes to realize that what she knew about the Adryil race is not what she thought. There are truths revealed that will shatter her. Can she pull herself together to help the one person who needs it?

I liked Iris and I enjoyed watching her character growth throughout the book. She went from being a music-obsessed teenager desperate to attract a patron to a mature young woman who was able to roll with the punches. Her personality came off the pages. I also liked that she was a typical teenager. Well, as typical as a teenager could be while trying to outperform her peers. I couldn’t believe the pressure that she was put under to find a patron. Insane, knowing what I know now.

I am glad that Damiul was only shown through telepathy. At first, I wasn’t. I like my romantic characters to be together and interact like couples do. Having Damiul so far away and only so Iris could see him was excellent. What also added to his allure is that I didn’t know anything about him. He didn’t talk to Iris about his family. When things were revealed about him to Iris, I was right there with her being stunned.

Music is a huge part of this book. Everything revolved around it. From the school that Iris lived and trained at to going to Adryil. I am not an expert on musical instruments or even the type of music that a viola plays. But, I did my research while reading. If you want to hear a fantastic violist, google Nobuko Imai and watch a few videos of her playing. Beautiful!!!

The romance between Damiul and Iris was a slow burn. It was also different because he was only available to her through telepathy. I got caught up in their romance.

The end of Starswept was not what I expected. I will leave it at that. If you want to know more, read the book.

What I liked about Starswept:

A) Great storyline

B) Relatable characters

C) The music

What I disliked about Starswept:

A) The school

B) The insane pressure that Iris was under

C) Damiul only being available to Iris through telepathy

I would give Starswept a rating of Older Teen. There is no sex or sexual situations in this book. There is a couple of kisses but that’s it. There is some mild violence sprinkled throughout the book. There is also mild language.

There are trigger warnings in the book. Because these would be considered spoilers, I will white them out. Highlight if you want to read them. They are: slavery.

I would recommend Starswept to family and friends. I would give them a heads up about the trigger warning. This is a book that I would reread.

I would like to thank Snowy Wings Publishing for allowing me to read and review Starswept.

All opinions stated in this review of Starswept are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Hot and Badgered (The Honey Badgers: Book 1) by Shelly Laurenston

Hot and Badgered (The Honey Badgers, #1)

4 Stars

Publisher: Kensington Books, Kensington

Date of publication: March 27, 2018

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: 400

POV: 3rd person

Series: The Honey Badgers

Hot and Badgered – Book 1

Where you can find Hot and Badgered: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely, they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.
 
Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is if he can keep up . . .

Trigger Warning: None

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