ARC Review – ‘Zero Day’ by Ezekiel Boone

Title: Zero Day
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Genre:  Horror, Science-Fiction
Date of Publication: 27th February, 2018
Page Count: 336 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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In the thrilling, nerve-wracking finale of Ezekiel Boone’s “hair-raising” (Parade) Hatching series, the United States goes to war against the queen spiders that threaten to overtake the human race forever.

The world is on the brink of apocalypse. Zero Day has come.

The only thing more terrifying than millions of spiders is the realization that those spiders work as one. But among the government, there is dissent: do we try to kill all of the spiders, or do we gamble on Professor Guyer’s theory that we need to kill only the queens?

For President Stephanie Pilgrim, it’s an easy answer. She’s gone as far as she can—more than two dozen American cities hit with tactical nukes, the country torn asunder—and the only answer is to believe in Professor Guyer. Unfortunately, Ben Broussard and the military men who follow him don’t agree, and Pilgrim, Guyer, and the loyal members of the government have to flee, leaving the question: what’s more dangerous, the spiders or ourselves?

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I was so excited to read this, you would not believe my hysteria when I got my hands on an advance copy, I nearly hit the roof with SHEER JOY. And thankfully, this lived up to expectations! If only I had been able to pace myself instead of staying up past midnight to devour it, but I had zero willpower, it was so enthralling that I couldn’t stop reading!

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ARC – ‘Keeper’ by Kim Chance

Title:  Keeper
Author: Kim Chance
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date of Publication: 30th January, 2018
Page Count: 408 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.

After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic.

With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.

Okay, so this is not the optimal way to start off the New Year, but unfortunately ‘Keeper‘ is a DNF for me. I try not to quit on books, especially ARCs, as it makes me feel guilty, but my resolution this year is to give a fair go and then bail if I’m not enjoying myself. I made it to 57%, so I put a fair amount of effort into trying to invest in the story and characters, but it was such a relief to decide I was done with it.

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Book Review – ‘Burn For You’ by J.T. Geissinger

Title: Burn For You
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: 17th October, 2017
Page Count: 348 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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The marriage is fake. But for a sassy chef and an arrogant billionaire, the sparks are real…

Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux is rich, gorgeous, and unbelievably rude to the staff at Chef Bianca Hardwick’s New Orleans restaurant. Bianca would sooner douse herself in hot sauce than cook for Jackson again, but when he asks her to cater his fund-raiser, Bianca can’t refuse, knowing the cash will help pay her mother’s medical bills. Then Jackson makes another outrageous request: Marry me. The unconventional offer includes an enormous sum—money Bianca desperately needs, even if it does come with a contract—and a stunning ring.

The heir to a family bourbon dynasty, Jackson knows the rumors swirling around him. The truth is even darker. Still, he needs a wife to secure his inheritance, and free-spirited, sassy Bianca would play the part beautifully. Soon, though, their simple business deal evolves into an emotional intimacy he’s built walls to avoid.

As the passion heats up between them, Bianca and Jackson struggle to define which feelings are real and which are for show. Is falling for your fake fiancé the best happy ending…or a recipe for disaster?

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, it has everything I look for in a romance – a witty capable heroine, a dark brooding hero with a heart of gold, the marriage-of-convenience trope executed to perfection and slow-burn development from enemies-to-friends-to-lovers. AMAZING.

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ARC Review – ‘A Bride At His Bidding’ by Michelle Smart

TitleA Bride At His Bidding
Author: Michelle Smart
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: 16th January, 2018
Page Count: 192 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Book Depository)

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Hired by her enemy. Yet tempted to say “I do..”. Billionaire Andreas Samaras is nobody’s fool. And his beautiful new employee, Carrie Rivers–an undercover journalist–is playing a dangerous game. He’ll keep her at his command until he can expose her deception… But when her ruse is revealed, there’s only one way to protect his spotless business reputation: blackmail innocent Carrie to the altar!

This is a thoroughly delightful romance story and I enjoyed every moment of it. The author subverted so many tropes and specifically addressed a lot of the issues I’ve had in the past with romance novels, it’s almost uncanny how this seems to be written specifically to please me!

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Book Review – ‘Chimera’ by C D Bell

Title:  Chimera
Author: C D Bell
Genre:  Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: 10th October, 2017
Page Count: 432 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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The forest is full of secrets.

Nessa Kurland is adjusting to life as a weregirl—she is transforming with ease and running with a pack she cares for deeply. Her boyfriend Luc is a fellow shifter, and Paravida, the corporation responsible for unethical genetic experiments on the residents of Tether, has pulled out of town, leaving the community safe.

But that’s just how it appears on the surface.

Nessa returns home from a run with the pack to find an FBI raid and the shocking news that her mother Vivian is being held without bail for violations so serious she may be facing life in prison. What did Nessa’s mother, a small-town vet tech, do to threaten Homeland Security? Vivian’s secret past leads Nessa to discover there is more to her own story than she ever imagined.

The wolves that are running through Tether’s woods are not the same pack Nessa knew before. These are not all natural wolves. And they are breeding.

Nessa’s transformation is only just beginning.

In CHIMERA, the second installment in the Weregirl trilogy, Nessa confronts the truth of who she is, where she comes from, and what she has to do to survive.

I haven’t read the first book in this series, but that didn’t hinder my reading experience with Chimera. Obviously there was some backstory I wasn’t familiar with, but it was fairly easy to fill in the blanks. I’m very picky about the YA books I choose to read because there are a lot of toxic tropes and unfortunate themes prevalent in the genre, but fortunately Chimera ticks all the right boxes to make this an enjoyable read.

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Book Review – ‘All The Ways To Here’ by Emily O’Beirne

Title:  All The Ways To Here
Author: Emily O’Beirne
Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT+
Date of Publication: 1st November, 2017
Word Count: 83,280
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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In this sequel to Future Leaders of Nowhere, Finn and Willa come home from camp to find everything is different. Even as they grow more sure of their feelings for each other, everything around them feels less certain.

When Finn gets involved in a new community project, she’s forced to question where her priorities lie at school. Meanwhile, her dad has moved interstate, her mother is miserable, and her home feels like a ghost town.

Willa’s discovering how to negotiate the new terrains of romance and school friendships when an accident at home reminds her just how tenuous her family situation is. Suddenly, even with her dad in town, she’s shouldering more responsibility than ever.

As they try to navigate these new worlds together, Finn’s learning she has to figure out what she wants, and Willa how to ask for what she needs.

I previously reviewed  Future Leaders of Nowhere (here) and fell in love with Finn & Willa and co, so imagine my excitement when the author contacted me to offer a digital copy of its sequel for review. 😀 My only concern was whether or not All The Ways To Here would live up to my high expectations, and I’m so relieved and thrilled to report that it did indeed! ❤

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ARC Review – ‘My Lady Governess’ by Elise Clarke

Title:  My Lady Governess
Author: Elise Clarke
Genre:  Romance (Historical/Regency)
Date of Publication: 20th December, 2017
Page Count: 200 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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One knight, one runaway heiress, one rollicking romance: A breath of fresh air in Regency romance!

Proud and haughty, Lord de Waare is almost as medieval as his castle…until he accidentally abducts a governess, who turns out not to be a governess at all, and who shows this knight that his heart is not as armoured as he thought.

A girl with a dangerous past, Marina would happily disappear again, but since de Waare won’t let that happen, then the least he can do is help her clear her name. But moving back into society is dangerous for her and for the stern man she’s coming to love. She knows the rules of honour and society, and she won’t allow de Waare to compromise the principles that define him.

But de Waare didn’t become the Crusader by accepting defeat. Faint heart never won a fair lady, and de Waares always win.

To be fairly blunt, I had a strong dislike for this book until at least 25% in – I was very close to DNF’ing it and moving on, but I’m always reluctant to do that with ARCs and try to make it at least 50% through before giving up. And lo and behold, I actually started enjoying myself finally and ended up finishing this in one sitting.

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Review – ‘Abounding Might’ by Melissa McShane

Title:  Abounding Might
Author: Melissa McShane
Genre:  Fantasy, Romance, Alternate History
Date of Publication: 3rd October, 2017
Page Count: 363 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Calcutta, 1813. Lady Daphne St. Clair, who as an Extraordinary Bounder is capable of transporting herself anywhere in the world with a thought, has longed to serve in the Army for years. But an unexpected weakness at the sight of blood makes her responsible for a good man’s death in battle. Unable to serve on the battlefield, Daphne is sent to India to be transportation for the Governor-General’s wife and children. In disgrace, Daphne fears she will never achieve the fame and glory she has worked so hard for.

A chance encounter with Captain Phineas Fletcher, attached to the Honourable East India Company as a troubleshooter and investigator, leads to Daphne being given a new opportunity: help Captain Fletcher discover the truth behind a series of strange occurrences in the town of Madhyapatnam. Daphne is willing to do anything to restore her reputation, even something as small as Captain Fletcher’s investigation. As the days progress, her attachment to the members of the team grows deeper, as does her growing attraction to the captain.

But as Daphne and Captain Fletcher dig deeper into the mystery, the truth turns out to be much more sinister than anyone imagined. Dark currents run deep beneath the pleasant surface of Madhyapatnam, and the echoes of a twenty-year- old story threaten not only the Company’s rule over the town, but the safety and well-being of everyone in it. Soon only Daphne’s talent and courage stand between Madhyapatnam and the evil that threatens to overwhelm it.

I absolutely adored the first book in this series (‘Burning Bright‘ reviewed here) and skipped the second as the plot didn’t appeal to my personal tastes, but I was intrigued by ‘Abounding Might‘. While it didn’t match the high standards of book 1, which was practically perfect in my eyes, it was still an immensely enjoyable read with a riveting plot and endearing characters.
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‘Masked’ by J D Wright

Title:  Masked
Author: J D Wright
Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy/Science Fiction
Date of Publication: 15th August, 2017
Page Count: 220 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Vada’s To-Do List:

– Turn 18 (check!)
– Register super name
– Order supersuit
– Attend superhero indoctrination
– Graduate high school
– Start kicking criminal tail

Vada Lawson can’t wait to be a superhero. Born into a family with special powers, she’s been training to fight criminals and villains her whole life. But her indoctrination into the underground super community is derailed when normals start breaking out in superpowers themselves.

Not trained to control their new abilities, the normals are frightened and vulnerable. Then their mutilated corpses begin turning up all over town. What the heck?

Somehow, with the help—and hindrance—of an annoying newly-minted super named Orion, Vada has to stop the chaos before it destroys her and everything she holds dear…and ruins her superhero debut.

No one ever said that being a superhero was easy… 

After tremendously enjoying Dreadnought about a teenage girl with newly discovered superpowers trying to make a difference, I thought I would equally enjoy Masked, about a couple of teens with powers using them for good. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I try to find the good in anything I read, but this book was a long hard slog with very little to reward my perseverance.

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ARC Review – ’27 Hours’ by Tristina Wright

Title:  27 Hours
Author: Tristina Wright
Genre:  Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT+
Date of Publication: 3rd October, 2017
Page Count: 404 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.

I was super excited to be approved for this ARC as 27 Hours has been on my TBR for a long while now – for the most part, it lived up to my expectations! ❤

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