Blog Tour: The Thirteenth Gate by Kat Ross (Review)

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I received this book for free from Xpresso Blog Tours n exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34700323The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries #2) by Kat Ross
Release date: June 26th, 2017
Publisher: Acorn
Genre: Fantasy, mystery, young adult
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Winter 1888. At a private asylum in the English countryside, a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper kills an orderly and flees into the rain-soaked night. His distraught keepers summon the Lady Vivienne Cumberland—who’s interviewed their patient and isn’t sure he’s a man at all. An enigmatic woman who guards her own secrets closely, Lady Vivienne knows a creature from the underworld when she sees one. And he’s the most dangerous she’s ever encountered.

As Jack rampages through London, this time targeting rare book collectors, Lady Vivienne begins to suspect what he’s looking for. And if he finds it, the doors to purgatory will be thrown wide open…

Across the Atlantic, an archaeologist is brutally murdered after a Christmas Eve gala at the American Museum of Natural History. Certain peculiar aspects of the crime attract the interest of the Society for Psychical Research and its newest investigator, Harrison Fearing Pell. Is Dr. Julius Sabelline’s death related to his recent dig in Alexandria? Or is the motive something darker?

As Harry uncovers troubling connections to a serial murder case she’d believed was definitively solved, two mysteries converge amid the grit and glamor of Gilded Age New York. Harry and Lady Vivienne must join forces to stop an ancient evil. The key is something called the Thirteenth Gate. But where is it? And more importantly, who will find it first?

This book was everything I’ve ever wanted and more! Over the past year I’ve become a huge fan of Kat Ross’ books. They are so underrated and I really wish more people knew about them. Her first trilogy, The Fourth Element, stood out due to its unique story, setting and wonderful characters. I was so upset when it ended because I really enjoy the way the Ms Ross writes. I have such a difficult time putting her books down that I often find myself reading through the entire night (even though I have work the next day).

A few weeks ago I read The Daemoniac, the first book in the Dominion Mysteries series, and absolutely fell in love with it! The book is set in 1880s New York City and can best be described as a mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The story was a perfect blend of mystery, horror and action! It featured wonderfully loveable characters, witchcraft, murder and creepy séances. And the suspense! I just never knew where the plot was going to go. Once I finished a chapter I had to move onto the next one because I needed to know what would happen next. Since, I obviously adored The Daemoniac, I was very excited to start the sequel.

The Thirteenth Gate wastes no time and picks up where its predecessor leaves off. However, Ms Ross throws in a twist and introduces a group of new characters that takes the series in a new and even more exciting direction. I don’t want to give much away but I squealed when I realized who the new characters were. She has done a fantastic job weaving together what would seem like two separate worlds or ideas. If you have read The Fourth Element trilogy then you are definitely in for a surprise! If not, don’t worry as it’s not necessary to have read the trilogy before reading The Thirteenth Gate. 

It’s so difficult to write reviews for sequels and mysteries. I just don’t want to give anything away! But what I loved about this book was its atmosphere. I seriously can’t get enough of the time period. Ms Ross has constructed a moody and dark setting that matches the story perfectly. The characters were again a highlight for me. There are two wonderful female leads. They are complete opposites but compliment each other and combine their strengths to solve the book’s mystery. The only thing I wish there would have been more of is romance. There were hints scattered all over the first book and this one but nothing has really come of it. Just when I think something might happen it’s interrupted. So, please, please, please…a little romance in the next book! These characters have been through so much and deserve a little love.

You really need to pick of this series! It’s beyond amazing and I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know. As soon as I received my copy I put aside everything else and absolutely devoured it. I can’t wait for the next instalment because Ms Ross’ books just keep on getting better and better! So, go out and get The Thirteenth Gate. And while your at it pick up her other books because trust me, you’ll want more and more!


About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day, the Fourth Element fantasy trilogy (The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, Queen of Chaos), and a new gaslamp mystery series that opens with The Daemoniac and continues with The Thirteenth Gate. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook


Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a signed paperback copy of the first book in the series, The Daemoniac! Good luck!

ARC Review: Odd & True by Cat Winters

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

28078791Odd & True by Cat Winters
Release date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Odd & True was my first book by Kat Winters. I’ve read quite positive reviews about her other books and made a mental note to eventually read one of them. So, when I saw this book posted on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to read it. Plus, the badass cover totally caught my eye and the description peaked my interest. While the book wasn’t necessarily what I thought it would be, that didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed reading it.

Before I go into why I adored this book, I do want to say that it’s not really about monsters at all. Well, not about mythical monsters like vampires, werewolves, etc. It’s an examination of monsters people face in their everyday lives, hard choices and a tough reality. Sometimes we just need to tell ourselves stories about princesses, monster hunters and castles to take away the pain or to protect others from things that they are not yet ready to face.

The beginning of Odd & True was a bit slow. The first few chapters felt like a chore to get through but then everything changed. I was completely hooked and enchanted by the story’s main characters, Od and Tru. I enjoyed reading a book about a close relationship between sisters. It seems that lately all I’ve read about are relationships of a romantic nature or between friends. While I loved Od for her strength and endurance, Tru really stood out for her empathy, resilience and intense loyalty. Both young women grew so much as the story progressed and I loved how protective they were of each other. We need more relationships like this in YA! The narrator of the chapters alternated between the two sisters and nothing was ever as it seemed. I was never totally sure what was real and what wasn’t…which point of view was reliable?

The writing was fantastic! The descriptions really enhanced the reading experience…it was mysterious, dangerous and full of magic! The locations featured in the story were also a key aspect that really sold the story for me. The beginning takes place in late 1800s California where everything is sunny and bright, while much of the book is set in early 1900s Oregon and the mid-Atlantic states. The contrast between dark and light, good versus evil, the past and the present perfectly set the tone of the book and atmosphere of the book. And the ending…well the ending just floored me. It was perfect in every single way! I do want more from these characters and I have my fingers (and toes) crossed that Ms Winters will write another book or novella. Please?!?!

It was hard to end this book! I sat and stared at the last page for a while and sighed. I read it while waiting for my flight and didn’t realize how quickly I read through it. So, don’t let the slow start turn you off because once things get going, it’s a non-stop adventure. You really need to read this book!


About the Author

5351847Cat Winters is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of four novels for teens: In the Shadow of Blackbirds (Morris Award finalist, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013), The Cure for Dreaming (an Amelia Bloomer Project pick), The Steep and Thorny Way (a Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2016, Junior Library Guild selection), and the forthcoming Odd & True. She has also written two novels for adults, The Uninvited and Yesternight, and contributed to the young adult horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys.

Winters was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and kids.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

33158561This week I’m looking forward to Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. Last year I went into When the Moon Was Ours not sure what to expect. I had never read anything by McLemore in the past but had heard really good things. And all I can say is that all of those positive things were more than well deserved. Her writing style is lyrical, almost like poetry, that cracked my heart open. I was so incredibly moved by what I had read and therefore cannot wait to pick up her next book Wild Beauty. It sounds incredibly beautiful and I’m readying my heart for another emotional journey. Also…I adore the cover. It’s so beautiful oh my gosh! The book is scheduled to be released on October 3rd by Feiwel & Friends.

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Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Mini Reviews: Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight & Love, and You

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23674576Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight by Alyssa Cole
Release date: December 3rd, 2014
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing
Genre: Historical fiction, romance, novella
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Agnes Moor knows her place in the court of King James IV—as one of the “exotics” in his employ. When the king makes a kiss from Agnes the prize of a tourney, a mysterious knight plows through his opponents to claim it. But it isn’t chance. The Wild Knight has come for her, and her champion is after after the most elusive prize of all: her heart.

I discovered this short story while browsing diverse book aesthetics on Twitter. It was described as a steamy story set in medieval Scotland with a black heroine. I’m down for anything based in Scotland but the description just sounded so unique, unlike anything I’ve heard of before. So, I downloaded it right away! And oh my gosh was this story so good! Yes, it was quite short, being about 38 pages in length, but it felt completely satisfying.

The story revolves around Agnes, a young black woman living at the court of King James IV. She’s not a slave or there against her will. The author has written her as a strong and independent woman who uses her intelligence to act as an ambassador and spy for King James. She’s treated as an equal by the king and queen. As someone who has studied history, it’s wonderful to see non-white characters in medieval pieces. They were knights, monks, scholars, etc. Historical fiction authors need to stop erasing them from history!

Based on her role within Scotland and in order to help bring together King James’ court and the Highlanders, a tournament is held with the winner receiving a kiss from Agnes. This tournament is based on an actual contest called the Tournament of the Wild Knight and the Black Lady. In the story, the tournament is won by the Wild Knight, a man who refuses to reveal his true identity. Even though the reader doesn’t know who this man is for at least a quarter of the book…hot damn…the build up alone made my heart beat quicken!

Once the identity of the Wild Knight is revealed things really take off! The story is super romantic. The Wild Knight fought bravely for Agnes’ kiss but it’s more than that. Their backstory really sealed it for me. A bit of an outsider himself, the Wild Knight knows what it’s like not to fit into the court himself. For him it isn’t just about lust (although the sex scenes are super steamy) but about him finding an equal. Someone who is just as intelligent, passionate and strong as he is. I find that I can just talk on and on about this book which is strange because I usually have difficulty writing reviews for books that I loved. I really wish that this story was longer. The idea and characters were so rich and wonderful to read about. Can I have a sequel please?


34335011Love, and You by Gretchen Gomez 
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

one day i met a guy
who stole my heart,
we created a world
for ourselves.
and another day
he broke my heart
and shattered
my soul.

i took the tattered
pieces of this
broken soul and
became anew.

– here lies the hurting, the healing, and the learning

This poetry collection was absolutely beautiful! I don’t even have the words to explain the emotional rollercoaster I went through while reading it. It’s raw, painful and completely honest. The words really hit home because while I myself haven’t experienced some of the situations discussed in the poems, they could be applied to other events in my life. Most of the words spoke directly to me and even when they didn’t I felt the author’s pain, how much they meant to her. It brought tears to my eyes and made my heart ache. That’s why I adore poetry so much! It not only makes you reflect on your own life, but teaches you to glimpse and understand the feelings of others.

I can definitely see myself reading this collection over and over again. I purchased it as an eBook but plan on picking up a physical version soon. I highly recommend this book to everyone, even if you aren’t a fan of poetry. It’s not heavy on the symbolism and metaphors. It’s poetry for all people, written in a language and style that all can read, understand and identify with. So, go out (or hit up your favourite e-Book store) and get this gorgeous collection NOW!

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

32718027This week I’m looking forward to The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. The cover this year are AMAZING! It’s what attracted me to this book and reading the description made me want it even more. Cairo, magic, myth…oh it sounds so good! It’s scheduled to be released on November 14th by Harper Voyager.

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Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

ARC August 2017

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It’s that time again! Read.Sleep.Repeat. are hosting another edition of ARC August. The challenge is all about having fun and getting some ARCs read.

These are the rules:

  • Any Advanced Reading Copy counts as part of this reading challenge; your backlist books count
  • No blog necessary to participate, but you’ll need to include some form of social media as part of your sign up
  • Use the #ARCAugust on social media to check-in

My TBR:

I’m keeping my TBR quite small because August is the first month of the new school year and it’s always a bit overwhelming. I’ll be teaching a new subject, working with new team members and trying to memorize tons of new names. Ahhh! I honestly don’t think that I’ll get through all 4 of these but crazier things have happened.

Mini Reviews: Ensnared & Sparks of Light

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

32472740Ensnared by Rita Stradling
Release date: May 23rd, 2017
Publisher: Kindle Press
Genre: New adult, science fiction, retelling
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

While waiting for Rita Stradling to complete her Dakota Kekoa trilogy I thought I’d pick this book up to hold me over. It sounded interesting…a sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast? Yes please! While it was creative and unlike anything I’ve read before, it still didn’t live up to how much I’ve love her other books. I know, I know. I shouldn’t be comparing apples and oranges but I can’t help, OK?

This story closely follows the overall message of Beauty and the Beast but takes place in a futuristic society. It’s centered around Alainn, who is sent to the home of a recluse named Lorccan. The catch? She has to pose as one of her father’s robots, the Rose 76GF. You see, her father, while completely brilliant, is a gambler and cheater who has gotten both of them into trouble. The whole question is what will Lorccan do when he realizes that she isn’t actually a robot, but a living breathing human?

I was entertained while reading this book and read through it quite quickly. However, it didn’t really flow, parts were uneven and there were a lot of parts that either didn’t add up or caused confusion. The insertion of random minor characters was completely unnecessary. That said, I did really like the two main characters. They were deeply flawed but funny and interesting. The setting made it really standout! I have no clue how Stradling came up with it but if it wasn’t advertised as a Beauty and the Beast retelling I could have easily read it as completely original in every sense of the word.

Overall, Ensnared is a book that I’m glad that I had a chance to read. It demonstrates the amazing amounts of creativity Stradling possesses, she truly had a talent with taking things and turning them on their heads. However, it felt a bit rushed and uneven. A few more edits or clarifications here and there would definitely improve its readability.


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30971762Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor
Release date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

The first book, Into the Dim, was really pushed as being a YA Outlander but oh boy was it not! Yes, there was time travel and some of it did take place in the Scottish Highlands, but that’s where the similarities end. I thought that the first book was alright, middle of the road. An interesting read that I neither overly liked or disliked. However, this time around with Sparks of Light I quite firmly have an opinion and it’s a very negative one.

This sequel was a huge disappointment. Yup, nothing about it captured the moments of excitement seen in the first book. It just falls flat, bogged down by old memories and a lack of transitions. It read as disjointed and unsure of itself. I was honestly never really sure if what was being described was something from the past or the current action. The constant struggle to figure it out in addition to the sluggish plot just turned me off completely. I read it through and stuck with it, but it was certainly a struggle!

The main character also got on my nerves. She was tolerable in the first book. I actually began to like her near the end but here all of the things I disliked take centre stage. My biggest issue? It’s how she views other girls. In the first book she kept on putting down women who dress a certain way or are large chested. To her they were all promiscuous. It continues in this book as well to the point where it made her sound jealous, hateful and petty. I hate books where girls slam other girls for how they dress and equate it with their intelligence or sexuality. Who cares how you dress? So, you date a lot of guys, so what? STOP JUDGING!

Will I read the third book? Nope! After this disaster I have no inclination to do so. There are so many other time traveling books to keep my occupied. I highly suggest the Ruby Red series by Kerstin Gier. Then there’s Passenger by Alexandra Bracken that’s been sitting on my shelf for ages. Any other YA time travel books to suggest?