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TBalla04

99 problems, and a book ain't one

Hello. My name is Tricia, and I have an addiction, an addiction to fiction. Fellow addicts, I welcome you with open arms. Blogger over @ bookwormcoalition.wordpress.com

CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS BY: MARTINA MCATEE

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things - Martina McAtee

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best friends

 

 

This book was AMAZING! I rarely give a first book in a series 5 stars, but if I could give this book a million stars I would!

 

 

all the stars

 

 

The world building was TOP NOTCH. I kept telling my friend this was Ilona Andrews level world building. For those that don't know, that is like the be all end all of world building, in my book at least. It was so vast I kept thinking I could stay in this world forever. I can see where there would be no shortage of stories to be told in this world that McAtee has created. There was a supernatural POWERHOUSE in this book, with plenty of beings that are familiar, shifters, witches, demons, necromancers etc. and some new and fascinating beings I haven't read about before! I enjoyed the fact that Ember was new to this supernatural world too so you got to learn everything about this new mesmerizing place and all its colorful inhabitants side by side with her.

 

 

 

The characters were so diverse and plentiful. There were a lot of people in this story, and there wasn't one that didn't have me completely engrossed in their life. I could not get enough of them! We get a few different POVs in this story, and they are perfectly executed. I am so particular about multiple POVs. If they aren't clearly recognized each time, rather by each voice being distinguishable and unique enough to stand on their own obviously, or by marking it at the chapter changes, I tend to be disappointed. I had no problem with that here. I was honestly kind of blown away how seamlessly the shift was made each time, and even more impressively, how loveable each person was! I was always happy to spend time seeing things through any of their eyes and that is no easy task!

 

 

I love YOU!

 

 

It also needs to be said that this cover is stunning as well! I really can't even do this book enough justice with a review. I loved everything about it, plain and simple. And if any of this sounds even remotely like something you may enjoy, pick this book up because I have a feeling you are going to fall in love with it too.

THE ROMEO CATCHERS BY: ALYS ARDEN

The Romeo Catchers (The Casquette Girls Series) - Alys Arden

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Reading an Alys Arden book is like taking a vacation. Her books make you feel like you're an actual part of the French Quarter. Completely immersive and her love of her city shines through each and every page. You end up feeling as if you are living and breathing the city right along with the characters. I absolutely adore that about these books!

 

 

bayou a drink

 

 

I loved watching the Coven come together and getting to know some new characters as well as getting more background stories from characters we already know and love. Getting to know Niccolo better was quite endearing. I don't know what Arden is trying to do to my heart, but I don't think I could possibly be any more conflicted between Niccolo and Isaac at this point! Seeing Adele and Isaac's relationship flourish in this book was so sweet. I can plainly see that they are pretty darn wonderful together. But even with Niccolo being out of sight, he was never out of mind, and seeing him as this young determined dreamer with so many hopes of a bright future tugged at each one of my heartstrings. I don't even know what I want at this point! I am DYING to see what happens in the next book.

 

 

which one

 

 

I was really excited to see more of the witch magic throughout the story. It was a lot of fun watching Adele, Isaac and Dee building up their coven and finding their place. I am very eager to see this group grow and flourish! I am completely intrigued by their individual growing powers as well! That ending was OUT OF CONTROL. You could tell that it was building to something huge towards the end, and it did not disappoint. I have no idea what will happen next in this story, but I can't wait to find out!

 

 

patience

ROAR BY: CORA CARMACK

Roar - Cora Carmack

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I first heard about Roar around a month or so before it released. The premise instantly intrigued me and I knew I wanted to give this book a try so I pre-ordered it. I am so glad that I did! Roar did not disappoint! It was everything I was hoping it would be, and more!

 

Aurora was such an interesting character. I sympathized with her plight, an heir to her kingdom with a huge secret that could topple it before she even got a chance to take the throne. I liked that she was noble enough to want what was best for her kingdom, not just herself and her pride.

 

 

She needed Stormling magic as much for them as she did for herself. I was impressed with the lengths she was willing to go to become independent and strong enough to lead on her own. And considering her sheltered life, hiding herself away so no one would learn her secret, that she lacked her family magic, I thought her going on this epic journey was just what she needed, not only to find her magic, but to also find herself and get a better understanding of the world and the people that she will be ruling over one day.

 

I have to say that not only was Aurora a wonderful leading lady, but each character in this story was enchanting! I genuinely wanted to know more about each and every one, even the ones with the more nefarious intentions, maybe even especially them. Each character was well thought out and multilayered, and it made the story shine that much brighter for it. I loved the rag tag group of storm hunters!

 

 

These misfits that found something like a family in each other and a home in wherever the winds were blowing up the next big storm. They each had a compelling tale to tell, what lead them to where they are now and the things that shaped them. I feel like we have only just begun to hear their stories and know their motivations and I really can't wait to get more!

 

Besides the amazing set of characters the setting is equally enriching. Carmack has created a vast world here and I am desperately hoping to get to see even more of it in future books! And the magic! I loved the idea of these people who can conquer these storms that seem more beastly than natural. Forces of nature have always been something that equally interests me and frightens me. These things that can just come out of nowhere, wreak such havoc and bow to no man.

 

 

There's a reason "ride out the storm" is a saying, what else can you really do against such raw power? That is part of the reason I found the idea of these people who can stand toe to toe with a storm and steal its heart, its very essence, for their own so wild and compelling! And if that sounds as awesome to you is it did to me...just wait until you get to the end of this book! That twist was not something that I saw coming, and might just be my very favorite thing in this story!

 

 

If you are a fan of fantasy and adventure stories with a strong cast of characters I highly recommend giving this book a read! I am so glad that I did and now begins the excruciating wait for the sequel.

WHITE HOT BY: ILONA ANDREWS

White Hot -  Ilona Andrews

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I was so freaking excited to get my hands on this book! Anything Ilona Andrews is automatically an auto-buy for me. And I had been waiting for the sequel to Burn for Me for sooooo long. Of course, it did not disappoint. I was up till 3am the day I got this because I could not put it down until I got to the very end! I enjoyed jumping right back into Nevada's adventures in Private Investigations.

 

Ilona Andrews does Urban Fantasy so well. Her world building is always on point and the only thing I can say about this one is that it is so well done that I will be crushed if this series doesn't carry on past the slated trilogy. I love the whole magic based hierarchy with the Primes and their unique powers. It is so well thought out and executed that I think there are so many stories to be told in this world. I could easily see it flourishing along the same lines as the Kate Daniels series, and that's saying a lot considering how epic that series is!

 

I love the push and pull and undeniable chemistry between the Nevada and Mad Rogan. Though to be honest I was kind of hoping for a little more of the slow burn, maybe more so as a sign that they might consider further expansion with the series. But there's no denying that Nevada and Mad Rogan were inevitable. As much as I love the two of them together, I am so enamored with Nevada's whole family. They are each individually interesting and compelling, and quite a handful, but all of them together is 110% magical and completely riveting! I need to know more about each of them! Every new little bit of info we get on each of them only makes me NEED to know more. I freaking love this crazy family!

 

I am so glad that we don't have long to wait to get the next book in the series, I just hope it isn't the last! If Urban Fantasy is your thing, I highly recommend that you give this series a try (and the Kate Daniels series too!). You will not be disappointed, this dangerous duo does UF like no one's business!

THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM BY: ELISE KOVA

The Alchemists of Loom - Elise Kova

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The Alchemists of Loom was definitely a unique read. I appreciated the vast world building that Kova pulled off beautifully and I also found the characters to be very dynamic and intriguing. The only thing that threw me off at first was it wasn't exactly clear that the dragons were not actually huge flame breathing beasts, but really people...in a sense. It was confusing at first because you have a distinct picture in your head already of what a dragon should be and unfortunately it takes a bit to understand that the dragons in this story are a breed of their own and nothing like what you thought.

 

Once that little tidbit sinks in you end up wanting to know more about these dragons and the dangerous world you've been immersed in. Of course I was greedy to know more right away, but Kova hands out little nuggets of truth and clarity as you go so it takes awhile to put it all together. All in all I liked the story, even more so after the confusion was cleared up, and I have high hopes that the sequel will be very interesting!

TRAIN WRECK BY: ELISE FABER

Train Wreck (Life Sucks Book 1) - Elise Faber

 

Train Wreck was like a breath of fresh air. It was so cute, light, sweet and funny and it was impossible to not be charmed by Pepper and all her adorkableness. She was honestly one of the most refreshing new characters that I have read in awhile. I think we have all felt like a train wreck of sorts at one time or another, and Pepper managed to make it feel okay to embrace that a little. Or at the very least accept it and still be able to face the day with a smile and a can-do attitude.

 

Pepper and Derek were really cute together. I liked the idea of these two both out trying to find their own way in life, free of the family expectations that don't quite fit them, and ultimately finding a new way together. Even if they were kind of fumbling through it at first, actually that might have been my favorite part.

 

This is the perfect little rom-com that pulls your right in from the beginning and has you rooting for these two to figure things out and make it work. It is a fun, quick read with laugh out loud moments. If you like contemporary romance with a side of comedy I suggest giving Train Wreck a try!

 

 

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

STRANGE THE DREAMER BY: LAINI TAYLOR

Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor
Hello Lazlo Strange.
 
 
magic in your heart
 
 
I was completely charmed by Lazlo. He was a kindred spirit. A bookworm, a hopeless magical romantic with a wild imagination, a dreamer through and through. He had this pure, untainted hopefulness that most of us adults seem to let diminish as we grow older and I just couldn't get enough. Seeing everything through his eyes made you see the world so full of wonder and adventure and it made the experience so much better. You felt his excitement and it made yours increase in the process.
 
 
dont let reality get in the way
 
 
The mystery of Weep was equally as an enchanting! I found myself trying to figure out exactly what could be happening there right along with Lazlo, and I couldn't have dreamt up anything nearly as wondrous than Laini Taylor did. This place and the people were so interesting. Each little piece of information we got about them just made me want to know more!
 
 
all dreamers
 
 
The writing was beautiful as well. Taylor has a way of truly sweeping you away with her words. She paints a vivid picture and you are bound to find yourself blissfully lost in this world of magic and secrets. Truth be told, I loved this book so much that I tracked down the UK special edition with the blue edged pages and original artwork by the author, and it was signed so I was extra excited. I'm going to be collecting a bunch of Strange the Dreamer goodies for the foreseeable future. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book, especially after that ending! I highly recommend this book to fans of fantasy!
 
 

 

THE BONE WITCH BY: RIN CHUPECO

The Bone Witch - Rin Chupeco

It is so hard to say I wasn't at least slightly disappointed in this book. And who knows, maybe that is my own fault. This premise had such sweet sweet promise. My expectations were high. And I have read previous books by Rin Chupeco before and really enjoyed them. I wouldn't go as far as to say I did not enjoy The Bone Witch, but it definitely did not live up to my high expectations.

 

The jumps between a young Tea discovering what she is and the current Tea in exile was initially intriguing to me. I wanted to know how this small, rather timid young girl found herself in such an interesting place. Honestly, most of my issue was with the very slow movement of things for, well, most of the book. While I found parts of young Tea's journey in the beginning interesting, her as a character was not the most engaging. Her true appeal to me more often than not was her power, which was a little of a let down in itself as we rarely got to see her wield it. Her power and the world Chupeco created was really fantastic, as were the stories and quirks of some of the side characters, like Lady Mykeala. 

 

I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. But in the end I can't help but think maybe if the characters (namely Tea) were just a bit more compelling, or maybe if there were a few more twists or bursts of something exciting or gripping amidst the sometimes painstaking descriptions of everything. Always a MAYBE IF. If that something more, something special, something charming happened more than this book could really be something pretty amazing. It had its moments, but I'm not quite sure those moments evened the rest of the waiting for that something special truly worth it. I think I would give the next book a try. I still, after everything, see so much potential here. It would be amazing to see this story really develop in the way I hope it will. I am prepared to still hold on to that hope a little while longer.   

 

I received an ARC of this book from SOURCEBOOKS Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BREAKWATER BY: ERRIN STEVENS

Breakwater  - Errin Stevens

I liked that the fantasy element was much more prominent in Breakwater. I also appreciated that the same level of care was given to the characters. Quite honestly that still remains my favorite thing in this series. It is clear the author spends a great deal of time and detail developing well rounded and mostly well liked characters and intricate relationships. I think Stevens truly shines there.

 

I liked seeing some of the characters that we met in the first book, Updrift, in this one, playing larger roles. And I seeing some new characters that we were introduced to in Breakwater. I do think that there was a lot more going on in Breakwater too, plot wise. Maybe even a little too much with the many sub plots taking place. It was a page turner, but could leave your head spinning a little at times.

 

All in all this was a good read and I enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing what happens with everyone in the next book!

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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DOMINION BY: J. KOWALLIS

— feeling beaten
Dominion (The Enertia Trials Book 4) - J. Kowallis
"The future always changes. Like water ripples interrupted by a falling stick, the afterimage can be disrupted, and in the end, only the strongest claim dominion."
 
What just happened to me? I am convinced that Kowallis's goal was to have her readers feeling as completely ravaged as her characters felt. Well mam,
 
mission accomplished boom
 
You broke me.
 
ruined
 
Over and over again. You had me doubting EVERYTHING. I was stuck in this place of unyielding paranoia. I had to question pretty much everyone, even people I would have sworn were unwavering in their cause. Even my FAVORITE characters were not safe. Even if it was just for a brief moment, I doubted their intentions, I wondered if they could possibly be going darkside.
 
paranoid gif 2
 
And I can just picture you sitting there after finishing writing Dominion cackling with your evil author laugh like...
 
 
tears of my readersevil smirk
 
Dominion was an intense, high anxiety adrenaline rush that does not relent until the very end. And I would not give back a moment of it. Thankfully, Kowallis somehow manages to sneak in a few really sweet moments that end up feeling even more precious because they are happening amidst the sheer chaos going on around them. I also think this book especially highlights just how wonderfully complex the characters are in this series. Each one shows such a wide range in Dominion. No one is the same as they were when they started out in this journey, which is what you want to see by the last book. Even when you were seeing the worst of them they still had your heart, even if, as Roy so eloquently put it, they have that "damn stubbornness and piece-of-shit attitudes that make people want to hit you in the face with a hammer.". Just another reason I adore Roy. That man is a ROCK. I never ceased to be amazed by how stead-fast he was through everything, and he stayed true to that through all the insanity he had to endure in this one.
 
well done sir
 
It is really hard to fully gush about this book because there are just so many things that would spoil the full experience of it and I refuse to do that. If you've come this far with the series I promise that Dominion does not disappoint. You'll feel like a war torn mess after reading it, but you will also feel a sense of peace and hopefulness at the end. Which considering everything that went down in this series, is more than you can ask for.
 
do it again
 
Now, if you're one of the unfortunate souls that has not yet started this series...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
 
poor unfortunate souls
 
It is complete now, and if dystopian is something you like than this series is a DO NOT MISS! I truly can't recommend it enough.
 
I am sad to say goodbye to this series, but I am completely fulfilled and content with the way it ended. And I CAN'T WAIT to see what J. Kowallis comes up with next!
 
im ready gif
 
I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

THE SCOURGE BY: A.G. HENLEY

The Scourge - A.G. Henley

 

So this was a random book I found and had on my kindle. You guys ever play kindle roulette? I was in a funk and not sure what to read next and was so overwhelmed by my tbr that I was taking way too long to decide on what to read next so I finally just blindly chose from what I had and I could not have chosen better than The Scourge! I was camping when I started this and it was the perfect backdrop for reading this story! Just a smidge creepy and set in the woods, I may or may not have brandished my flash light as a weapon at some noises, just sayin.

 

 

flashlight war

 

 

So yeah, not only was the setting for this read perfection, but the story was really great as well! It started out with this post apocalyptic zombiesque feel to it, but then about halfway through there was this awesome twist that I did not see coming at all! I really loved this storyline, it was something totally different and unique.

 

 

say what ron b gif

 

 

And in with that amazing twist somehow things shift from being afraid of the Scourge, to being afraid of what regular ole humans will do when they are afraid, which can be pretty darn terrifying in its own right. Just lots of smart plot work done here all around.

 

 

thats how its done

 

 

The characters were great too. I found it really cool to have the main character, Fennel, be sightless. It amped up the fear factor a bit to imagine a girl growing up in this terrifying world as she did, not being able to see the danger all around her. It was also that much more incredible to me how brave she was to face everything, even the unknown, the way that she did.

 

 

Peree was really great as well. I really like that he looked out for Fennel the way he did, and I liked even more that he was constantly learning from her as well. He had a lot of heart and they both kind of marched to the beat of their own drum so I thought they made a good match. I also really enjoyed the star-crossed romance going on between a Groundling and a Loftie.

 

 

romeo

 

 

The ending set things up nicely to continue with the story in an organic way, a rocky new relationship between the two factions. Which is inevitably bound to have some bumps in the road. I look forward to seeing the story continue!

— feeling excited
The Dark Tower - Stephen King

Who else is really excited about this? I'm digging the trailer. 

A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas
Happy ACOWAR DAY!!
Happy ACOWAR DAY!!

WHO SHE WAS BY: STORMY SMITH

Who She Was - Stormy Smith

 

   There were so many different facets of Who She Was that I appreciated. I'm feeling listy so I'm going to just go ahead and change things up for this review a bit. Oh, Who She Was, how I enjoyed thee, let me LIST the ways...

 

  1. 1) The relationships.

good friends

 

Of course I will start with the most obvious example of this. Charlie and Trevor. Stormy Smith somehow blended two of my favorite contemporary romance themes, hate to love and best friends to romantic love, into some kind of hybrid with Charlie and Trevor in Who She Was. I loved that there was so much history between the two, and they already a kind of intimacy, but at the same time, after so much time had passed since they were last close, paired with growing up and dealing with all the curve balls life has thrown their way over the years, they were also like strangers coming together for the first time. I'm sure that you yourself have experienced that strange phenomenon of running into someone you used to be very close with when you were younger after a long time has passed. They're the same in a sense, but also this completely different person with new quirks, beliefs, issues, etc. that make them someone new too. I really enjoyed watching them get to know each other again, along with seeing clips from their past and seeing how much they have grown and changed and were still changing along the way.

 

 

Okay, so with the obvious out of the way, I also have to mention my appreciation for the side characters as well. I really dislike when characters simply exist to make the main characters shine even more. That was not something that happened in this story. Darcy and Sam were so great. I liked that they were important to this story in their own right, and they each also had their own little story going on in the background. They were growing and shining right along with the main characters. And bringing important and fresh perspectives along the way.

 

 

Lastly for this column, I would like to point out how very well done the hard relationships were done as well. The unhealthy ones that people struggle with throughout life. I feel like sometimes the severity of these relationships are muted in books like this where you expect the budding romance to be the main focus, and many times these other relationships are merely scratched at the surface to further the romantic plot. I appreciated the time taken to analyze these relationships in this story. The consequences, the burden, the way they can shape the person you are and are becoming. They are important too, and their voice was loud and clear.

 

 

2) The music.

 

beatsheart beat

 

 

Music, to me, has always been an important thing in my life. And not because I play it. I learned hot cross buns on the recorder and heart and soul on the piano, but I never quite made it into the musician category. Music is important to me for the sheer fact that it moves me. It has been forever linked with the way I feel. I have a huge appreciation for it, and my tastes are eclectic. So many times you can tell my mood simply by what I am playing in the moment. I have music that speaks to my rage on a bad day, music to soothe when I am feeling chill, music to amp me up and get me in that party kind of mood, etc. And music is linked to so many memories throughout my life. I vividly remember learning to roller-skate with my Walkman (yes, I am that old) to Billy Idol's Mony, Mony. I remember doing the Macarena, Hustle, and Electric slide at my middle school dances, all be it terribly because I have no rhythm but it has never stopped a gal from trying and having fun. Brown-eyed Girl is reminds me of summer nights grades 1-4 and the dad garage band that would play this song every year literally out of a garage during our block party. First concert to first kiss, so many amazing things have been imprinted in my brain to the sound of an unforgettable melody. So, yes, the music being such a core part of this story, and so very important to the characters, it was moving to me. I loved the way they sometimes communicated best with each other through their music. And ultimately, I really respected the way that they choose to define what the music meant to them and how they'd like it to fit in their lives.

 

 

3) Location, location, location.

 

des moines

I want to go

 

The author's personal connection to the setting of the story was apparent in this story. The passionate way she describes the place with such detail really enchants you. I love that you can have that very real connection with this story too. Like this is a place you can visit and see what the characters have seen, and maybe even feel what they were feeling about this place too. I can honestly say that Stormy Smith has successfully added another destination on my personal list of places I would like to visit one day, Des Moines, Iowa. So thank you for that, Stormy.

 

 

 

4) Giving a voice to a taboo subject.

 

talk

 

I don't want to be all spoilery here, so unfortunately I can't really talk much about this particular subject. BUT it is a reality. And I really respect the author for having this element in her story. One thing I truly believe in this life, is there are no taboo issues. That's not to say there aren't issues that require some extra thought and care, but I don't truly believe any subject should be kept quiet or not discussed. Discussion is a good thing. Even the difficult topics, my god ESPECIALLY those. THINK about these things, LEARN about these things, TALK about these things PLEASE. Maybe if we can do that more, some of these things would happen just a little less.  So, thank you, Stormy. Thank you for including this in your story. Thank you for taking such care and consideration with a difficult subject that many people shy away from.

 

 

wrap

 

 

So yeah, those are a few of the things I really liked about Who She Was. I did struggle a bit towards the end of the story when I felt like some of the things the characters were doing seemed uncharacteristically profound for them. I get that they were growing as people and learning, but it felt a little like them being suddenly hit with this deep wisdom beyond their years, rather than more steadily paced realizations, or maybe wo many huge breakthroughs didn't kind of seem to happen so close together that could have made it seem a little less out of character. It almost felt too neatly wrapped for me. I would have loved to see these characters maybe keep a few things unresolved, or rather just not resolved yet. I didn't think there was a need to have it all so prettily packaged at the end. But the flash forward at the very end was pretty gosh darn sweet and I was happy for that addition to the story. All in all this was a very enjoyable read, and I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next!

 

 

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

THE ANIMAL UNDER THE FUR BY: E.J. MELLOW

— feeling surrender
The Animal Under The Fur - E.J. Mellow, Dori Harrell
 
In the Dreamland series the world enchanted, it beckoned you in with its wondrous promise of something more, something otherworldly. In The Animal Under the Fur the beast awed. Earthy, both primitive and refined. Its roar demanded your respect. Its force simultaneously ensnared and enslaved you. Like with any wild animal you encounter, you can't help but admire its beauty and the coiled strength, barely contained, lying in wait just below the surface. 
 
 
 
 
 
Nashville is a tangle of contradictions, both fierce friend and ferocious enemy, caring and yet closed off, fire and ice, wild but never reckless, senses overloaded with every sight, smell, taste and touch, yet never allowing true sensation to penetrate her well guarded barriers. The woman on the outside drawing you in with her allure while the animal inside would have you fleeing, if only to be able to relish the act of chasing down its prey. I truly couldn't get enough of Nashville. Her uninhibited wildness was a siren song I couldn't turn off. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
While Carter proved to be a worthy counterpart, although I think it is impossible to fully match Nashville's brilliance. I was absolutely captivated by their relationship none the less. For their many similarities they also had innate differences that only seemed to make them an even better match for one another. I loved how he got under her skin at every turn, and how elated his dastardly deeds made him. Watching her squirm might have been his favorite past time, and I couldn't get enough. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm not quite sure what I enjoyed more, the fighting or loving! They were magnets, both South and North poles, repelling and attracting with equal force. Either way they went that electric, magnetic intensity bewitched. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The calculated plot helped drive this story and its gloriously enigmatic characters along at a steady pace. This story was driven and concise. A story of blood and teeth and survival of the fittest, with some unexpected twists and turns waiting around the bend. Just strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. 
 
 
 
 
I received a copy of this book from the author (*and I bought one because this book is amazeballs*) in exchange for an honest review.