Book Review: For the Clan

I really enjoyed this book. For the Clan had so many different surprises that I consider this to be one of the most memorable books I have read so far this year! I am so thankful to Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to review this novel by Archer Kay Leah.


29470767For the Clan
by Archer Kay Leah
Release Date: May 2016
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Summary from Goodreads:

Canada, 2165 AD. The Water Wars and a decimated economy have taken their toll. Anyone who doesn’t live in a military-patrolled metropolis lives in a clan. But being in a clan doesn’t mean safety.

And for a Ven like Roan Lee, it doesn’t matter where he lives. Safety is a luxury. So is freedom.

Roan is desperate to escape the governtary’s exploitation and torture. He is nothing to them but 54σK1, an artifact born from a genetic mishap. When the chance to escape arises, he makes a run for it—and encounters the lover from his past, twisting his future into a second chance he never expected.

As leaders of Clan Teach, Jace Ama and his wife, Cayra Diega, have enough difficulty keeping their people safe. When Roan is thrown to their feet as a prisoner, their marriage becomes an additional challenge. Jace still loves Roan, but where does that leave Cayra?

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When I requested to review For the Clan, I wanted to read it because it was a dystopian novel that was set in Canada. (Yay, Canadian here!) And what’s more awesome is that my home down of Windsor got a shout out! 😀

I loved the dystopian world that Archer Kay Leah created. It has been written in such a way that it could actually seem plausible for it to happen in the near future, except for the magic using Ven people. I don’t want to leave any spoilers, but the action was AWESOME!

The bulk of this story focuses on a polyamorous romance between Jace, Roan and Cayra. (MMF) I wasn’t expecting this to happen, because the blurb does not really hint to it, but I was pleasantly surprised. The romance felt natural (maybe a little too fast, but still good) and the sex was pretty darn hot. I was a little worried for the author, considering that the romance was only briefly mentioned in the blurb, but it was categorized properly in Amazon, so I guess we’re all good.

The two aspects of the book that I feel needed work were the lack of back story and the “easiness” of it all. I feel like this novel could have easily filled 300+ pages instead of less than 200, and I would have been happy to read every single word. Though the Water Wars were mentioned, I would have appreciated a bit more back story. The rest of the plot moves quick, and their obstacles seem to be over come with little effort (relatively speaking of course).

I love, love, loved the cover. The feel of it is so dystopian, military-action, video-gamy goodness. (I really can’t think of any other way to explain it.)

In closing, I found For the Clan to be a quick, fun read. I hope that the author continues to use their skills and write more dystopian stories in the future.

A free copy of this book was provided for an honest review. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours!

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Camp NaNoWriMo July 2016

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Hooray! – Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 July Edition. 

I’ve decided that I will set my word count goal to 50,000 words even though I’m not exactly sure that I’m going to write. I plan on finishing the first book in a planned trilogy that I started in April’s Camp NaNo. At the end of April, I wrote 40,000 words for the first draft and since then I’ve edited and added about 15,000 more. If everything goes as planned, there’s about 20,000 more words to write on this draft.

After that, I’ll still have 30,000 more words to fill in July and I plan on divvying that up between a few romance novellas that I’ve been writing for KDP. If I manage to hit 50,000 words, it will be the most I’ve ever written in a month and I will be ready to face November NaNoWriMo with more confidence than before.

Wish me luck! You can visit my Camp NaNoWriMo profile here if you want to join in on the fun. 🙂

Series Review: Immortal Beloved

Author Cate Tiernan is probably best known for her Sweep Series. When I had the chance to get all three of the Immortal Beloved books *in hardcover* at once, I quickly snapped them up, without ever having read anything by Teirnan before.
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The Immortal Beloved Series
1 – Immortal Beloved
2 – Darkness Falls
3 – Eternally Yours 

by Cate Tiernan
Release Date: 2010 – 2012
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Summary from Goodreads:

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something’s got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.
Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe–until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

February was the month of digging into the lovely books I purchased on Boxing Day from Book Outlet. After reading many different books all over different series, I was in the mood to read a series from beginning to end and chose Immortal Beloved. The books are around 400 pages each, but they read quick. I actually read the trilogy in about a week, which is an achievement when you’re a mother and a full-time student.

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I loved Natasya (more on that later) and to be honest, I started the book completely jealous of her crazy, care-free immortal life style. That faded as I realized that her partying was her way of coping with 450-ish years of hell. I really bonded with her as a character, which is something I usually have more difficulty than I would like to admit. She’s so… REAL – and that is an aspect in leading roles that seems to be lacking in YA these days.

In my life, I have the privilege of things like war and famine being far away, in history or in the news. Going through the process of self-healing and discovery with Natasya and Rayn brought many feelings to the surface. I felt raw and sad, missing times that were well before my own. Sometimes I wished for 500 year old memories and then realized that living forever seemed more like a curse than a blessing. If there’s one thing that Cate Tiernan does perfectly, it was the flash-back. They were each so richly written that I felt as if I was holding a tiny time machine in my hands. She is a masterful writer.

Going by the blurb, I was worried about insta-love between Natasya and Rayn, but I was pleasantly surprised. Now granted, there was some insta-lust, but I’m pretty sure I’d be giddy over this Viking God too. All of the characters blended together well and all grew at a good pace. Of course, Natasya had some of the best character development.

As i cracked open the second book,  Darkness Falls, I was mostly anticipating what would come for the  “villains”, Boz and Incy. Teirnan wrote these indulgent, self-destructive characters perfectly and I think even in our modern lives, we all know one or two people that remind us of Boz, Incy and the other wayward Immortals. I won’t put any spoilers in here but whoo-wee Incy! I love myself a bad boy … but he took it too far.

Unfortunately, what irked me the most was the inconsistencies in the Immortal’s world/backstory/rules. Half the time the reader got a “It is because I say so” or “It is because it is” answer to basic questions about where the Immortals come from and how they age. The information slowly built up over the course of the series, but many questions were still left unanswered. I would have liked their culture and past to have been a bit more well developed, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the series.

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About the cover change. While the new editions of covers are lovely and cohesive and filled with “girl in a gown” goodness, I prefer the original 2011 covers. They seem to match the tone and topic matter of the novels better. My set at home has the 1st book in the original cover, and the other two in the more recent renditions. I’m glad I have at least one original, because I adore the pendant imprint on it. It’d make a sweet tattoo – just sayin’.

If there’s one thing I love most about Tiernan’s writing, it’s the tone. Natasya’s narration was the perfect mix of funny, sarcastic and self-serving, as I would expect an immortal “teenager” to be. There were several times that I laughed out loud and other times where I shook my head at her ridiculousness. Cate Tiernan has worked in children’s and teen publishing for a long time and she has mastered the technique of a perfect narrator.

There’s a lot more about this book that I could get into, but then this review would go on forever. Let’s just say that this book came to me exactly when I needed it. I’ve been going through some things myself lately and having Natasya go through them with me made me feel like I wasn’t so alone.

The question is now… what to read next? I probably won’t dive into Sweep, because I’ve heard that it can be quick offensive and eye-roll inducing for Wiccans. However, when shopping for this series, I also got my hands on Birthright, which seems like it will be a great read. But I also have a bunch of new releases to read.

If only I was Immortal, then I could finally have the time to read everything.

Book Review: Rogue

In my review of Talon, I definitely came off as indifferent about this series. I enjoyed it enough to want to read Rogue, but I wasn’t in a hurry. However, Rogue surpassed my expectations. I found myself saying “YES! This is the Kagawa I remember!”

Rogue
by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: April 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:

Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragon-slaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he’d signed his own death warrant.

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order’s headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember’s own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

The premise of this series is as follows: dragons infiltrate our society, disguised as humans and St.George soldiers are trying to kill them. It’s a never ending circle of blind hatred, a theme that can be easily understood in the world we live in today.

Rogue is told from rotating points of view: Ember, Garret, Riley/Cobalt and Dante. The narrative merry-go-round was manageable. I think the Talon series could have easily been told in 3rd person, but the 1st person gives more insights into what the characters are thinking (or not-thinking) as it were. It keeps the surprises coming.

I really really hope that Ember gets her stuff together in book 3. She needs to stop thinking about her brother and help Garret with his objective of saving the hatchlings. I think they could really be a kick-butt team if she stopped getting them into compromising situations.

The love triangle was still very … standard-ya-love-triangle-ly. That’s really all I have to say about it. Ember is caught up between two boys, one that represents/speaks to her dragon side, and the other to her human side. Pretty sure she’ll end up with Garret in the end, because love conquers all right? … We’ll have to wait till book 5 for that though.

THAT ENDING THO. – Ugh such another awesome cliff hanger! I won’t say any more but …. GEEZ I want to. D:

Ok, ok I know I complained about the covers in my review of Talon, BUT they’ve grown on me. I’ve started to appreciate the simplicity and how nice they look in a row on my shelf. Cohesive covers is very important to me (because I pretty much just use books to decorate my house.)

The third installment of the Talon Series isn’t going to be released until Fall of 2016. Titled Soldier, I’m assuming its going to concentrate more on Garret than the dragons, but we’ll see. I wish we didn’t have to wait so long, but Julie Kagawa probably needs a break from writing dragons to finish up her Iron Fey series, which hasn’t had a release since 2013. Seriously, this woman is a writing power house! I’ll be looking forward to whatever comes from her – dragons, fae, vampires … who knows what’s will be next?

PS – Julie Kagawa also hand sculpts adorable little dragons and sells them on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KagawaCrafts

   

Across the Distance – Poetry

An old love poem from my 2013 archives about the challenges of long distance relationships.

In a world where I imagine you’re there.
I create the most perfect moments in my head.
The fantasy lets me live in your absence;
Cursed by our long scarlet thread.

Our patience grows weak, but our bond in strong,
No matter what happens, I’ll never regret.
And I’m entirely unashamed to say,
That I’d give my soul to someone I haven’t met.

From WeHeartIt