Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (Witchlands book 1)

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a "witchery," a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safiya’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safiya and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and privateer) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. -

OK, so I’m going to do this book review differently. Truthwitch is the story of two best friends/partners-in-crime from opposite social classes. This story is EPIC! I cannot wait for the next book after that ending.

Iseult det Midenzi is a Threadwitch but she cannot see her own Threads or those of any other Threadwitch. She is of Nomatsi ancestry and is shunned by everyone she meets. Her mother sent her from the tribe and took on a new apprentice when it was apparent that Iseult’s powers weren’t as strong as they needed to be. She is unable to construct Threadstones for her tribe. She made her way to Venaza City, the capital of the Dalmotti Empire where she eventually meets her future best friend, Safi.

Safiya fon Hasstrel is a Truthwitch. The last recorded Truthwitch died a century earlier. Her magic allows her to determine truths from lies, reality from deception, just by having the person stand directly in front of her. If discovered, Safi’s magic would make her a political tool or a threat. A member of the Cartorran nobility, her title currently protects her. But being a domna, Safi is required at the Truce Summit. When a Bloodwitch latches onto Safi’s scent, a foreign prince catches her eye and an unexpected announcement is made, Safi and Iesult are soon running for their lives.

Visit Susan Dennard’s website.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (Passenger book 1)

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

New York City - Present Day

Etta Spencer is ready to debut as a concert soloist with the New York Philharmonic is in a month. Almost eighteen, her debut was delayed until she overcame her stage fright but her instructor Alice has continued putting it off. They have planned a soft opening at a private fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where her mother Rose works. She has devoted her life to playing the violin, including breaking up with her boyfriend to have more time to practice. Etta is literally friendless. Before she can take the stage, Etta overhears Rose and Alice arguing. Alice wants to once again delay Etta’s debut while Rose doesn’t. Bursting in, Etta stands up for herself and decides that she is tired of waiting and will play that night. Backstage, Etta doesn’t have time to warm up with the museum’s Stradivarius. Heading out onto the stage, she begins to play. As Etta plays, she hears a background noise that starts off as a murmur but instantly explodes into screams. She begins to falter her notes and wonders why no one is stopping her or seems to hear the horrible feedback. Etta didn’t realized that she has stopped until the woman in charge, Gail, comes out onto stage to ask if she is okay. She mumbles something about feedback but Gail remarks that there was none. She helps her off the stage and offers to get her some water. Another performer that night, Sophia, steps out of the green room and takes Etta from Gail. Etta tells Sophia that she is fine but Sophia disagrees. She says that she hears the noise too. Knowing now that she isn’t suffering from a recurrence of stage fright, Etta allows Sophia to drag her through the museum towards the sound. Even through the feedback, the two stop when they hear the deafening gunshot. Etta sees the blood before she notices the the crumpled body with a shock of white hair. Etta screams as she makes her way to Alice. Barely alive, Etta presses against the wound. Three men in tuxedos make there way towards them as Etta shouts for someone to call 911. She feels a slight touch on her hand and looks down at Alice. Alice’s eyes are shut as she says “...the old...familiar” She takes one last shallow breath before becoming still. Etta begins screaming as arms come around her, dragging her to her feet. Sophia is yelling in her ear that they have to go. They enter a brightly lit stairwell that Etta has to shield her eyes from. Here, the feedback/humming seems to be moving with the shimmering air at the stairwell landing. Sophia shoves Etta through the opening with a “sorry about this”. Etta realizes what is happening before she disappears from the museum. Etta awakes later but she is unsure exactly how much time has passed. She finds herself in what seems to be a wooden bunk bed with the smell of fish in the air. Coming to, she sees that her dress has been changed and a girl is sitting in the corner. It is Sophia from the museum. She is adamant that the two of them need to stay where they are. She panics, finds the door latch and opens it, only to be meet with by a thick cloud of smoke. Etta tries to feel her way forward when her foot catches on something and she falls. It is a man and she begins to apologize. Etta then sees the blood, gathers up her skirts and makes her way towards the source of light above her.

The Atlantic 1776

Nicholas Carter is working aboard the Challenger when the crew overtakes a British merchant vessel for the privateers, Lowe & Lowe Shipping. Unbeknownst to the rest of the crew, he and Captain Hall are secretly working for the Ironwood family. They have been hired to track and capture the two women who are on board the British ship. The women are to be brought to New York City by September 21st. Nicholas is leery of working for the family again for fear that they are just out for revenge. The Ironwoods owe Nicholas a debt from something that they had stolen from him and he plans to collect. This job is a quicker way of making the needed money for his own ship. Captain Hall has tried to persuade Messieurs Lowe to allow him to become a captain of one of their ships but Nicholas knows that the color of his skin is holding him back. Nicholas informs Captain Hall that the women are down in the cargo hold. They are still trying to secure the ship when a woman other than Sophia, who Nicholas knew would be on the ship, comes up from below. Nicholas is taken aback by her appearance. In the melee, the ship’s mast breaks and everyone must scatter. Nicholas sees the woman fall overboard. Running to the side, he watches her sink. He dives in and is able to cut her free from her dress and the netting she is tangled up in. Surfacing, Nicholas sees that she isn’t breathing. On deck, the surgeon’s mate looks after her. He is concerned that the mate is too inexperienced to help her. Captain Hall tries to calm him down. Soon, she is breathing again. The girl turns out to be Etta Spencer.

Etta takes a look at her surroundings, she slowly figures out that she isn’t in New York or present day. The older of the two men in front of her reassures her not to be afraid. Looking at the younger one, she realizes that he is the one who pulled her out of the water. Etta asks them if they are pirates. Captain Hall tells her that they are scoundrels, legal pirates, and explains that her ship has been captured by them and will be taken back to the United States. They introduce themselves as Captain Nathaniel Hall and Nicholas Carter. Before she can fully reply, they hear Sophia calling for Henrietta. She corrects her by introducing herself as Etta Spencer. Sophia comes running to them. Confused by what’s going on, with one look at Sophia, Etta knows not to say anything. Captain Hall asks for Sophia’s name and she says, “Sophia Iron---erm, Spencer” and Etta is her sister. Nicholas gives her a wry smile and remarks that he sees the resemblance. Etta catches Sophia’s face when she notices Nicholas for the first time. Captain Hall asks the surgeon’s mate for the name of the ship they just captured. The Ardent, he replies. Sophia asks where Captain Millbrook is. The surgeon’s mate states that he was killed and Hall remarks that it seems Nicholas’ job just became easier. Looking at Etta, Nicholas asks if they would like to be escorted back to their cabin and Sophia immediately answers yes. Down below, Nicholas tells them where they can and cannot go. It doesn’t take long before Nicholas and Sophia are trading barbs. Soon, Etta realizes Sophia and Nicholas know one another. She asks if he playing servant today and he retorts by stating that she knew her ship would be intercepted. Etta is floored. Sophia says that grandfather must be getting senile if he was trusting him. Nichols fired back that he must be desperate to be using her. He is charged with taking her to New York. To avoid questions, their acquaintance shouldn't be known by the other men on the ship. Sophia asks what the others would think if they knew the truth. Nicholas lashes out and tells Miss Ironwood that she can trash him all that she wants but she will live to regret it if she threatens his livelihood. Etta takes note of the exchange.

Alone with Sophia, Etta demands some answers. Sophia in turn warns her to be careful what she does and says. Trading off questions, Sophia tells her that she has the ability to travel through time, just like her family and a few others. Etta’s world begins to unravel as she finds out that her mother is quite infamous over her disappearance. She also doesn't know about Sophia's grandfather, Cyrus Ironwood. She furthers explains the schematics of traveling. At the end, Sophia tells Etta that until they arrive in New York, she doesn't need to draw any attention to herself. Etta isn't ready for Sophia to tell her what she will or will not do.

Why did Etta’s mother keep her in the dark about their ability to travel? What does Cyrus Ironwood want to find Etta’s mother? What was Alice's role? Who is the Ironwood family? How do Sophia and Nicholas know one another? Why was Nichols tasked with bringing the two girls to New York? How is Nicholas connected to the Ironwoods? Can Etta find a way back to present day? What happens when Etta ignores Sophia's directive to stay “hidden” until they reach New York?

Book two in the Passenger series, Wayfarer, is due out in 2017.

Visit Alexandra Bracken’s website.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin (Wolf By Wolf book 1)

“Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death.”

“The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele’s twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?” - taken from

Book two will be published in 2016.

Visit Ryan Graudin’s website.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, These Broken Stars and  This Shattered World, Stop! I don’t want to ruin this series for you. Even though two new characters are introduced, the storyline continues from the first two books.

Please visit the Recaptains blog in you need a refresher on the first book in the series.
Please visit the Recaptains blog in you need a refresher on the second book in the series.

“A year ago Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now-infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness LaRoux Industries’ corruption. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux where the only survivors of the Icarus shipwreck, forced to live a double life after their rescue.  

Now, at the center of the galaxy on Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players in the fight against LRI.” - front flap.

Roderick LaRoux is doing damage control in an attempt to make the galaxy forget the accusations directed at him in the Avon broadcast. As part of his outreach program, he has opened his holosuite, which takes up an entire floor, to the public for a minimal fee. It is a place that provides a fun, safe setting for people and their children to have fun. It is here that Corinth Against Tyranny plans to hold its latest protest.

Seventeen-year-old Sophia Quinn has spent the past year trying to get close to Roderick LaRoux. While waiting, Sophia catches a boy not much older than herself, staring at her. He has a lapscreen plugged into a data port. What throws her for a loop is the fact that he was wearing a LaRoux Industries shirt. Sophia tries to calm her nerves and the deflect any superstition by flirting with him. Her ploy works; he winks and grins. The boy pushes a button on his lapscreen and a holographic bird sweeps across and then freezes mid air. Suddenly, the entire holosuite vanishes and everyone finds themselves in a stark, white room. Sofia sees that people are looking around confused and realizes that it wasn't planned by the protesters. Before she can make her escape, something catches her eye. Sofia sees the boy remove a chip from the lapscreen and place it in his pocket. He gets up and eases into the security camera’s blind spot. He takes off his LaRoux Industries shirt and turns it inside out to reveal a shirt that matches the current fashion trend. He instantly blends into the crowd and she realizes that he is not with the protesters.

A voice comes over the loudspeakers alerting the crowd that a security breach has been detected. Security officers are covering all of the exits and the crowd is asked to cooperate. Sophia knows that her concealed genetag will not pass inspection and that she will be seen as a border planet insurgent and the cover she has worked so hard for will be blown. She looks for another escape route and a possible diversion. She sees the boy and decides that his fake uniform will keep the attention away from her. Sofia whispers to the guard that the boy over there needs help. Before she can slip out of the door, the guard wants her to show him and signals for more help. Stuck, she does the only thing she can. He is her fiance and stress makes his condition worse. The guard comments that the two of them were just fine a moment ago. They can wait. She pleads some and they want to call for a medtech, but she is still unable to escape. Suddenly, the boy drops to the ground and begins convulsing. The guards panic and order her to do something. Now, Sofia begins to panic when it seems that his condition worsens. Just then, the strange ring that the projectors had concealed comes to life as it begins to light up. Everyone in the room becomes entranced by it, including the guards. The boy puts his hand on her own, gets her attention and asks her when the wedding will be. Sofia helps him up. She realizes that they both want the same thing, to make their escape. Before they can leave, a man drops to the floor with his eyes glazed over. Sofia is taken back to the night on the military base in Avon where her father strapped on a bomb. Everyone in the holosuite has that same dead look in their eyes.

Gideon Marchant knows that he should stay out of trouble but the girl with dimples is too hard to resist. He also  isn't buying her story about the reason she was at the holosuite. Gideon is disappointed that he is leaving LaRoux Industries without any new information on Commander Antie Towers. While Gideon works on a distraction, he asks Sofia for her name. Alexis, she answers and he replies with his but she calls him out on using a newscaster’s name. He asks her if they are going to split up once his distraction starts and she initially says yes. But she does have an access card for the fire stairs. The alarm sounds and she tells him that he is an idiot. They need to leave through the stairwell. Gideon tells her that everyone will be heading away from the fire, allowing them clear access.

As the two are heading for the stairwell, a loud scream can be heard over the shrieking alarms from the hollow sweet. The screen is stopped by the one of a laser weapon. Then look at one another. Gideon thinks he knows what was happening in that room but one look at dimples and he says that her mask has slipped. She knows what is coming and they head on down the hall. After 15 minutes of walking, they stop at an exit sign guarded but what looks like a guy new to the  job. Sophia quickly swipes hair dye to streak her hair and tells him to wait. Gideon knows that he is seeing a real professional at work. He turns his shirt back out to show the LRI logo. Hysterical, she finally gets the guard to run down the hall looking for a man who pulled a gun on her. Gideon joins her and they enter the emergency stairwell.

Just before they can reach the ground level, three security guards come through the door. Gideon steps out of their hiding spot and hopes that his uniform will help them out. Alexis stays behind him and offers up that they are maintenance and doing a manual check of some of the alarms. The guards go back down the stairs. Just when they think that they are in the clear, the guards order them to stop. Sophia opens the door and drags Gideon with her. As they are closing the door, he hears the sound of a laser gun before feeling a sharp pain in his arm.

Sofia knows that they need to make a quick getaway. She waits for a taxi with a younger man driving so that she can work for a free fare. Finding her mark, she isn't happy that Gideon isn't playing along. The cabbie drives them to the rich part of the city. Sofia sees her plan disintegrating when the cabbie wants her to wait while her “brother” goes to get their aunt’s money. Sophia realizes that time is of the essence when she sees the severity of Gideon’s wound. Going for the maximum shock value, she kisses her “brother” and unlock the doors while the cabbie watches. The two are able to make their escape and head to her apartment.

Gideon knows that Alexis's name isn't Kristina either when the doorman calls her that. He is shocked when they arrive at the penthouse apartment. She goes to gather a first aid kit and he jokingly asks if she is really Lilac LaRoux. He knows she isn't by the locks of her hair and the fact that she knows how to treat his wound. After she is done, she tells Gideon he can either stay or leave but she is going to wash the dye out of her hair. He know that the two of them have to talk about what just happened. They are going to be hunted down for what they know. Gideon admits that he has told her his real name. Alexis is really her middle name but that is all she will tell him. The two finally talk about the lighted ring in the room and how the people reacted to it. He is desperate to find Towers. Alexis says that she has seen people act that way before, like husks, but she won't tell him where.  Knowing all the he has learned since Lilac asked him for security assistance, he deduces that she is from Avon. He doesn't tell her the entire truth about the ring but thinks that the two of them should work together since they are both after info on LRI.  She refuses and Gideon says that he is in her debt and will leave her a way to contact him. He secretly hopes that she will want to work together in the future. Gideon asks her if she has ever heard of the Knave of Hearts. Sofia goes still. She asked if he works for him and why he's looking into LRI. Sofia also asks Gideon not to mention her name to the Knave. He realizes that she is terrified of his online persona. Instead, he sets her up with a private email link that will only come to him. As he is leaving, Sofia asks Gideon if she can trust him. He grins and says, “Take a bullet for you twice, if I have to.”

Will Sofia contact Gideon for help? How does he uncover her true identity? What exactly is he doing for Lilac LaRoux? How will Sofia text when she discovers who the Knave of Hearts is? How deep does Roderick LaRoux deceptions go? What does the ring do that Sofia saw Avon and Corinth? Will either of their covers be blown? Can Lilac and Tarver bring down her father and LRI? What have Flynn and Lee been up to? How do the three couples from the Starbound trilogy finally come together?

Fans of the Starbound trilogy will be eager to see how the story ends.

Visit Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s website.