ARC Review: The Fifth Vertex-Kevin Hoffman

22863272Goodreads/Amazon/B&N PB

***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and AuthorBuzz.

cooltext1712921505 copyUrus Noellor–a boy born deaf who is about to be publicly branded as a burden, incapable of being the warrior his people demand–stands upon a rooftop, poised to throw himself over the edge. His failed attempt at suicide unlocks within him a long-dormant form of magic thought to have died out thousands of years before, a power that may be the key to saving the world from an equally ancient enemy.

Urus and his companions–Goodwyn, the greatest warrior in Kest, and Cailix, a mysterious orphan–must find a way to stop a powerful group of sorcerers from destroying the five long-hidden vertices that ward the world against threats from beyond, while fighting off threats from within. They soon learn that the scope of the coming danger may be more dire than any of them could have imagined. As the battle for the vertices spreads to the neighboring realms, Goodwyn must face the realities of war and death; Cailix discovers a devastating truth that could change everything; and Urus discovers his uncanny gifts and courage as he peels away clues to his true identity. But even as Urus gains the power he has always craved, he experiences it all in profound, lonely silence.

-via Goodreads

cooltext1719331023 copy

3.5/5 Stars

PROS:

  • From the sprawling, diverse scenery to the brutally graphic gore and swordsmanship, The Fifth Vertex is fantasy at its finest. The imagery is breathtaking, innovative and combines classic magical creatures like dwarves and mages with science fiction and engineering. The submarines, the flying machines, and the elemental magic is reminiscent of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. 
  • The pain, abuse, and violence is jaw-droppingly raw and realistic. The sheer agony both emotionally and physically that some of these characters endure is shocking but incredibly admirable. Urus’ relationship with his father, his beatings as a small child, everything is captured in these small scenes with such acute, bold description, it’s almost like an out-of-body experience. My heart shattered for Urus, knowing that on top of his trials in a warrior society as a deaf person he suffered the fists of his father is devastating. Those scenes are ones that will stick and haunt, nearly moving me to tears. 
  • Having never read a book from a deaf person’s perspective, I was kind of mindboggled about how Kevin Hoffman would work this disability into the structure of the story and was pleasantly surprised. Every struggle Urus faces, from his peers’ mockery to the frustrating in signing and not being understood is accentuated because you get Urus’ internal dialogue. 
  • Urus’ depression was palpable. It’s an all-consuming weight on his mind and a dagger in his heart. Feeling like a disappointment and a failure to the only people he cares about pushes him into a spiral of self-destruction and heartache that he yearns to be free from. The opening scene is one of the most powerfully gripping and sad I’ve encountered. 
  • Cailix is one savage, fireball of a protagonist. She’s edgy, violent, a psychological mastermind who understands humanity and the failings of man and uses them to her advantage. Cailix has been on her own for so long, at the mercy of her caregivers and has the scars to prove that she is a survivor. She knows better than to let her guard down or to trust anyone because people betray, brutalize, and only let her down. What’s so remarkable about Cailix is that after everything she’s been through she’s not broken or even hurting, she has immense compassion and fights tooth and nail for the innocent. From the moment Cailix was introduced into the story, I found myself speeding to get to her next section. Every part was a bloodthirsty, ingenious surprise. She’s a little America Singer (The Selection) meets Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass). 
  • Goodwyn and Therren. The flashback scene with the necklace. I melted. Goodwyn’s conflict to be a hulking, vicious warrior and to just forget the world and be with his beloved is a pure rush. It’s sweet, natural, and what’s more is that while the theme of homosexuality is strong, it’s not a main focus, making their relationship feel more authentic without being intrusive or judgemental.
  • Blood mages are perfect for this story. Often when thinking of witches/mages in terms of blood it has to do with sacrifice to gain power but not sucking up the actual blood and forcing it to perform magic. There’s something very vampiric and almost Voodoo-like about how blood is used while feeling like a Celtic, druidic story.
  • Twists and reveals that will stump and startle the reader.
  • The secondary characters are just as lively and vibrant as the protagonists. The feels will drive you crazy.
  • Subtle attraction. So often romance becomes the focus of YA books and takes away from the narrative. Romance is secondary and it allows for the plot to flourish. The story is completely solid.

CONS:

  • The cover is a little immature, it makes it seem like more of a children’s book than YA. The cartoonish characters detract from the menacing characters presented in the story and suggest a book that is more tame. That being said, due to the graphic violence, I would not recommend this for children. 
  • Some sections were slow and dragged on as Urus fled from one vertex to the next. Usually I’m really fond of description but found myself skimming through parts.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

81vxXu0QjuL._SL1500_Throne_of_Glass_UK2049842316378530unnamed07fa6-kofnewbnkobo18387010158509371042909220130628-165422.jpg20130628-160859.jpg20130528-154021.jpg

Keep reading,

cooltext1754437870 copy

Release Day Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Impossible-C.A. Gray

unnamedunnamed-1Amazon/Goodreads

cooltext1756232230 copyIMPOSSIBLE is the final installment in the Piercing the Veil trilogy.

The Shadow Lord has the Philosopher’s Stone, and therefore an army of invincible penumbra. He also possesses the fragments of Excalibur, the legendary sword prophesied to be the instrument of either his own destruction, or that of the Child of the Prophecy. The sword, he knows, requires blood to be reforged… and he knows exactly whose blood he wants.

Meanwhile, the Watchers are desperate to steal back the fragments of Excalibur and find out how to reforge them before the Shadow Lord does. Isdemus places Peter and Lily in Carlion’s sister cities for safe-keeping until the war begins. But Peter and Lily have an idea that might enable the Watchers to steal back the fragments, in spite of the Shadow Lord’s invincible army. Their plan requires them to travel halfway across the world, to an island largely believed to exist only in Greek mythology. Along the way, however, the Shadow Lord uses a pawn to convince Peter and Lily that they are powerless. Without their gifts of the Ancient Tongue, will either one of them stand a chance?

In this gripping conclusion of the Piercing the Veil trilogy, the Watchers and the Shadow Lord both amass their ranks, the battle begins, and the true identity of the Child of the Prophecy is revealed—to the shock of all.

cooltext1756425189 copyPrologue

Sargon stood on the edge of a precipice. He was somewhere in the Andes mountains, thick fir trees at his back and sheer rock descending to a ravine below. He could not even see the bottom.

In one hand, Sargon held the Philosopher’s Stone. It was blood-red, and cut in a spherical shape. In the other, he held the fragments of a golden sword: Excalibur. He closed his eyes, a blissful smile curling his cruel lips, creasing the jagged scar across Kane’s right cheek.

You’re going to lose, Kane snarled. Peter will destroy you. 

You know that is a lie, Kane, Sargon replied calmly. I have the Philosopher’s Stone, and the fragments of Excalibur. I am invincible.

But you don’t know how to reforge Excalibur. As long as they are fragments, you have no hope of fulfilling the prophecy.

Sargon shook his head, still smiling. Kane was right, of course: he did not know how to reforge the sword. Yet. But he knew how to find out.

In a ringing voice, Sargon cried out, “An sprioc, inis dom do speisialta!”

Instantly the Andes disappeared, and the world became silent and luminous. Kane felt himself locked in a rigid lattice structure of purest, deepest red, the light of the sun bouncing all around and through him.

A thousand flashes of the Stone’s memory bombarded Kane at once: the impossible, dizzying, unimaginable heat from the inside of a volcano; the crushing pressure; the explosive force, propelling him down the edges of a mountain amidst running lava.

Excalibur must be reforged, Sargon told the Stone. How can this be accomplished?

Kane felt, rather than heard, the Stone’s answer. He watched without eyes as men slaughtered one another, their blood running like the lava had done seconds before. It was both a memory and a reply.

Blood, thought Sargon with satisfaction. Of course. It is so simple. Had not the Stone required him to spill his own blood in exchange for his immortality.

The red luminescent world disappeared, and Sargon blinked, again standing on the edge of the precipice. Of course, he thought again. He consulted Kane’s memory of the prophecy with a flash: Both shall fall, but the One who holds the blade that was broken shall emerge victorious. 

In order to reforge Excalibur, someone must die.

There are three candidates, Sargon thought. I have already taken the body of one; only two yet remain. One will serve the blood sacrifice. Then, with Excalibur restored, I shall kill the other.

Sargon felt Kane’s quiet despair. A cruel smile curled his lips once more.

It is a beautiful symmetry, Kane. Is it not? 

 

­­

cooltext1692974322 copy

Enter for your chance to win a ebook set of the whole Piercing the Veil series. 

Giveaway runs from October 15-21.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

cooltext1756233300 copyunnamedWebsite/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

C.A. Gray is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD), with a primary care practice in Tucson, AZ. She has always been captivated by the power of a good story, fictional or otherwise, which is probably why she loves holistic medicine: a patient’s physical health is invariably intertwined with his or her life story, and she believes that the one can only be understood in context with the other.

She still wants to be everything when she grows up.

She moonlights as a college chemistry teacher (she has a degree in biochemistry, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing), does theater when she gets the chance, sings, plays piano, was once a personal trainer and in coffee shop management. She is blessed with exceptionally supportive family and friends, and thanks God for them every single day!

Happy reading, 

cooltext1754437870 copy

Cover Reveal: Writing a Wrong-Tiffany King

Writing a Wrong FINAL Amazon/iBooks

From USA Today Bestselling Author Tiffany King comes the continuing story of Nicole and Alec.

WRITING A WRONG

Available Dec. 1, 2014

cooltext1758035811 copyWhat comes next, once your happily ever after has been written?

Real life.

Nicole and Alec are doing their best to live the HEA she’s been dreaming for and writing about in her books. The problem is she’s been coping with her newly achieved success as an author and the responsibilities that are transitioning her away from the introverted life she prefers. He’s neck deep in medical school and stuck at the hospital almost every waking hour.

Something’s got to give.

Sometimes, what looks like happily ever after from the start can become something entirely different on the other side.

Finding time together can be a challenge, but Nicole and Alec seem to have things figured out. That is, until Nicole’s publisher sends her on an extended book tour for her upcoming release, putting an unexpected strain on their relationship. When Alec begins hanging out with his ex, who also happens to be the mother of his little girl, Nicole can’t help feeling that maybe her ever after is about to turn into a never mind.

Things turn from bad to worse when Nicole is faced with what she perceives as betrayal, leaving the door open to Greg, her new public relations rep who is more than willing to offer up a shoulder to dump her woes on. Betrayal can be a two-way street and Nicole must now decide which way the story goes from here.

Writing a happily ever after was so much easier than actually living one

The Write Stuff (Book 1) has temporarily been reduced to just $1.99. Pick it up before it goes back to it’s original price.

Pleasant reading,

cooltext1754437870 copy