Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Invictus

Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of publication: September 19th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult

Number of pages: 464

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find Invictus: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with the knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

Trigger Warning: None

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Blood Guard (Mission: Book 1) by Megan Erickson

Blood Guard (Mission #1)

Title: Blood Guard

Author: Megan Erickson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: September 12th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: 230

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: Mission

Blood Guard – Book 1

Blood Veil – Book 2 (expected publication: November 2017)

Where you can find Blood Guard: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

Trigger Warning: None

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Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Title: Mask of Shadows

Author: Linsey Miller

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Fire

Date of publication: September 5th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, GLBQTIA

Number of pages: 352

POV: 1st person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (via Goodreads): 

Sallot Leon is a thief and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

My review:

I was pretty excited to read Mask of Shadows. When I first read the blurb on the NetGalley posting, it caught my interest. The last fantasy novel I read with a genderfluid character were The Farseer/The Tawny Man/The Fitz and The Fool series with The Fool being the genderfluid character (and before anyone asks, I have read all of those series plus 2 that aren’t listed).

I actually liked Sal. She/He/They thought on his/her/their feet. The fact that she/he/they wanted to become Opal and went for it was great. Her/His/Their other reason for becoming Opal (finding the lords who refused to help her homeland and assassinating them) was pretty valid too. She/He/They thought that if she/he/they became Opal, that she/he/they could take on the lords as a side job.

I did think that the audition was a little reminiscent of The Hunger Games….but only, and stress only when the members of The Left Hand told them that it was a free-for-all. Once the auditioners were whittled down from 23 to 8, the free for all ended and they started to be eliminated by The Left Hand members or the remaining people were disqualified. Any similarities to The Hunger Games were ended. I mean, I read The Hunger Games and they battled it out to the last person (well, last two people in Katniss and Peeta’s case). Not here. The Left Hand members decided who was going to be Opal and let the remaining two people (in this case, it was referenced that there were more at previous auditions) go.

The masks kinda bothered me, though. I don’t like masks. I have a phobia about things covering my face and even reading about them skeeved me out. They had to eat with those things on and I can only imagine what the insides looked like….puke. So yes, I spent almost the whole book being grossed out and praying that the masks will go away…lol.

I also liked the romance between Elise and Sal. It was sweet and totally forbidden. I actually had a huge smile on my face during those scenes. Sal really had no clue on how to act because Elise was an Erland and he/she/they hated the Erlands with a passion because of what happened to his/her/their homeland. I also liked Elise’s personality. She was spunky and she definitely not afraid to stand up for who and what she believed in.

The main plot, the audition, ended the way I thought it would (giving nothing away). But the secondary plot about Sal and her/his/their obsession with getting even with the Erland’s took a very surprising, and sad, turn. Want to find out….read the book.

The end of the book was definitely a cliffhanger. As much as I dislike cliffhangers, this one worked and I really can’t wait for book 2!!

How many stars will I give Mask of Shadows: 4

Why: I enjoyed reading this book and it definitely kept me engrossed.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Late Teen

Why: Violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

A Jot of Blood (The Coventry Years: Book 1) by Katherine Bayless

A Jot of Blood (The Coventry Years, #1)

Title: A Jot of Blood

Author: Katherine Bayless

Publisher: Scry Media

Date of publication: August 11th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Number of pages: 363

POV: 1st person

Series: The Coventry Years

A Jot of Blood – Book 1

Where you can find A Jot of Blood: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Adolescence is hard enough, but add magic to the mix and things have a way of getting complicated in a hurry. Even at Coventry Academy, one of the best schools in the world for the magically inclined, some ‘gifts’ mean nothing but trouble. What do you do when anything—your clothes, your food, the accidental brush of a fingertip—can instantly reveal the dark secrets of your closest friend … or, worse, a mortal enemy?

Coventry may have been Lire Devon’s haven since she was a little girl, but there are some who despise and even fear her rare clairvoyant power. Now, after years of simmering resentment, Lire’s nemesis, a sorceress with beauty, status, and well-connected friends, has thrown down the gauntlet. The challenge will push Lire’s resourcefulness to its limits and beyond—to a place where arcane dangers lurk and the price of power is knowledge too excruciating to bear.

Warning: The contents of this book include one surly werewolf, a snarky invisible prankster, and enough indelicate language to make a succubus blush.

Trigger Warning: Bullying

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Aaru (The Aaru Cycle: Book 1) by David Meredith

Aaru (The Aaru Cycle Book 1)

Title: Aaru

Author: David Meredith

Publisher: Unknown

Date of publication: July 9th, 2017

Genre: New Adult, Science Fiction

Number of pages: 295

POV: 3rd person

Series: The Aaru Cycle

Aaru – Book 1

Where you can find Aaru: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future…” 
-Friedrich Nietzsche 

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear. 

She is sixteen years old. 

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokesmodel. 

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale. 
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed. 

Trigger Warning: None

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The List by Patricia Forde

The List

Title: The List

Author: Patricia Forde

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Date of publication: August 8th, 2017

Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: 336

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.

On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words but culture itself.

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FountainCorp Security: Diaries of a Space Marine by Watson Davis

FountainCorp Security: Diaries of a Space Marine

Title: FountainCorp Security

Author: Watson Davis

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: December 10th 2016

Number of pages: 259

Genre: Science Fiction

POV: 1st and 3rd person

Where you can find FountainCorp Security: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Interplanetary Terrorism, Corporate Backstabbing, and Nanotech Zombies! 

Dorothea, decorated veteran of the Martian Marines and paroled war-criminal, has a new job using her old skills, but her first mission takes off on the wrong foot. In a zombie-infested station, every mistake can be your last.

In this military sci-fi romp across the solar system, Watson Davis weaves a tale of intrigue and terror with guns and blasters blazing.

Buy this book and start reading the Diaries of a Space Marine series today!

Trigger Warning: None

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