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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Book Review: Fireblood by Elly Blake





Fireblood (Frostblood Saga #2) by Elly Blake
Genre: Young Adult (Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

All hail the Fire Queen.

Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby’s powers and past…

Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fire Queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax—which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, Ruby no longer knows whom to trust. The fates of two kingdoms are now in her hands. 

Fireblood is the second book in the Frostblood Saga by Elly Blake. Rut ro! Arcus has some competition. I love Arcus, don't get me wrong, but there's something about Kai too. Ruby is a dynamic character. She's been through so much, past and presently.. and you know there's more in store for her. Yet, she continues to grow and adapt as a character to do what she thinks is best. I'm rooting for all these characters. I enjoy each one of them immensely. The story itself gives you so much too. Drama, danger, romance, a bit of humor. It's a hard book to put down, and I can't wait to see what happens next. 


I circled the Frostblood warrior, my boots kicking up dust from the drought-dry earth. One little mistake, one little lapse in focus, would mean defeat.

His left fist twitched before his right came out with a cyclone of frost. But I knew all his favorite tricks, his feints and false moves. I twisted to the right, throwing a plume of fire from my palms.

My vision clouded. A sudden memory took me: my hands, red with fire, stretched toward the icy throne of Fors—the timeless symbol of Frostblood rule—its wicked, gleaming shards mocking my paltry fire. I couldn’t melt it. I couldn’t defeat the curse inside it.

But then another’s frost joined my fire, not extinguishing but creating a blinding blue flame that poured toward the throne, softening its edges, dulling the sharp points, making the ice weep in defeat. I could hear King Rasmus’s delighted laugh as the Minax broke free from the throne’s dying heart, as the shadow creature crept against my skin, seeking entry, promising the joy of a thousand sunbursts and the absence of pain or weakness ever, ever again.

I snapped back to the present, stumbling as an icy blast hit me in the chest. I rolled and regained my feet, but my sight remained foggy, the memory far too real. The skin near my ear where the Minax had marked me burned, and I cried out.

Check our my review of the first book in this saga!


author
NYT bestselling author of the Frostblood Saga. Elly Blake loves fairy tales, old houses, and owls. After earning a BA in English literature, she held a series of seemingly random jobs, including project manager, customs clerk, graphic designer, reporter for a local business magazine, and library assistant. She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky mix who definitely shows Frostblood tendencies.

To learn more about Elly Blake and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.



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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Book Review: Chosen at Nightfall by C.C. Hunter




Chosen at Nightfall (Shadow Falls #5) by C.C. Hunter 
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published:  April 23, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Kylie Galen's life hasn't been the same since her world was turned upside-down in Born at Midnight, Shadow Falls #1, and now an epic conclusion to her journey—not to mention a tough choice between two guys!—is brewing in Chosen at Nightfall:

When Kylie Galen left Shadow Falls, she thought it was the hardest decision of her life. Heartbroken and separated from everyone she loves, she has to embrace her abilities and what it means to be a chameleon. But as Kylie's journey comes to a close, she must return to the camp that started it all... and she must finally chose between the two boys who love her. The werewolf who broke her heart when he chose his pack over her, and the half-fae who ran from their intense attraction before they ever really had a chance. For Kylie, everything will finally be revealed and nothing will ever be the same. 

Chosen at Nightfall is the fifth book in the Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter. I'm so attached to these characters, it's crazy! Even the supporting characters have meaning and purpose to the series. It's been fun watching Kylie grow into her own and develop her abilities. She had some tremendous growth through this series on many levels. The action started from the get go, and so much happens through out the book... it's impossible to put down. This final book wraps everything up nicely. I really hate that it's ending, but I'm pleased with how it ended. I'm waiting for my bus ticket to Shadow Falls.


Chapter One


Kylie Galen looked up from the slice of pepperoni pizza on the fine china plate and tried to ignore the ghost swinging the bloody sword right behind her grandfather and great-aunt. Her newfound family members were … good people, but a tad on the proper side. And proper people probably wouldn't appreciate an uninvited ghost getting their dining room walls bloody.
The spirit, a female, dark flowing hair, in her early thirties, stopped in mid-swing and stared directly at Kylie. You kill or be killed. It's really rather simple. The words reverberated in Kylie's head. They were communicating telepathically, and considering the topic being discussed, that was probably for the best.
That's not simple, Kylie shot back. And I'm trying to eat, so would you mind leaving?
That's rude, the ghost said. You're supposed to help spirits. You need to abide by your guidelines.
Kylie twisted the cloth napkin she'd placed in her lap. Okay, was there something written in the rule books about a ghost whisperer having to be polite to obnoxious spirits?
Oh, wait, she didn't have a freaking rule book, or guidelines. She was winging it. Winging everything, in fact: ghost whispering, being a supernatural, being someone's girlfriend.
Being someone's ex-girlfriend!
Lately it felt like she was winging her whole damned life, and making a fine mess of things, too. Like her decision to leave Shadow Falls, the camp/recently turned boarding school for paranormal teens. It had felt like the right thing to do at the time.
Had.
She'd been here at the chameleons' compound less than two weeks, and she wasn't so sure anymore.
True, she'd had a good reason to come—to discover more about her paranormal heritage. To get to know Malcolm Summers, her grandfather, and her great-aunt Francyne.
Months after learning she wasn't all human, she'd finally discovered she was a chameleon, a rare species that had gone into hiding after an organized unit of the paranormal government, the Fallen Research Unit, the FRU, had used them as lab rats to try to explain their abilities. Kylie's own grandmother had died as a result. And now the same branch of the FRU wanted to take Kylie in for testing. That was so not happening!
However, Kylie's main motivation for leaving Shadow Falls didn't have anything to do with the FRU, or with finding out about her heritage. Nope. It had everything to do with running away.
Running away from Lucas, the werewolf she'd fallen in love with. The werewolf who had promised his soul to another werewolf and expected Kylie to believe it meant nothing. How could he have done that? How could he have kissed Kylie with all that passion for the last month, yet every time he went to his dad's house, he was seeing that girl? How could Kylie stay at Shadow Falls and continue to face him?
The problem was, she might have run away from Lucas, but she'd brought the heartbreak with her. And now, she wasn't just hurting over a certain werewolf; she was hurting because … every cell in her body missed Shadow Falls. Okay, so maybe not really Shadow Falls, but she missed the people. Friends who had become as close as family: Holiday, the fae camp leader, who was like a big sister. Burnett, the stern vampire, the other camp leader who was a friend and sort of a father figure wrapped into one. Her two roommates, Della and Miranda, who'd felt abandoned by Kylie when she left. And Derek, who'd vowed his love to her, even when he knew she loved Lucas.
Oh God, she missed everyone so much. Amazingly, she was only a few miles away from Shadow Falls, tucked away in a secluded spot in what Texans referred to as the hill country, and yet it might as well have been across the world.
Sure, she'd spoken to Holiday every day. At first, her grandfather had refused her this right, but her aunt had insisted he see reason. He'd relented, but only if she used a certain phone and kept the conversations very short, so the calls couldn't be traced. And by no means could Kylie tell anyone where she was.
Because of the camp's affiliation with the FRU, her grandfather didn't trust anyone at Shadow Falls. And his distrust only added to Kylie's feelings of isolation from everyone she loved. Even her mom, who called to inform her that she was about to fly to England with John, her mom's new boyfriend, whom Kylie wasn't so sweet on. Sure, her granddad allowed her to call her mom back every time she called. So they had spoken twice. But only twice.
Kylie's throat knotted with tears, but she refused to cry. She had to be strong. Pull up her big-girl panties and be an adult.
"Is the pizza to your liking?" Francyne, her great-aunt, asked.
"Yes, it's great." Kylie watched the two older people slice into their piece of pepperoni pizza as if it were steak. She knew they served it just for her—because after barely touching her meals these last few days, they'd asked about her favorite foods. Feeling obligated, both to eat and to comply with their show of manners, she forced herself to cut a bite of pizza from her slice and slip it into her mouth.
She wasn't vampire right now, so she should be able to enjoy food. But nope.
Nothing tasted right.
Nothing felt right.
Not eating pizza with a fork off a fine china plate that looked old and rare enough to be in a museum. Not sitting at this fancy dining table with a formal place setting. And especially not feeling right was the spirit who now moved in closer to her grandfather and held the sword over his head.
Kylie stared at the spirit. Either tell me exactly what you need, that doesn't involve murder, or go away.
A drop of blood splattered onto her grandfather's forehead. Not that he could feel it or see it. But Kylie could. The spirit performed this show just to get Kylie's attention.
And it was working.
Stop it! Leave. Kylie shot a warning glance at the spirit.
You are in a nasty mood, huh? the ghost said.
Yeah, she was, Kylie admitted to herself. A broken heart would do that to you. It pretty much sucked the joy out of life. Or maybe what sucked the most was missing everyone.
Not that Kylie's time here had been in vain. She'd discovered a lot about herself, about chameleons, these thirteen days. Chameleons had only come into being in the last hundred years. While they considered themselves a species, they were really a blend of all paranormals—individuals who retained the DNA and powers of all the species.
Problem was, learning to control that power was a real bitch. Most chameleons didn't even master the feat until their mid-twenties. Not that there were a lot of young chameleons trying to master things. Chameleons were rare. Her grandfather said about a hundred compounds existed across the world, but in total there were less than ten thousand of her kind. And only one in ten chameleon couples had been able to produce a child. Hence the low population.
Kylie couldn't help but wonder if she'd ever be able to have a child. But damn, she was sixteen, too young to start worrying about being infertile.
"How did classes go today?" her grandfather asked.
Kylie focused on the man. In his seventies, his hair held tight to its strawberry blond color, with only a few signs of graying. His eyes, a vivid light blue, matched hers and her father's.
Another drop of blood landed on his cheek. Kylie scowled at the smirking spirit who sliced the sword though the air only an inch above his head.
I said, stop it! Kylie tightened her eyes.
"So it didn't go well?" her grandfather asked, obviously reading Kylie's expression.
"No, it went fine. I'm … I was able to switch my pattern from a werewolf to a fae." Supernaturals all had patterns that could be seen by other supernaturals. Chameleons had their own pattern, one they hid. And unlike any other supernatural they could change into any other species, and attain this species' powers with the transformation.
Problem was, like their other powers, it wasn't easy to control. Classes here didn't involve so much English, math, and science, but training on how to control one's powers and to hide their true pattern from the world.
"That's amazing. Then why the long face?" her grandfather asked.
"It's just…" I'm miserable here. I want to go back to Shadow Falls. The words sat on the tip of her tongue, but she couldn't say them. Not until she knew for sure that she'd given this a shot. And until she knew how she would survive facing Lucas.
"I wasn't frowning at you. It's—"
"Kylie has company," Francyne said. Her aunt wasn't a full-fledged ghost whisperer. She claimed she couldn't see them or hear them, but she could pick up on a spirit's presence easily.
The ghost held the sword up, pointing it at the ceiling as if making some big declaration. You're about to have more company.
Kylie didn't know what that was supposed to mean, but she focused on her confused-looking grandfather now and not the spirit.
"Company?" Her grandfather looked at his sister-in-law. "Oh." He tensed. Then his eyes widened. "Is it my wife, or my son, Daniel?"
"No." Kylie wished Daniel, her father, who'd died before she was born, would come for a visit. She could use some TLC, and her father was really good at offering it. However, he'd used all his allotted time on earth.
"It's not them. It's … someone else," Kylie answered.
Someone who had yet to explain what she wanted or needed. Well, except to tell Kylie she needed her to kill someone. What did the spirit think Kylie was? A killer for hire?
The spirit leaned down close to her grandfather's ear. It's a shame you can't see me. You're kind of cute. She proceeded to lick the blood from his cheek. Slowly. And she looked at Kylie when she did it.
Kylie dropped her fork. "Stop licking my grandfather, right now!"
The spirit brought her tongue back into her mouth and stared at Kylie. Stop fighting your fate. Accept what you must do. Let me teach you how you must kill him.
"Kill who?" Kylie blurted out, and then flinched when she realized she'd been speaking aloud.
"Lick? Kill? What?" her grandfather asked.
"Nothing," Kylie insisted. "I was talking—"
"She was talking to the spirit, I think," her aunt said, her brows pinched in worry.
"About killing someone?" her grandfather asked, and shot Kylie a direct look.
When Kylie didn't answer, Malcolm glanced around the room as if nervous. His expression of fear reminded her so much of the other supernaturals at Shadow Falls.
That's when a thought hit. She'd come here thinking she'd fit in, and yet, even living on a compound of about fifty acres in Texas hill country, with about twenty-five other chameleons, she still didn't fit in. And it wasn't just the ghost whispering, but the fact that she was so much further advanced than the four other teens here. And they weren't overly thrilled to be shown up by the newbie, either.
The elders of the group—which included her grandfather and great-aunt and about four others—guessed that Kylie's early development was because she was also a protector, a supernatural with amazing strength. While that sounded pretty cool, she would argue with that definition for so many reasons.
Topping those reasons was that she could only use those powers to protect others, and never herself. Which to Kylie didn't make a lick of sense. If she was in charge of protecting others, wasn't it important that she kind of stay alive? Who the heck had made that rule?
Kylie sighed, a sigh that felt as sorrowful on the inside as it sounded leaving her lips. Was it simply her destiny to always be a misfit?
Her grandfather leaned forward and set his silver fork and knife beside the expensive piece of china. "Kylie, I hate to intrude with your … spirit matters, but why would a spirit be conversing with you about killing someone?"
Kylie bit down on her lip and tried to find a way to explain without completely freaking them out. Especially when it freaked her out. She opened her mouth to say something, but was saved by a bell. A very loud bell, more like a siren. The lights in the chandelier over the table started flickering.
Her grandfather, his frown deepening, pulled out a cell phone from his perfectly pressed white dress shirt, punched one button, and held it to his ear. "What is it?" He paused. "Who?" he snapped, and cut his eyes to Kylie. "I'll be right there!"
He turned the phone off and shot up from his chair, and then faced his sister-in-law. "You and Kylie disappear. Hide out in the barn. I'll be there shortly."
By disappear, Kylie surmised he meant vanish, another thing a chameleon could do. Vanish. Like into thin air.
"What's going on?" Kylie asked, remembering the ghost saying she was about to get company.
"We have intruders." His deep, matter-of-fact tone sounded deeper, more serious.
"Intruders?" Kylie asked.
His eyes tightened. "It's the FRU! Now vanish."
Her aunt came around the table and reached for Kylie's hand. Then the woman vanished, and in a fraction of a second, Kylie looked down and her own legs had disappeared.


Check out my reviews of other books in this series!

author
C. C. Hunter is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty-five books, including her wildly popular Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark series. In addition to winning numerous awards and rave reviews for her novels, C.C. is also a photojournalist, motivational speaker, and writing coach. In February 2018, Wednesday Books will publish her contemporary young adult and hardcover debut, This Heart of Mine. And the first book of her new paranormal young adult series, The Mortician's Daughter: One Foot in the Grave was released on October 31st 2017. C. C. currently resides in Texas with her husband, junkyard dog, Lady, and whatever wild creatures that meander out from woods surrounding home.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels.

To learn more about C.C. Hunter and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

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