Heart of Thorns book cover

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix Blog Tour | Review, Fav Quotes, & Giveaway!

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix Blog Tour | Review, Fav Quotes, & Giveaway!Sanctuary by Caryn Lix
Published by Simon Pulse on July 24, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Pages: 480
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

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My thoughts

I almost gave up on Sanctuary. The first 90 (give or take) pages gave us a great rundown on Kenzie’s world: how the society worked, which groups were in power, and why the ship, Sanctuary was created; but very little action. Just when I was close to marking this book as DNF – non-stop action kicked in – and I was hooked! 

Kenzie was a complex character. She was raised to believe that any individual with supernatural abilities was dangerous, and that it was a great honor to work, even die for Omnistellar, the most powerful corporation in the world that kept teen supes incarcerated. When Sanctuary was breached, and Kenzie was forced to team up with the teens for her own survival, she started to lose her loyalty and faith towards Omnistellar. The teens weren’t as non-human as she was led to believe. I admired Kenzie, because she was incredibly brave and compassionate. She couldn’t stand to see anyone in pain, and regardless of her upbringing, didn’t hesitate in helping and protecting the teens.

The setting was deliciously eerie. From the moment we met Kenzie, and the other guards on Sanctuary, I feared for them. Even though there was an advanced AI system monitoring and controlling the prison cells, the guards were seriously outnumbered by the “dangerous” teens. The story got even more nail-bitey when teens started disappearing, and strange creatures started roaming the halls. As promised, this book was full of suspense, thrill, and danger, and gave me major goosebumps.

Sanctuary was intense and shocking, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it. There was a big cliffhanger at the end of the book, and I really hope we get at least two sequels, because I think there’s a lot more story to tell. There’s also many characters I want to get to know better.


A few of my favorite quotes

I tucked myself behind him and drew my strength from his hand against my back, and just for one damn second, I didn’t let myself think. It was maybe the most freeing experience of my life.

There was a protective quality to his hold, as if he could somehow keep me safe if he just made me small enough.

We might be foolish. We might even be going to our deaths. But at least we were doing it together.


About the author

Caryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day.

When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta.


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Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett | Zero info-dump

Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett | Zero info-dumpOnyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett
Published by HarperAudio on May 15, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Purchase
Goodreads
four-half-stars

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.


I finished Onyx and Ivory in one day, because it was sooo good.
Why was it sooo good? Well…

Zero info-dump. This book introduces us to many territories, characters, and types of magic, all of which are easy to keep straight, because of the gradual introductions through casual and natural dialogue.

I was duped. I really liked the daydrake mystery, because the orchestrator of the attacks was not who I was expecting.

A great cast of characters. I liked all the characters in this book, especially Dal, because he reminded me of my favorite Shatter Me character, Kenji. Dal’s that awesome friend who always has your back. He also tells it like it is. If you’re being a jerk, he’s gonna call you out on it. Like Kenji, Dal will also do it in a funny and sarcastic way. There were a few other characters like Signe, who I wanted to know more about, but didn’t get the opportunity to, because she wasn’t fleshed out enough. Hopefully in the book(s) to come, she and the others will be.

A romance worth rooting for. Kate and Corwin had great chemistry, a by-product of their constant witty, funny, and swoon-y banter. I also adore romances that start with friendship, and then develop into something more, so I was team #Korwin from the beginning.

I really enjoyed Onyx and Ivory, and I hope that book two is just as good. I also hope that we get a little more Kate, and a little less Corwin in book two. I liked Corwin well enough, but sometimes his chapters dragged, and I was more interested in knowing what Kate was up to.

 

four-half-stars
Heart of Thorns book cover

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry | A spicy romance

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry | A spicy romanceNowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1) by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Goodreads
four-half-stars

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.


This book surprised me. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would! 

I’m glad I took a chance. When I read the description for this book, and saw Motorcycle gangs, I was like – eh, no thanks. Then I saw forbidden romance, and I was like – heck yeah, let’s do this.

Bad Lauren. I’m ashamed to say that this is my first McGarry book. But believe me, it’s not going to be my last. Now I know why so many readers love this author.

Real characters. All the characters in this book were complicated and felt so real. They all had their own issues to work through, and I enjoyed following them on their personal journeys.

The MCs had great chemistry. I immediately loved Emily and Oz because of the zingers they shot back-and-forth. From the moment they met, there was  a lot of sexual tension, and it was agonizing waiting for them to acknowledge their strong attraction.

I’m a hungry reader. This is yet again, another book I started listening to, and then switched to reading, because I wanted to devour it quicker than the narrator allowed me to.

I plan on reading the rest of the books in this series eventually, I just don’t know when, because my TBR is huuuge. I’m sure my fellow bloggers can relate. #thestruggleisreal

four-half-stars
Heart of Thorns book cover

Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga Blog Tour | Review, Fav Quotes, & Giveaway!

Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga Blog Tour | Review, Fav Quotes, & Giveaway!Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga
Published by Entangled Teen on July 3, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that.

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My thoughts

Kiss of the Royal surprised me. At first the book’s cover and description didn’t grab me, so I passed over it. I’m so glad I ended up going back for a second glance, because it turned out to be one of my favorite 2018 reads!

Goblins and griffins and wraiths oh my! Kiss of the Royal had a great, new magical setting, with a lot of evil creatures, new forms of magic (I.E. magical kisses), and original mythology.

A world that I wouldn’t want to live in. Ivy’s been conditioned into thinking that love doesn’t exist, only lust. She and the rest of the population are expected to produce children with specific people, at specific times, in order to breed the best and strongest soldiers. Kiss of the Royal reminded me of the The Handmaid’s Tale, because of the disturbing, oppresive society that controlled procreation.

Zach stole my heart. He’s not only goofy (knocking things over), and hilarious (constantly cracking jokes), he’s also incredibly passionate. He believes in true love and marriage, two things that are outlawed in his world. Even though being a romantic and preaching about it, can lead to a death sentence, Zach doesn’t hide who he is and what he believes in. I was scared and impressed by his refusal to back down.

Digestion problems. The one issue I had with Kiss of the Royal, was the info dump that happened in the beginning of the book. Instead of a slow introduction, we’re tossed headfirst into Ivy’s world, expected to easily grasp how it works, the creatures, magic, laws, and mythology.  It took about 50 pages before I was able to smoothly follow along. I’m so  glad I stuck it out too, because this book was worth it.

I’m still hungry. I was devastated when I realized this was a standalone book. Even though the story wrapped up nicely, I can’t help but crave more Ivy and Zach, one of my favorite 2018 couples.

Magic spells, sword fights, terrifying creatures, lots of romantic swoon – this book has it all! 


A few of my favorite quotes

An icy ball of fear weighed in my gut. It was so cold I thought it would freeze my insides. But at the same time, something much more powerful burned inside me. In my chest, melting that block of ice, were flames fueled by anger and passion.

Logically, I knew it was a good plan, but it didn’t feel like an evaluation or a test. It felt like a competition for me. And I didn’t like being viewed as a prize to be won.

Isn’t the irony hilarious? The girl I love begging me to kiss her everyday, and I have to refuse. And I have to. Not just for my own beliefs and this golden theory, but for my own sanity. Because a kiss would mean nothing to you, while it meant everything to me.


About the author

Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.


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four-half-stars
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Love Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz |Blog Tour| Review & Giveaway

Love Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz |Blog Tour| Review & GiveawayLove Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz
Published by Swoon Reads on June 19, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

When Hailey Brown is removed from her home and put into foster care, all she wants is a safe, comfortable place where she can finish school and move on with her life. It’s not easy adjusting to a new school and a new life, but Mr. and Mrs. Campbell and their teenage son, Brad, welcome Hailey with open arms.

As Hailey begins to adjust to her new life, she and Brad grow closer. For the first time, Hailey feels like she might have a real shot at a future. Soon, however, Hailey realizes her relationship with Brad has crossed the line from friendship into something more. But being with Brad would mean giving up the perfect life that Hailey has waited so long to have.

Can Hailey and Brad resist the feelings that are developing between them—or will they risk it all to be together?

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My thoughts

This book was glued to my hands. On a late Sunday morning I sat down and started reading Love Me, Love Me Not, by the evening I was finished with it. I couldn’t put it down! The moment Hailey was introduced, I wanted to know more about her. I wanted to know how she landed in foster care, and why she was with a guy named Chase, who was clearly a loser, and not good for her.

The short stick. My heart hurt for Hailey, because she had to grow up with a mother that abused her verbally, emotionally, and occasionally physically. Hailey’s boyfriend Chase was no better. He was always putting her down by telling her that she was nothing more than his property. Hailey’s upbringing prior to living with the Campbells was a nightmare, and I wanted to constantly give her hugs because of it. The Campbells, along with her new classmates, helped Hailey start to see that good people exist in the world, ones that want to build you up, not just knock you down.

K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Hailey and Brad had great chemistry and I was rooting for them wholly. I was also super nervous for them. Their romantic relationship is something they have to keep a secret, because dating your foster sibling is a big no-no. Hailey was constantly afraid that they’d be caught, and that she’d be kicked out of, yet again, another foster home. She was especially afraid because the Campbells were the best foster parents she’d ever had. They made her feel secure and wanted and treated her like a real member of their family.

So many feels. This book just really tugged at my heartstrings. I felt so much while reading. I felt joyous when Hailey started to feel safe and loved. I felt proud when she started to work harder in school, to bring up her gpa, and increase her chances of getting accepted into college. I felt scared when Chase started showing up unannounced, threatening to ruin Hailey’s new, good life. I felt sad, when pieces of Hailey’s horrible upbringing were revealed. Like I said, so many feels! The feels were overwhelming, and made me want to read and read, until I devoured every sentence in this book.

One bone to pick. The only thing I didn’t love about Love Me, Love Me Not was the ending. I thought it was a little anticlimactic. The emotions were always running high in Love Me, Love Me Not, and I was expecting an explosive ending. What we got was bittersweet, and emotional, but not quite the fireworks I thought the story was heading towards.


About the author

SM KOZ is a medical writer from North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and numerous pets. She has a BS in Biology from Duke University and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University.

When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, photographing nature and her family, gardening, travelling, and attempting, usually unsuccessfully, to decorate birthday cakes. Love Me, Love Me Not is her first traditionally published novel.


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four-half-stars