2

November Rain: This is a Battle of Blood and Genetics

Penguin2.3

November Rain (Bad Bloods, #1)

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

Bad Bloods, #1
YA/Dystopian/Urban Fantasy
230 Pages
Clean Teen Publishing
Publication Date: July 18th, 2016
Get a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: intricate, interesting world-building; this is a bit reminiscent of The Darkest Minds series; I wish I knew more about the rules and limitations of the “blood” disease; awesome, strong characters; no romance for the win

Huge thanks to Shannon A. Thompson and Clean Teen Publishing for sending me a digital copy of this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Okay. So, this book starts us literally off RIGHT in the middle of the action, and that’s great because readers are thrown in and expected to keep their heads above water while the world of our characters is falling apart. But I sort of wish, having finished this first part, that we’d gotten a few more answers along the way. For instance… I feel like I know very little about how the “blood disease” (not quite what it is, but that’s the best way I can think to describe it) works. I guess I wish I knew more of the rules and limitations; it seems like a lot of kids have this affliction, but I’m not sure if it’s ALL the kids. It mentions something about a gene being the cause of it, but it doesn’t say WHO carries that gene or how it’s passed down. And it seems like there are varying degrees of “powers”….but again, it’s not clear how this works. Is it a product of the gene–the more prominent the gene is, the “stronger” your powers? I don’t know, and I wish I did.

The plot, though, is action-packed, and I really appreciated how intricate and complex Shannon A. Thompson made the world-building. It’s not made clear WHY these people are being rounded up and executed, apart from their “differences.” It’s mentioned several times that there are people who support and fight for them, and there are people who turn them in…but it’s unclear if this is a requirement (i.e. if families are required by the law to turn in relatives who begin showing powers) or if they do it out of fear. Actually, I feel like I know very little about the law of this world in general. I know this is set just before election day, and it’s between a man who is willing to fight for and protect the “blooded”…and a man who is willing to kill them all. But beyond that, I’m not sure what the laws are or how they effect the different groups of people–the “blooded,” the normals, etc. So while the world-building seems complex, I suppose I am a bit disappointed in the things I don’t currently know; hopefully book two will help to clear some of my confusion up.

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Regardless, these characters are unique and fun. This is a two person POV, split equally between Serena and Daniel, which I appreciated–it allowed me to see from both POVs, even when the two characters weren’t together, which they weren’t for a large portion of this book. There also seemed to be very little romance between the two main characters. While I think it COULD go that direction, eventually, there is no romance in this first book–instead, the plot is focused on the politics (sort of), the drama of the world around them, and their individual struggles. At this point in the read, while I realize that it *could* happen that Serena and Daniel form a romantic attachment…. I don’t see it happening, which I sort of enjoy about this book. With the pressure of chemistry and “believable romance” taken off the table, Shannon A. Thompson was allowed to better focus on the world-building and the action.

Overall, this was a super intriguing and fun read. The world-building seems intricate and complex, though I’m a bit disappointed in how little we actually KNOW about the politics and rules surrounding the “blooded.” I definitely recommend to lovers of dystopian novels, fast-paced and action-packed plots, and strongly defiant characters. I cannot WAIT to pick up book two; hopefully, it’ll help clear up some of my lingering confusion!

2

Damned If I Don’t: These Vampires are not Vegan

Penguin2.3

Damned if I Don't

I may be a vampire hunter.
But I’ve single-handedly screwed up big time.

After botching our chance to cure vampirism and the infection that’s killing me, I’m at a loss. My cousin Carl won’t speak to me. The bastard who killed my sister is still alive. And Jude, the amnesiac vampire, says he’s in love with me.

What’s even more shocking is that I love him back.

But the more Jude learns about his past, the more it will tear our relationship and our lives apart. I’m running out of time to find a new successor to become the new Progenitor. Because when I die, it’s game over for all of us.

The Harker Trilogy, #2
New Adult/Romance/Urban Fantasy
292 Pages
Publication Date: March 2016
Get a copy here!

See my review for Damned If I Do (The Harker Trilogy, #1) RIGHT HERE!

 

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: well, THAT was not the ending I expected; I need book three, someone GET ME BOOK THREE!; I cannot even explain; character love, plot adoration, I am hooked; these vampires aren’t shy about biting; watch out for gore; this book hurt my heart so hard

Huge thanks to Erin Hayes and Xpresso Book Tours for sending me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Oh, my. OHHHH, my penguins–this book! This book knocked me backwards, guys; I’m not sure I’m strong enough to pull myself back up. This book just… Gah. I am so, so sorry I didn’t read this sooner…and yet not, because I need book three, and book three isn’t even a THING yet. Someone, please, get me book three? You’ll be my hero for the rest of forever. Also, someone PLEASE tell me the romance between Edie and Jude finally eventually at some point becomes a REAL THING and not just a danced-around concept, because I mean… THESE TWO! These two characters are just…they’re total romance #goals for me right now, okay? And they need a happy ending. They need…they NEED TO BE. #sobsforever

Let’s start with first things first: these vampires? Are not shy at all about biting. About killing. About being VAMPIRES, because who ever heard of a vegan vampire anyway? (Please don’t answer this, it’s a rhetorical question) The only one who’s partially shy about being who they are, is Jude…and he gets a pass in my mind because amnesia. This plot is FULL of action, battles to the death, and gore. If you’ve got a weak stomach or are easily disconcerted by blood and violence…don’t–I repeat DO NOT–pick up this book, because there’s a LOT of blood and ick and grossness, especially near the ending. (Though I mean, really, if you’re disgusted by gore….why?!?!?! are you reading a vampire book to begin with? They’re not all fluffy ponies, you know!)

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These characters continue to thrive and surprise me–not necessarily because what they DO is surprising, I guess, but because they continue to push forward and retain their…er…optimism? Despite the many trials and tribulations they face? Despite the consistent amount of times they get knocked down? Seriously, someone needs to bottle the optimism some of these characters hold, so I may drink it and be inspired in my own life. MAKE THIS A TEA, penguins! Optimitea, for the win!?!?!

I just… This book. This series. The characters are snarky and snippity and perfect; the plot is fast-paced and action-packed; and danger lurks around every corner. Literally. If you LOVE vampires (and who doesn’t?!), a graphic amount of gore (yas, BLEEEEED!) and a burgeoning romance that has no room to spread wings because END OF THE WORLD HELLO!?…I’m willing to bet you’ll love this series. SO GO PICK IT UP!

20

This is My Genre, Tell Me Yours! #booktag

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I was #tagged by the wonderfully lovely Katelynn @ Books & Bottles in THIS POST RIGHT HERE!  SO MANY THANK YOUS, sweetheart–you always know how to make a girl feel loved!  (also, I miss our GIF wars…we should totes start that up again soon)

So…let’s DO this thang!

THE RULES:

  1. Credit Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, either use the created tag name graphic or create your own and link back to my blog.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. Tag as many people as you want.

THE QUESTIONS:

1. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE?

Any and all types of retellings EVAR because RETELLINGS, PENGUINS!  Retellings are the absolute beeeeest and I adore them.

I mean, think about iiiiiiit!  You can have your cake, and eat it too–in the form of your faaaaaaavoritest story, except with the author’s own spins and twists and surprises!  It’s like asking for a Barbie Doll for Christmas and getting a whole buncha them instead.

(although according to Goodreads, I’ve only read 46 retellings?!  I think that numbers a little bit off…. I know I’ve read more than THAT.  By a lot.)

2. WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR FROM THE GENRE?

Uh.  Uhhhhh.  UUUUUUUUUUHM.

Okay, I can TOTALLY do this, let’s see here…

It’s a toss up between ….

No.  Nope, I can’t do this.  There are WAY TOO MANY AUTHORS I LOVE who have written some of my faaaaavorite retellings and I refuse to choose between my babies.  You can’t make me so there!

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3. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE GENRE THAT KEEPS PULLING YOU BACK?

Uhm.  How about we go with the fact that IT’S THE GLUE THAT HOLDS MY LIFE TOGETHER?!  Do I really need more reason than that, I mean seeeeeeeriously?  SERIOUSLY?!

Also, Pride and Prejudice retellings for the win for life because they are bae.

4. WHAT’S THE BOOK THAT STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE?

It was a trilogy, if I remember right…

I think maybe you might have heard of it?

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And so began an obsession that I see no end of!

5. IF YOU HAD TO RECOMMEND AT LEAST ONE BOOK FROM YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE TO A NON-READER/SOMEONE LOOKING TO START READING THAT GENRE, WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

Oh, penguins.  OH, PENGUINS.  This is like…this question?  THE DEVIL!  Okay, let’s see… If I had to pick just one recommendation, I guess I’d go with…

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

Because it’s suuuuuper fun, it’s super quick, and it’s got ZOMBIES!  I mean, everyone loves zombies, right?!

(okay…maybe I’m also SLIGHTLY obsessed with zombies.  Just a little)

6. WHY DO YOU READ?

….Because WHAT ELSE am I going to do with my life?!?!?!  I mean I could write a book…but…that requires reading.  I could watch a bunch of movies, but…READING IS BETTER.  I could become the crazy cat lady of my neighborhood but I’m moving in December and books don’t get fur all over your nice black pants and words don’t leave you dead mice as presents.

So… I choose books.  Because I can.

THERE YOU HAVE IT!

Do YOU like to read retellings?  What’s your favorite, if so?  If you haven’t read one before but want to, which do you hope to pick up first?!  LET’S TALK BOOKS!

Also, I tag (but please don’t feel obligated to do the thing if you don’t wanna):

Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews

Danielle @ Books, Vertigo and Tea

Tori @ Book Dreamer

Annelise @ The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange

and, of course, ANYONE ELSE who feels they’re strong enough to take this #booktag downtown!

Thanks for sticking with me and my nonexplanations, penguins!

Until next time, happy book-ing, and…

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3

Damned If I Do: This Vampire is Fighting for LIFE, not Death

Penguin2.3

Damned if I Do (The Harker Trilogy #1)

The Harker Trilogy #1
250 Pages
Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance
Publication Date: September 14th, 2015
Get a copy here!

They killed my sister and infected me.

Now I have to pick up the pieces before I die.

I’ve spent the last five months trying to find the bastard who did this. Yet, even with the help of a hot amnesiac vampire named Jude, I’ve had zero luck.

Until now. And it could change everything. Even though I grew up in a family that hunted the supernatural, there were still things I didn’t believe in.

Now I have to hurry for the slim chance that I could save us all. Because when you fight against immortal vampires, you’re the one who’s running out of time.

3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: forbidden love; vampire lore with an interesting and unique twist; a vampire and a witch walk into a bar…and blow the roof off; well-developed, snarky characters; the relationships built upon and portrayed throughout are gold; loads of action and fight scenes; this will leave readers hungry for more

Huge thanks to Erin Hayes and Giselle @ Xpresso Book Tours for granting me access to this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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I need to start this review off with an apology, dear penguins. I am a terrible, terrible book reviewer. See, I read this book on the plane ride home from my vacation. On the 15th. You know, several weeks ago? And then I got off the plane…and promptly forgot that I had a review to write at all. I guess I should have written myself a note on the cocktail napkin that came with my drink, or on my hand, or on my forehead… Something?! Regardless, I’m typing it up now–do you forgive me, penguins, for being such a basket case? I hope you do.

This book was equal parts “magical, snarky, stubborn witches”…and “blood-thirsty vampire.” There was an incredibly unique and inventive take on magic meets monster to this story that I became immediately engrossed by–no, really! I think it took all of one chapter for me to realize this was EXACTLY the type of book I love to fall into. I ADORE the world Erin Hayes built around her readers in this book–it was dark, full of action, and compelling. I was entertained from the very beginning–and hungry for more at the end. Seriously, I’m super glad I have the second novel in this series to dive into soon–I am dying to know what happens next!

The characters are well-rounded, snarky in all the right places, and realistic in their relationships/reactions. This read is FULL of drama, emotions, and broken personalities…and I adored every single minute of it. The love story is, while touching upon the cliched “forbidden” of mortal and the undead, both endearing and surprisingly steamy. I LOVE that this book is written in two perspectives, as well–it helped to fully immerse me in the story AND in the characters. There’s also an intriguing…twist, near the end, that caught me off guard. I’m not sure how that will come into play in the second novel, but it’s bound to be interesting!

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I had a TON of fun diving into this world of chaos, vampires, and magic–and I can’t wait to pick up the second book! I am sorry, though, that I forgot until tonight that I’d even finished this read; how dare I call myself a book reviewer?! Feel free to revoke my privileges, if you must…though I do hope you don’t. I recommend this read to lovers of vampires, forbidden romances (think akin to Twilight, sort of…), and a fight to the death (or, rather, a fight to NOT die). This is entertaining from start to finish; if you’re seeking a fun, quick read, perhaps you should consider this one!