ARC Review--The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?


I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

The Empress is the highly anticipated sequel to S.J. Kincaid’s The Diabolic and what a whirlwind of read that was! It has the same high stakes and fast paced plot that will leave your head spinning by the end! I was once again a little befuddled with some of the worldviews, the space, the politics, all that new vocabulary. But as I was expecting it this time, it wasn’t as hard to get through.

Nemesis and Tyrus have their work cut out for them. Many of Tyrus’ subjects still oppose to having a Diabolic as an empress. She’s fights off numerous assassination attempts every week. The most pressing problem is their enemies and how relentless they are in their attempts to overthrow Tyrus’ reign. But Pasus has other plans in mind. Political intrigue takes over much of the plot in this one. Backstabbing and plotting are all over the place. Tyrus and Nemesis know they will need more help on their side if they ever hope to be rid of Pasus once and for all. So they leave to go find the Interdict and hope that he may grant Nemesis personhood in hopes of quelling the protests of a Diabolic married to the emperor.

Naturally, things don’t go as planned. There was a lot more going on in this one than we saw in the previous book, at least I thought so. And this one is even shorter than its predecessor! Yet it’s jam packed with so many twists and turns! Seriously, I feel as if I might have reader’s whiplash! But in a weird way, it was kind of thrilling!

True, I suffered from bouts of confusion again. We get deeper into the politics in this one. I have never been a fan of politics in any scope, so you can imagine how trying it was for me to get through some of these moments. Then add in some time-warp traveling or whatnot and you can pretty much color me confused in some parts of this one. Despite all that though, I did still really like this one. Outside of the politics portion, you once again have these amazing characters that you watch grown and change and totally surprise you in so many ways!

This book had its surprises too! Though I won’t get into that! But just know that the last quarter of the book or so was chock full of them! Every time I thought Kincaid had me shock, she would proceed to shock me further! It was unreal!

One thing I did notice that was missing was the romance between Tyrus and Nemesis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not totally gone. But with all the chaos that surrounds them, finding time for a romantic interlude was a lot harder than you’d think! The stolen moments were sweet though. But I kind of missed “them” overall. It was like they hardly had time to be together together anymore. And yes, I meant the double phrase there! Spell check did not like that either!

I found that The Empress was a very character driven novel as was The Diabolic. While things may get overly complicated plot wise, I find I still love and hate these characters. I won’t get into where they all fall under. But they are still very real, very complicated people.

Reading The Empress totally spun my head all around! I have no idea what to expect next! Just when I thought I had things figured out, Kincaid surprises me once again! If you were a fan at all of The Diabolic, I highly recommend continuing the story! The wait for the next book very well might be disastrous! I’ll just let you think on that.


Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars—again with the minor takedown on rating. Still a GOOD read! Slightly better than good even! But all the politics and added time leaps kind of spun my head in the wrong direction. Not the good head spin I’ll tell you. Still it was a most fascinating read and I look forward to the conclusion!


The Empress releases October 31, 2017




 

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.


Last Week I Read:

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas (4.5 stars)
Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast (5 stars)
The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari (4 stars)


Currently Reading:

The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh M. O'Brien


What I Plan to Read this Week:

 The Keep of Ages by Caragh M. O'Brien


Other Posts of Interest:







 

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.


This was actually a rather calm week in the book world, at least for me! I had no new releases or preorders come in, but I did get a contest win of any book that was ever released in September from the 2017 Discussion Challenge!


My choice was:


 Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel


THANK YOU Nicole!!



And that was it for me! What did you all get?







Review--The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.



If you’re looking for a cute, quirky, and magical read then you will find just that in Crystal Cestari’s The Best Kind of Magic! I wasn’t too sure of this read at first, it didn’t exactly scream paranormal despite being filled with more than a few paranormal characters. I was really taken by surprise how much I was enjoying it! It’s a bit cheesy in some aspects, but come on, who doesn’t love cheese?!

Amber is the daughter of a very powerful witch, but sadly, magic seems to have skipped a generation. Instead of being a witch, Amber is a matchmaker, which is basically considered the bottom of the totem pole in the magical realm. By looking into your eyes, Amber is able to see who your true love is. She doesn’t generally know their names and whatnot, just sees their image. And of course, she’s not able to see her own future love.

Then one day, Charlie, the son of the mayor of Chicago comes to Amber with a problem. His father’s girlfriend and possibly-soon-to-be fiancĂ©e is missing. While he was never very fond of her himself, he mostly wants Amber to help him find her and get her to stay away from his dad. He thinks she’s just a gold-digger and doesn’t really love his father. Naturally, when Amber sees the mayor—who also happens to be her mother’s childhood friend—she sees who he’s meant to be with and when she sees a picture of Cassandra (the missing girlfriend) she knows it’s not her.

Soon the two begin the search for Cassandra, though Charlie would rather she stay gone. And all the while, a friendship starts to form between Amber and Charlie. They didn’t really grow up together beyond the early years despite their parents’ friendship. And naturally, soon something more begins to develop. Though Amber has seen who Charlie will end up with, and it’s not her. She isn’t sure if she should let herself feel for Charlie because she knows it won’t end happily ever after for them. She’s never been wrong before with her matchmaking skills, but she wishes she could be just once.

This was such a cute little read! I can’t believe I’m calling it cute even. I truly thought I wouldn’t like this one as much as I did! When people categorize a book as “magical realism” I always get conflicting thoughts, wondering if it will be more magical or more contemporary like. It’s a phrase that truly confuses me to say the least! Lol! I mean, it is pretty contradictory! But Chicago is like any other version of Chicago I’ve read, there are supernatural beings living among us, we just don’t realize it! So naturally, in this world, the supernaturals haven’t quite come out of the closet yet, but there’s possible stirrings of more things to come…unless I’m totally making something from nothing!

The mystery wasn’t as strong in this one as I would’ve thought. When you learn that “the missing” isn’t really the best of people, you start to make some theories on that and when you’re proven somewhat right, it becomes obvious why this wasn’t as drawn out. Cassandra wasn’t really much of a player in this story for that matter either. I mean we get some details on her and whatnot, but I feel like she’s just a fleeting character at this point!

The other characters though were far more intriguing! There’s Amani, who is Amber’s best friend and a precog, meaning she can see the future. She’s truly the best of friends too, for there are students who are just downright snotty to her and Amber, and Amani lets them verbally have it! I love this girl! Then of course we have Charlie, who’s just plain old human without any powers and he gets introduced to the magical world living right beside him. It was kind of amazing how open he was. I liked that he was the boy the next door type of sweetness!

The romance was a little hard for me to get into. I understood Amber’s struggles. She knows who Charlie is meant to be with and pursuing a relationship is bound to end in heartbreak. Her powers don’t let her know exactly when Charlie will meet his One True Love, she just sees their Happily Ever After. But yet at the same time, I can’t help but root for Amber to go for it! She deserves happiness as well as all her clients.

The Best Kind of Magic was a sweet and magical read! The added embellishments of supernatural beings in the story were a most divine addition! Things end with a kind of calm and you think there just might be some happy endings all around. But Crystal has added in some little hints to bigger question, bigger possibilities that haven’t quite been addressed yet. I cannot wait to see what the next installment will entail for this is a series I will definitely be sticking with!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars




 

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict
 
 
 This week's question is: Off the book topic - What is your favorite scary movie? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
 
 
 
MY ANSWER: Oohh...I don't do scary movies! Lol! They are the things that give me nightmares! I saw a Freddy Kruger movie when I was wayyyyy too young because someone wasn't being a responsible adult. 

But yeah. Nope. Don't do those!

I will say though, that I do enjoy the classic horror movies! ie: The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, The Wolfman...all those black and white movies! I like those, mostly because they are more comical than anything!






Random Thursday

Here are a few more random questions answered from Disney Facts Revealed: Answers to Fans' Curious Questions by Dave Smith! Next week we'll move into questions regarding Disneyland!


(image borrowed from Pintrest)
Apparently in Tokyo Disney Resort, there was merchandise that was basically of a married Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It was only ever sold in Tokyo, for apparently in the US Disney doesn't acknowledge that they are "married", probably just "dating". Though this picture of a pin I found makes me wonder where it came from! And there have been other sculpture like things that have a married Mickey and Minnie. So again, not sure how accurate this is.


(image borrowed from Daily Motion)
The animated short Get a Horse!? from 2013 is reminiscent of the the older cartoons from the beginning stages of Mickey Mouse. Apparently when cars first started coming out, they were a little more faulty and prone to breaking down. Farmers would ride by on the horses and tell them to "Get a horse!" since obviously a horse can't break down (in theory). And since this cartoon has Mickey and his horse, Horace, facing down Pete in his car, it was an apt title!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Review--Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival depends on trusting each other…



Holy. Cow. Zero Repeat Forever is a book that will take an effect on your feelings! It was one of the most impactful books I’ve read in a while! G.S. Prendergast really knows how to tell a marvelous and engaging tale! This one will grip you tight and not let go until its very end and all I can say is that I need a sequel asap!

This book is being likened to The 5th Wave and I totally see it now. Here we will follow Raven and Eighth. Raven is our human girl who gets caught up in a War of the Worlds type battle with her remaining friends and the aliens that have invaded their world. Though we never really use the term alien, but Nahx which was coined by a Russian gamer, so what it actually means I have no idea! These Nahx have come to Earth and are firing darts at people that essentially kill them, causing their blood to run a grayish color. Raven has just lost her boyfriend to one of these Nahx and their darts and is grieving, she vows to find the Nahx that killed him and return the favor.

Then we have who we know as Eighth and it becomes clear that he is one of these Nahx. The Nahx had always traveled in pairs and his “partner” was recently killed. Eighth is not quite normal when it comes to Nahx for when a chance encounter with Raven leaves her perfectly alive, well we know there’s just something different about this Nahx guy.

Raven and her friends are just trying to survive. Raven would like to try to find her parents who had been going on a vacation along the coast, there’s a chance they might be alive. But the group of camp counselors she was training with for a summer camp before all hell broke loose, decide it might be better to try to find more survivors and band together.

Then Raven gets seriously hurt and her rescuer turns out to be none other than Eighth. And this is when things start to take a turn. Whatever it’s for better or worse will soon be revealed.

Just wow. This book! I was not expecting to be so captivated by it! But pretty much from the moment I started it, I couldn’t put it down. The words were just flowing off the pages as I read and I soon found myself crossing beyond the halfway point in the first day and this is a 483 page book!

The relationship between Raven and Eighth was so complex. While all the other Nahx are firing these darts at humans with no prejudice on who that human is, Eighth doesn’t really want to dart anyone. True, he may have darted some before he crossed paths with Raven, but from the moment he first met her, saw her, he no longer wanted to continue his mission.

It’s hard to say whether this was something like romance or Stockholm Syndrome. While it seemed like Eighth might have been developing feelings he didn’t understand for Raven, Raven wasn’t necessarily falling head over heels for Eighth. In fact there were times when she flat out hated him. Then there were times when she thought she almost understood him. It was a tremulous bond that was forming between these two. I think it was almost sweeter that it wasn’t a more traditional romance.

The Nahx are all suited up while on Earth. Their body armor covers them from head to foot, so you really don’t even know who might be male or female or if they even have genders. They do apparently have genders and Eighth is a boy. His thought processes were a bit confusing…if that makes sense. He seemed to be somewhat intelligent, yet he was considered a failure as a Nahx and he’s not human, but he has very human ways of thinking. It was definitely an interesting piece of the puzzle that was the Nahx.

The ending…oh boy that ending! While I am in a fit of emotions as I’m reading the last two chapters, a lot of startling things come to fore. And then…my mind was blown! There are still many pertinent questions to be answered and I am leaning towards the idea that this might be a duology. There’s nothing online that I can find that verifies this, so it will be a mess of emotions as I await something concrete! But yes, this was basically one of the most amazing and incredible books I’ve read this year! If you’re looking for a story filled with adventure, suspense, a story that will leave you breathless, then be sure to pick up a copy of Zero Repeat Forever! This book is pure magic!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars 





 

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog post by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights releases we're eagerly awaiting.


In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.
  


While I may have already read this one, I still can't wait to own my finished copy! Though I REALLY wish I would've had time for a series re-read!


PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
GENRE: Mystery YA--still not sure what we categorized this as! It's definitely mysterious!
RELEASE DATE: November 7, 2017





Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker.


Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page

3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.



"Depending on who you ask, Josephine Leeds is still here, walking up and down Sparrow Hill, her white nightdress bloody and filthy at the hem. People call her the Red Woman, and they say she can only be spotted at night.

That's why we're here. To see for ourselves." p 10










 


TITLE: Little Monsters
AUTHOR: Kara Thomas
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
GENRE: Thriller YA
RELEASE DATE: July 25, 2017




Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.



This week's topic is: Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned in Books


*in no particular order 
**also note, I sooooo cannot remember the food mentioned in books! I literally came up with three exact answers, the rest are just general foods that make me hungry when they're mentioned in books no matter what time I'm reading said book! LOL!
***OMG, writing this post before dinner was sooo not a good idea, because I'm starving halfway through these items!


10. CHOCOLATE FROGS, CAULDRON CAKES, BUTTERBEER...the list goes on and on--basically all the delicious treats mentioned in Harry Potter get my mouth watering! Luckily with my trip to Harry Potter World last year, I was able to finally truly experience some of them!
9. CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES--who could forget when Daemon had a cookie in his mouth to offer Katy? And please forgive me if I picked the "wrong" cover, I had a mind blank when it came to which book precisely this happened in!
8. LICORICE--I admit, I like licorice! Twizzlers is the only strawberry flavored one I eat, but when it comes to rope, I prefer cherry! I'm just weird like that!


7. PIZZA--I love pizza! So if the characters are eating it, I'm usually craving it!
6. PASTA--you'd think I was Italian or something with all my love of their foods, but nope! 
5. BREAD--the good kind, like French bread! Nice and crusty on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside! I could just eat bread and butter for dinner!


4. CHIPS AND SALSA--love me some chips and salsa! I know there have been books where the characters go to a Mexican restaurant and start eating these...which usually is in an adult book.
3. MILKSHAKES--honestly can't remember the last book that had one of these, but yeah I love a good milkshake!
2. PB&J--another one I can't remember when I last read about! Possibly peanut butter sandwiches and I'm thinking to the character, you forgot the jelly!!




1. REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS--have these been in a book? I really can't recall, but including it here for candy's sake! 






Review--Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.


Kara Thomas’ Little Monsters was yet another spine-tingling and chilling thriller! I truly enjoyed how twisted the mystery became! The ending was yet another shocker and one I didn’t see coming at all!

Kacey has had a rough go of it lately what with her family life with her mom and whatever current douche of a boyfriend she’s dating. So when she goes to live with the father she didn’t even know existed, it’s a chance for a fresh start. She’s made friends with Bailey and Jade, who are slightly more wild child like then herself, but the three of them just seem to click.

Then one day, Bailey completely shuts Kacey out. Kacey was supposed to go to a party with them, but they never showed to pick her up. Then the next day, Bailey is just gone.  Soon the entire town is scouring the streets and all the nooks and crannies trying to find a trace of Bailey. As the days go by, everyone begins to think the worst. And it’s not long before Kacey starts to notice everyone giving her the side-eye and she doesn’t know what to make of it.

This mystery was truly twisted! I mean, I thought The Darkest Corners got twisted towards the end, but this one was just twisted all over the place. Naturally, Kacey begins to do a little digging on her own. She suspects Bailey’s old flame of one-time thing, Cliff, but the police barely look into him as his father gives him an alibi. But then things just keep getting worse and worse as new bits of evidence are found and Kacey begins to wonder what really happened to Bailey. And if it’s possible if she knows who the killer is as well.

It’s always hard to discuss mysteries I feel like. I don’t want to get too into the plot and reveal something that ignites a shock when reading! What I did find interesting was the occasional chapter that was a journal entry from Bailey. It really gives you a better idea of her character and you see what kind of person she truly is rather than what is shown from Kacey’s memories. It’s quite disturbing.

Like with Kara’s previous book, the pacing to this one is a little bit slower than what I might prefer, but again I see it as a necessity. The plot focuses on the disappearance of Bailey and having our main character trying to do her own investigation of it would definitely slow things down. Over the course of things we get to see some good character development. Kacey lives with her father and his wife and children. Kacey has a rather decent relationship going on with her stepbrother who she is close to in age and then there’s her younger half-sister who she feels a kinship with as well. Kacey has had a rough go of family life so it was yet another interesting thing to see her adjust to a more normal family life. It was like she didn’t know what to do with the genuine niceness of her newly found family members.

The whodunit to this one was truly surprising! I was sure I knew the answer, but of course I was proven wrong once again! Though the depth of it all was truly disturbing! It was so dark and kind of sent a chill down my back. It makes you realize that some people truly are monstrous, hence the title I guess!

Little Monsters was a truly spine-tingling mystery that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could! I didn’t expect to finish it as quickly as I did but that’s always a marker for a great read when it’s one you realize you can’t put down! Thrillers are truly terrifying kinds of reads for the evil villain within is always the last person you would suspect and they are always, human. Which again, makes me think the title to this one is so apt! We already know that there are no vampire like monsters in this one…ghosts are another story though! Lol.

Now is the perfect time of year to give Little Monsters a read, just be sure to leave a light on before going to sleep…


Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars 




 

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.


Last Week I Read:

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (5 stars)
The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood (2 stars)
The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (4 stars)


Currently Reading:

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas


What I Plan to Read this Week:

Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast


Other Posts of Interest:






 

And the Winner is...

Time to announce the winner of the SIGNED copy of The Language of Thorns! And the winner is...




ERICA ROBYN!! 


Congrats!! I've emailed the winner and she will have 48 hours to respond or else a new winner will have to be chosen! Thanks again to all who entered!