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Kresley Cole

    Review: THE DARK CALLING by Kresley Cole

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    Title & Series: THE DARK CALLING (The Arcana Chronicles #6)
    Author: Kresley Cole
    Release date: February 13, 2018
    Publisher: Valkyrie Press
    Pages: 350
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook

    The Description…

    New intrigues, adventures, and stunning revelations fill the penultimate installment of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s electrifying Arcana Chronicles.

    In a world teetering on the edge . . .

    When Evie receives life-changing—and possibly game-changing—news, she has trouble believing it. Why doesn’t she feel any different? Is it possible someone she trusts might be lying?

    With enemies at every turn . . .

    Tensions seethe inside the castle of lost time as Evie starts to doubt her own sanity. Answers can be found outside their stronghold, but will Death help her find them—or prevent her from learning the truth about her future and Jack’s possible survival?

    Darkness beckons. 

    A mysterious, sinister power begins to affect the Arcana in its path. Forced out into the wasteland alone, Evie must depend on unexpected allies. But as a battle with Richter looms, can her new alliance defeat the Dark Calling before hell reigns on earth?

    AMAZON HC | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | THE ARCANA CHRONICLES | GOODREADS

    Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the author’s publicist in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


    The Review

    Unexpected. Heartbreaking. Shocking. Surprising. Intense. Amazing. Game-changer. THE DARK CALLING will make jaws drop – many, many times. It promises twists that are astonishing, unforeseen, exciting, fascinating, epic. A new player is revealed. A few players make their exit. Others make their power plays. And several players struggle just to survive.

    With the game nearing its end, the post-Flash world is falling even further into ruin, causing some cards to weaken – from hunger, from loss of power, from madness. The Fool continues to make moves, pushing players toward an outcome he has not yet revealed. The final card makes itself known with devastating consequences. Plans and alliances have to be reassessed. And the Empress will have far more to deal with then she could ever have imagined.

    With food supplies running low, and desperation growing among those that remain in the Ash, the safest place for Evie is with Death. But when his home turns from haven to danger zone, she’ll have to take her chances with the slavers, baggers, and others not in her alliance. Players like Richter and Zara.

    Unable to tap into the strongest of her powers, in mourning and stunned by the turns of events that made her go on the run, out of contact with Matthew, and unsure about what comes next, she’ll have to trust in the tenuous alliance she has with a card she defeated in the past, find a way to reach an ally she does trust with her life, keep ahead of those in pursuit, find food that doesn’t involve cannibalism, and learn how to defeat her newest nemesis.

    Kresley Cole is a master at keeping the thrill, the heat, the heartache alive well into a series – and she brought that mastery to this installment in spades. It is nail-bitingly suspenseful. There are a multitude of surprises. There are tragic, heart-rending losses. There is enough romance in a single kiss to more than satisfy.

    The game continues on toward its seemingly inevitable, cataclysmic conclusion. But how it will end remains a mystery. Who the victor will be has yet to be divulged. Whose alliances will hold is undetermined. Who will even be capable of fighting in the final installment is unknown. And whether Evie will give herself over to the Red Witch is still uncertain. All of which guarantee a gripping and wildly entertaining read with the promise of an even more extraordinary, astounding, breathtaking series conclusion.

    THE DARK CALLING is exceptional, riveting, unpredictable, unforgettable, must-devour, and well worth the wait. Those who have been looking for answers will finally have them. Those who can’t get enough of the Empress’s complicated love life will be satiated. Those looking for an edge-of-your-seat page-turner will be perched precariously on the very edge of their seats, flying through every single page. And those not looking to be left on the edge of a cliff at the story’s end will be over-the-moon happy, but just as eagerly awaiting the next installment as if they were.

    The Rating

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


    About the Author

    Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers series, and five award-winning historical romances.

    A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.

    Her IAD books have been translated into 23 foreign languages, garnered 3 RITA awards, a Hall of Fame induction, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

    Cole lives in Florida with her family.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


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    Top 10 of 2017: Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2018


    Welcome to Day Five of the Top 10 of 2017

    A WEEK OF LOOKING BACK…

    …AND LOOKING FORWARD

    And thank you to everyone who participated, followed along, or shared their favorite reads in the comments on each of the hosts’ blogs and instagrams. Here’s to a great reading year. The books coming out in 2018 are going to be awesome!

    As mentioned previously…

    It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since I began co-hosting the event with Jaime of Two Chicks on Books. Over the years the event has changed a bit, as have the hosts, and I’m so thrilled that this year in addition to the incredible Jaime of Two Chicks on Books, Nancy and Christy of Tales of the Ravenous Reader, and Bridget of Dark Faerie Tales, we are joined by Fallon of Seeing Double in Neverland and the lovely ladies at Take Me Away To A Great Read!

    And, for the first time ever, we’re stoked to have an Instagram component, headed up by Bridget @DarkFaerieTales_.

    I haven’t been blogging very much during the last half of the year, but nearly every book I have read this year has been amazing. So I have a few favorites from the year to share.

    If you haven’t yet heard of the Top 10 of 2017 week-long event, in a nutshell it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours over the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    Yet again, we’re each hosting our own giveaways on each of the five days of this challenge – Head over to Two Chicks on Books for the Day One giveaway, I hosted Day Two’s giveaway, Tales of the Ravenous Reader hosted Day Three’s giveaway, Day Four’s giveaway is at Take Me Away to a Great Read, and Day Five’s giveaway is at Seeing Double in Neverland. So be sure be to visit each of our blogs this week to share your post links and enter the giveaways!

    AND, if you head over to Bridget @ DarkFaerieTales’ Instagram, she’ll be hosting an event-long giveaway,

    The Books I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2018

    Okay, so for today’s list I have so many books I can’t wait to read that are coming out in 2018. (And one that I had on last year’s list that had a bit of a delay but now has an official release date.) So there is an honorable mentions list, because I just couldn’t stop at 10, especially since most of my top anticipated reads are continuations of series and there are quite a few standalones and new series that I’m excited about.

    #1

    THE DARK CALLING (The Arcana Chronicles #5) by Kresley Cole


    #2

    THE DARKEST LEGACY (The Darkest Minds #4) By Alexandra Bracken


    #3

    THE TRAITOR’S RUIN (The Traitor’s Circle #2) by Erin Beatty


    #4

    BETWEEN THE BLADE AND THE HEART (Valkyrie #1) by Amanda Hocking


    #5

    UNEARTHED (Unearthed #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


    #6

    NIGHTBLOOD (Frostblood Saga #3) by Elly Blake


    #7

    99 LIES (100 Hours #2) by Rachel Vincent


    #8

    DEFY THE WORLDS (Constellation #2) by Claudia Gray


    #9

    GENESIS (Project Nemesis #2) by Brendan Reichs


    #10

    LOST CROW CONSPIRACY (Blood Rose Rebellion #2) by Rosalyn Eves


    Honorable Mentions

    I have so many books I’m excited for in 2018 that I couldn’t stop at listing just the 10 above. And while this honorable mentions list doesn’t include every book I can’t wait to read, it does include just 10 more of them that I would have included above if “10” wasn’t quite so specific a number.

    And I also can’t wait to hear more about Marie Rutkoski’s upcoming series, the first book rumored to be slated for release this year.


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    Top 10 of 2017: Best Book Boyfriends


    Welcome to Day Four of the Top 10 of 2017

    A WEEK OF LOOKING BACK…

    …AND LOOKING FORWARD

    As mentioned previously…

    It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since I began co-hosting the event with Jaime of Two Chicks on Books. Over the years the event has changed a bit, as have the hosts, and I’m so thrilled that this year in addition to the incredible Jaime of Two Chicks on Books, Nancy and Christy of Tales of the Ravenous Reader, and Bridget of Dark Faerie Tales, we are joined by Fallon of Seeing Double in Neverland and the lovely ladies at Take Me Away To A Great Read!

    And, for the first time ever, we’re stoked to have an Instagram component, headed up by Bridget @DarkFaerieTales_.

    I haven’t been blogging very much during the last half of the year, but nearly every book I have read this year has been amazing. So I have a few favorites from the year to share.

    If you haven’t yet heard of the Top 10 of 2017 week-long event, in a nutshell it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours over the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    Yet again, we’re each hosting our own giveaways on each of the five days of this challenge – Head over to Two Chicks on Books for the Day One giveaway, I hosted Day Two’s giveaway, Tales of the Ravenous Reader hosted Day Three’s giveaway, Day Four’s giveaway is at Take Me Away to a Great Read, and Day Five’s giveaway will be at Seeing Double in Neverland. So be sure be to visit each of our blogs this week to share your post links and enter the giveaways!

    AND, if you head over to Bridget @ DarkFaerieTales’ Instagram, she’ll be hosting an event-long giveaway,

    The Best Book Boyfriends of 2017

    I haven’t read too many YA books this year where it was all about the swoon-worthy guy. So most of my book boyfriends are of the non-ya variety. But I did read (if not always review) a few fantastic reads where it was all about the swooning.

    #1

    Who: Vlad Tepesh. Why? Because it’s Vlad.

    INTO THE FIRE (Night Prince #4) by Jeaniene Frost – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | AVONGOODREADS


    #2

    Who: Edward “Teach” Drummond. Why? Because Nicole Castroman turned the ruthless pirate Blackbeard into a swoon-worthy hero.

    BLACKSOULS (Blackhearts #2) by Nicole Castroman – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | SIMON & SCHUSTER | GOODREADS


    #3

    Who: Titus Alexander. Why? Because oooh the chemistry.

    BLIND TIGER (Wildcats #2) by Rachel Vincent – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | GOODREADS


    #4

    Who: Abyssian “Sian” Infernas. Why? Because who doesn’t love the King of Hell?

    WICKED ABYSS (Immortals After Dark #18) by Kresley Cole – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #5

    Who: Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual. Why? Mmmm… sizzling romance.

    THE DARKEST PROMISE (Lords of the Underworld #13) by Gena Showalter – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | HARLEQUINGOODREADS


    #6

    Who: Abel. Why? Okay, so he’s not exactly human. Or even living in the “normal” sense of the word. So, he’s definitely not a typical book boyfriend. But he’s amazing and adorable and funny and swoon-worthy. So I had to include him here. After all, I’ve swooned over vamps and demons, so why not…

    DEFY THE STARS (Defy the Stars #1) by Claudia Gray – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUNDWEBSITE | GOODREADS


    #7

    Who: Max Holden. Why? Ahhh the angst!!!!

    KISSING MAX HOLDEN by Katy Upperman – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | MACMILLANFIERCE READS | GOODREADS


    #8

    Who: Porter Roth. Why? Read it and you’ll know why… *grins*

    ALEX, APPROXIMATELY by Jenn Bennett – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | SIMON & SCHUSTER | RIVETED LIT | GOODREADS


    #9

    Who: Alexander Hamilton. Why? Okay, so maybe he’s not particularly swoon-worthy. And in reality he did not sound like such a great catch. But the fictional version was just so delightfully romantic and played the underdog well. And this is all about book boyfriends… so I couldn’t resist choosing him.

    ALEX & ELIZA by Melissa de la Cruz – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | GOODREADS


    #10

    Who: Leo – the Beast of Benwick. Why? He’s lethal. Oh, and not to forget…. the slow-burn romance of it all.

    HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS (The Embraced #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | MACMILLAN | GOODREADS


    I don’t have any honorable mentions, as most of the books I’ve read were about tragedies, strong heroines, life experiences. And while it’s entirely possible I forgot a few reads where I swooned a bit over the “hero” I’m perfectly happy with my ten choices.


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    Top 10 of 2016: Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2017

    Welcome to Day Five of the Top 10 of 2016

    A WEEK OF LOOKING BACK…

    …AND LOOKING FORWARD

    As mentioned previously…

    I can’t believe that I’ve been co-hosting this event for six years with Jaime of Two Chicks on Books and three years with Nancy of Tales of the Ravenous Reader! And while I’m so sad that Mindy won’t be joining us this year, I’m thrilled that Bridget of Dark Faerie Tales has joined the team, as has Nancy’s blog partner, Christy.

    I haven’t read a ton of books this year, or blogged very much, so I almost decided not to participate. But this event is so much fun that I just couldn’t miss out.

    If you haven’t yet heard of the Top 10 of 2016 week-long event, in a nutshell it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours over the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    Yet again, we’re each hosting our own giveaways on four of the five days of this challenge – We’re taking Day One off, Dark Faerie Tales is hosting Day Two’s giveaway, I am hosting Day Three’s giveaway, Two Chicks on Books is hosting Day Four’s giveaway, and Tales of the Ravenous Reader is hosting Day Five’s giveaway. So be sure to visit each of our blogs this week to share your post links and enter the giveaways!

    The Book I’m Looking Forward to in 2017

    There are SO many books I can’t wait to meet in 2017 – some I don’t even yet know I want to meet – and even more books in series that I want to continue reading. But I had to choose just ten.

    However, for this post it doesn’t matter how few books I read this year, so I am totally listing a few honorable mentions.

    I just wish I knew whether certain series were continuing in 2017 or at all…. like Leah Clifford’s Resurrectionist seriesJenna Black’s Gifted series or Sara Shepard’s The Amateurs.

    And I WISH I hadn’t read a few books in 2016 that I totally would have listed as books I’m looking forward to in 2017 – 100 HOURS by Rachel Vincent, ROSEBLOOD by A.G. Howard, FLICKER AND MIST by Mary G. Thompson, and WAYFARER by Alexandra Bracken.

    #1

    SPECTACLE (Menagerie #2) by Rachel Vincent

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    #2

    THE DARK CALLING (The Arcana Chronicles #5) by Kresley Cole

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    #3

    STRANGE THE DREAMER (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

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    #4

    BLACKSOULS (Blackhearts #2) by Nicole Castroman

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    #5

    NOW I RISE (The Conqueror’s Saga #2) by Kiersten White

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    #6

    THE VALIANT by Lesley Livingston

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    #7

    WARCROSS (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

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    #8

    BLACKLIST (Beautiful Idols #2) by Alyson Noël

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    #9

    RISE OF FIRE (Reign of Shadows #2) by Sophie Jordan

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    #10

    PERFECT (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern

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    The Honorable Mentions

    I could list dozens, but to be fair I’m only choosing ten. And they are…


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    Top 10 of 2016: Best Book Boyfriends of 2016

    Welcome to Day Four of the Top 10 of 2016

    A WEEK OF LOOKING BACK…

    …AND LOOKING FORWARD

    As mentioned previously…

    I can’t believe that I’ve been co-hosting this event for six years with Jaime of Two Chicks on Books and three years with Nancy of Tales of the Ravenous Reader! And while I’m so sad that Mindy won’t be joining us this year, I’m thrilled that Bridget of Dark Faerie Tales has joined the team, as has Nancy’s blog partner, Christy.

    I haven’t read a ton of books this year, or blogged very much, so I almost decided not to participate. But this event is so much fun that I just couldn’t miss out.

    If you haven’t yet heard of the Top 10 of 2016 week-long event, in a nutshell it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours over the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    Yet again, we’re each hosting our own giveaways on four of the five days of this challenge – We’re taking Day One off, Dark Faerie Tales is hosting Day Two’s giveaway, I am hosting Day Three’s giveaway, Two Chicks on Books is hosting Day Four’s giveaway, and Tales of the Ravenous Reader is hosting Day Five’s giveaway. So be sure to visit each of our blogs this week to share your post links and enter the giveaways!

    The Best Book Boyfriends of 2016

    It wasn’t easy picking bookish boyfriends for this year’s post. I read quite a few YA contemporaries this year and my bookish boyfriends almost always come from non-contemporary stories unless they’re NA. Also, I wasn’t able to catch up on all series with my forever bookish boyfriends so I had to put a bit more thought into my selections. And, for a couple books I was torn between two characters, which made choosing that much harder. But I finally decided, and here they are…


    #1

    ARIC

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    Title & Series: ARCANA RISING (The Arcana Chronicles #4)
    Author: Kresley Cole
    Release date: August 15, 2016
    Publisher: Valkyrie Press
    Pages: 280
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole.

    When the battle is done . . . 
    The Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe strikes back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

    And all hope is lost . . . 
    With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

    Vengeance becomes everything.
    To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #2

    DIMITRI

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    Title: VAMPIRE ACADEMY (10th Anniversary Edition)
    Author: Richelle Mead
    Release date: November 29, 2016
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Pages: 512
    Formats: Paperback, eBook

    Description…

    St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

    Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUNDGOODREADS


    #3

    ELIAS

    ATorchAgainstTheNight

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    Title & Series: A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT (An Ember in the Ashes #2)
    Author: Sabaa Tahir
    Release date: August 30, 2016
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Pages: 464
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Elias and Laia are running for their lives.

    After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

    Laia is determined to break into Kauf – the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison – to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

    But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene – Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

    Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own – one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape… and kill them both.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #4

    PAUL

    MillionWorldsWith_jkt_des1.indd

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    Title & Series: A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU (Firebird #3)
    Author: Claudia Gray
    Release date: November 1, 2016
    Publisher: HarperTeen
    Pages: 432
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite’s hands in the final installment of the Firebird trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

    Ever since she used the Firebird, her parent’s invention, to cross through alternate dimensions, Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud. Now she has learned that the evil Triad Corporation plans to destroy hundreds of universes, using their ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite who is wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead.

    Even though her boyfriend Paul has always been at Marguerite’s side, the Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man, and he may never be the same again. Marguerite alone must stop Triad and prevent the destruction of the multiverse. It’s a battle of the Marguerites . . . and only one can win.

    In the epic conclusion to the sweeping series that kicked off with A Thousand Pieces of You, fate and family will be questioned, loves will be won and lost, and the multiverse will be forever changed.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #5

    MATHER

    3-frostlikenight_final

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    Title & Series: FROST LIKE NIGHT (Snow Like Ashes #3)
    Author: Sara Raasch
    Release date: September 20, 2016
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Pages: 496
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

    Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

    Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

    Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

    As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #6

    TEACH

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    Title & Series: BLACKHEARTS (Blackhearts #1)
    Author: Nicole Castroman
    Release date: February 9, 2016
    Publisher: Simon Pulse
    Pages: 384
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

    Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

    Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

    From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #7

    PLOY

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    Title & Series: VIAL THINGS (Resurrectionist #1)
    Author: Leah Clifford
    Release date: August 9, 2016
    Publisher: Self-published
    Pages: 221
    Formats: eBook

    Description…

    When the resurrectionists of Fissure’s Whipp begin disappearing, eighteen-year-old Allie knows someone is after their blood—or, more accurately, the genetic mutation that allows their blood to heal wounds, save lives and even bring back the recently deceased.

    Raised by her aunt after her parents’ deaths, Allie knows staying vigilant means staying alive. She’s trained her whole life to protect herself by any means necessary, from self defense classes to extensive weapons training in knives. Now, she’s gone so far as to befriend a homeless boy named Ploy who unknowingly trades a few nights a week on her couch in exchange for being a human tripwire to those hunting her.

    But as Allie and Ploy’s feelings for each other grow, Allie realizes this time, she’ll need more than fighting skills and a sharp blade to beat a villain literally out for blood.

    Protecting a girl he shouldn’t love, from a threat he understands too well, Ploy must face his past to save his future in Allie’s world—a world where bringing back the dead can cost you your life.

    AMAZON | GOODREADS


    #8

    KHALID

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: THE ROSE & THE DAGGER (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)
    Author: Renée Ahdieh
    Release date: April 26, 2016
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 432
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Description…

    The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

    In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

    Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

    The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #9

    LORD THORNTON

    ARCHITECT book cover front for online

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    Title & Series: THE ARCHITECT OF SONG (Haunted Hearts Legacy #1)
    Author: A.G. Howard
    Release date: August 15, 2016
    Publisher: A.G. Howard
    Pages: 425
    Formats: Paperback, eBook

    Description…

    A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

    For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

    To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

    International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

    New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+.

    AMAZON | GOODREADS


    #10

    FOWLER

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: REIGN OF SHADOWS (Reign of Shadows #1)
    Author: Sophie Jordan
    Release date: February 9, 2016
    Publisher: HarperTeen
    Pages: 304
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

    But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

    With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    I opted not to officially choose any honorable mention bookish boyfriends, though I was so tempted to list a few of my favorite not-so-boyfriend-material villains as book boyfriends like Enzo Valenciano (wrong for so many reasons) or King Maven to name just two…


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    Leave a link to your Best Book Boyfriends in 2016 posts in the Linky List below…



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    Top 10 of 2016: Best Books I’ve Read in 2016

    Welcome to Day One of the Top 10 of 2016

    A WEEK OF LOOKING BACK…

    …AND LOOKING FORWARD

    I can’t believe that I’ve been co-hosting this event for six years with Jaime of Two Chicks on Books and three years with Nancy of Tales of the Ravenous Reader! And while I’m so sad that Mindy won’t be joining us this year, I’m thrilled that Bridget of Dark Faerie Tales has joined the team, as has Nancy’s blog partner, Christy.

    I haven’t read a ton of books this year, or blogged very much, so I almost decided not to participate. But this event is so much fun that I just couldn’t miss out.

    If you haven’t yet heard of the Top 10 of 2016 week-long event, in a nutshell it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours over the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    Yet again, we’re each hosting our own giveaways on four of the five days of this challenge – We’re taking Day One off, Dark Faerie Tales is hosting Day Two’s giveaway, I’ll be hosting Day Three’s giveaway, Two Chicks on Books is hosting Day Four’s giveaway, and Tales of the Ravenous Reader is hosting Day Five’s giveaway. So be sure to visit each of our blogs this week to share your post links and enter the giveaways!

    The Best Books I’ve Read in 2016

    While I haven’t read nearly as many books this year as last year – I still have so many, many must read books to read – I have read some pretty amazing books. And while choosing just ten was not at all easy, it was even harder figuring out the order…

    #1

    An ending that will kill you….

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: ARCANA RISING (The Arcana Chronicles #4)
    Author: Kresley Cole
    Release date: August 15, 2016
    Publisher: Valkyrie Press
    Pages: 280
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole.

    When the battle is done . . . 
    The Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe strikes back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

    And all hope is lost . . . 
    With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

    Vengeance becomes everything.
    To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #2

    A kick-a** read with an amazing quest…

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    Title: NIGHTINGALE, SING
    Author: Karsten Knight
    Release date: February 23, 2016
    Publisher: CreateSpace
    Pages: 288
    Formats: Paperback, eBook

    Description…

    To cure her dying sister, Sabra Tides must race to solve a web of riddles and find a mythical flower, while a ruthless gangster will stop at nothing to get there first. This powerful YA thriller is perfect for fans of The Raven Boys, Six of Crows, and The Conspiracy of Us.
    *******
    A STREETWISE VIGILANTE
    who will do anything to cure her dying sister

    A RUTHLESS GANGSTER
    on a grisly quest to attain immortality

    A DESPERATE FATHER
    who crossed oceans to free his enslaved son

    A TRAIL OF RIDDLES
    and the mythical treasure they all seek:

    THE SERENGETI SAPPHIRE

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #3

    An awesome, nail-biting, fast-paced and unputdownable sequel…

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: THE FLAME NEVER DIES (The Stars Never Rise #2)
    Author: Rachel Vincent
    Release date: August 16, 2016
    Publisher: Delacorte Press
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    One spark will rise.

    Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

    In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

    Nina isn’t about to let that happen…even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #4

    An original, dark and bloody good first installment…

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    Title & Series: VIAL THINGS (Resurrectionist #1)
    Author: Leah Clifford
    Release date: August 9, 2016
    Publisher: Self-published
    Pages: 221
    Formats: eBook

    Description…

    When the resurrectionists of Fissure’s Whipp begin disappearing, eighteen-year-old Allie knows someone is after their blood—or, more accurately, the genetic mutation that allows their blood to heal wounds, save lives and even bring back the recently deceased.

    Raised by her aunt after her parents’ deaths, Allie knows staying vigilant means staying alive. She’s trained her whole life to protect herself by any means necessary, from self defense classes to extensive weapons training in knives. Now, she’s gone so far as to befriend a homeless boy named Ploy who unknowingly trades a few nights a week on her couch in exchange for being a human tripwire to those hunting her.

    But as Allie and Ploy’s feelings for each other grow, Allie realizes this time, she’ll need more than fighting skills and a sharp blade to beat a villain literally out for blood.

    Protecting a girl he shouldn’t love, from a threat he understands too well, Ploy must face his past to save his future in Allie’s world—a world where bringing back the dead can cost you your life.

    AMAZON | GOODREADS


    #5

    An enchanting and magical read…

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: REIGN OF SHADOWS (Reign of Shadows #1)
    Author: Sophie Jordan
    Release date: February 9, 2016
    Publisher: HarperTeen
    Pages: 304
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

    But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

    With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #6

    A heartbreaking and epic adventure…

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    Title: HEARTLESS
    Author: Marissa Meyer
    Release date: November 8, 2016
    Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
    Pages: 464
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

    At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

    Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #7

    An emotional, heartbreaking and intense read…

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    Title & Series: THE WAY I USED TO BE
    Author: Amber Smith
    Release date: March 22, 2016
    Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
    Pages: 384
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

    Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

    What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

    Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #8

    An imaginative, beautifully told and heartbreaking tale…

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    Title & Series: ROSEBLOOD
    Author: A.G. Howard
    Release date: January 10, 2017
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Pages: 432
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Description…

    In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

    At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #9

    A breathtaking and emotional rollercoaster…

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    Title & Series: THE ROSE & THE DAGGER (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)
    Author: Renée Ahdieh
    Release date: April 26, 2016
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 432
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Description…

    The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

    In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

    Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

    The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    #10

    A spellbinding, romantic, pirate-in-the-making story…

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    Title & Series: BLACKHEARTS (Blackhearts #1)
    Author: Nicole Castroman
    Release date: February 9, 2016
    Publisher: Simon Pulse
    Pages: 384
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

    Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

    Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

    From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    And as I haven’t read all that many books in 2016 I’ve decided for the first time ever not to do an honorable mentions list… though there are so many that deserve it.


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    Review: DAY ZERO by Kresley Cole

    Day-Zero

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    Title & Series: DAY ZERO (The Arcana Chronicles #3.5)
    Author: Kresley Cole
    Release date: August 1, 2016
    Publisher: Valkyrie Press
    Pages: 180
    Formats: Paperback, eBook

    Description…

    Arcana means secrets, and these Arcana Chronicles short stories from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole are filled with them. Experience firsthand the beginning of the end and behold the apocalypse through the eyes of characters you only thought you knew.

    Ashes to ashes . . .
    Evie Greene’s story of the Flash is just one of many. All over the world, those connected in some way to the lethal Arcana game–like Death, Jack, and Fortune–must first survive a horrifying night of blood and screams.

    We all fall down.
    Some will have to grapple with new powers; all will be damned to a hellish new existence of plague, brutality, desolation, and cannibalism. Find out who they lost, why they endure, and what they sacrificed in order to live past Day Zero. . . .

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | GOODREADS

    Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the author in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    If the wait for the next installment in Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles has been killing you, DAY ZERO is guaranteed to help ease the pain. With Arcana Rising’s release still two weeks away, this companion novel will bring you back into the world, give you heretofore unseen peeks at the characters you adore, detest, or are intrigued by, introduce you to characters you haven’t yet gotten the chance to know, and tease of things still to come in this deadly game they’re playing.

    DAY ZERO is not a “take it or leave it” tease of a story. It offers real insight into the game and its players. It expands the world. It’s substantive enough to make you feel invested in the characters’ outcomes. It is every bit as riveting as the full-length novels. And it leaves you just as eager for more.

    If you have not yet read the other novels in this series it is not recommended that you read this book, as it does contain major spoilers that are better discovered in context.

    If you’re not typically a fan of companion novels, set any hesitation you may have aside. You should definitely read this book. It’s awesome and amazing. It’s not some random plot outside of the main storyline with characters you may or may not be interested in. It involves the main characters, at a pivotal point in the story. It introduces other key characters who either have or will play a major role. And it teases the start to the next book in the series.

    Plus, as is always to be expected from Kresley Cole, there is fantastic writing that will make you want to immediately restart the series from the beginning with the information you now know. It will also make you wish you could read even more from the points of view of the characters whose Day Zero experiences she shared.

    Whether you’re hoping the game will end without a victor, or you have chosen who you think you want to win, reading DAY ZERO might just change your mind. So, if you are invested in the outcome of the series and its characters, discovering what this novel reveals is an absolute must.

    The Rating

    06

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


    Coming August 15th

    Arcana-Rising

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: ARCANA RISING (The Arcana Chronicles #4)
    Author: Kresley Cole
    Release date: August 15, 2016
    Publisher: Valkyrie Press
    Formats: Paperback, eBook

    Description…

    Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole.

    When the battle is done . . .
    The Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe strikes back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

    And all hope is lost . . .
    With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

    Vengeance becomes everything.
    To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | GOODREADS

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