Daughter of the Pirate King

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

4 stars! 

“Oh, the ridiculous things one has to do when one is a pirate.” 

Alosa is a seventeen year old pirate captain who serves under command of her father, the pirate king. Sent on a secret mission, Alosa is to be captured by her enemies in order for her to search their ship for a fragment of a treasure map.

While aboard, finding the map proves harder than expected, especially since the first mate Riden keeps getting in her way. But Alosa is persistent if anything, cunning as well and she is determined to succeed at her mission.

“Everyone has something dark in their past. I suppose it’s our job to overcome it. And if we can’t overcome it, then all we can do is make the most of it.” 

First off I gotta give Owlcrate a shout out, if not for them I would have never read this book on my own. I got this book via their subscription box a couple months ago and only just now got to it. I love owlcrate, I have discovered many books that I really enjoyed because of them that I wouldn’t have picked for myself.

Daughter of the Pirate King was such a cute and fun adventure! I adore this book, it was full of humor, excitement, and was a little bit naughty. I don’t think I’ve ever read a YA pirate book before, that’s a huge gap in the young adult genre that Levenseller has filled!

I love Alosa the most, as a main character she was spunky, crafty, and for a pirate had a considerable amount of morals (but not too many). She was also a lot more ruthless than I expected but I kind of liked it. The pacing of this book was on point, such great character development too! This is a fun and fast read that many people will enjoy.

“I am me because I choose to be me. I am what I want. Some people say you have to find yourself. Not I. I believe we create ourselves to be what we want.” 

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A Promise of Fire

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

4.5 stars!

“People talk about fight or flight? That’s nonsense. It’s fight and flight.”

I love fantasy romance, it always delivers such fun!

A Promise of Fire is a mythological fantasy romance about a woman who can detect lies, among other abilities. This makes Cat very valuable to the rulers of the world who want to use her for their own gain. When the brother of a Queen recognizes Cat as a Kingmaker, he and his warriors capture her to bring her to their Queen.

Griffin wants to use Cat for peace, but a lifetime of hardship has Cat convinced that is not possible. It’s up to Griffin to sway her.

“Now that that’s settled, you’re coming with me.”

“Never in a billion suns. Not even if Zeus showed up as a swan and tried to peck me in your direction. I wouldn’t go with you even if my other option was Hades dragging me to the Underworld for an eternal threesome with Persephone.”

After seeing this book on lots of Best of 2016 lists, I wanted to give it a shot. I’m glad I did because it was a fun and wild read. Lots of reviews have noted Cat as annoying, and I can see where people would think that, but to me she was feisty and fierce. Could she have made better decisions? Yes. But her life circumstances never really taught her the “right” way to live, she had to learn on her own.

Griffin….. oh my Griffin

I love a romance where the man has to convince the girl to love him. His courtship of Cat was fun, and it was frustrating at times, but he never wavered.

I loved the mix of mythology and fantasy, the mystery behind who Cat really was, the relationship of Cat with the warriors and the royals. Basically I really enjoyed this book. So much so, I ran to my local Barnes and Noble to pick up the next book before I was even done reading!!!

“I conquered a kingdom and found a treasure.” His voice turns gravelly, low. “I won’t let you go. Not now. Not ever.”

Happy Ever Ninja

Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid

5 badass mother stars!!!

I gotta say, Penny Reid continues to deliver a different kind of heroine to the romance genre. And every single one of them is incredible! Fiona was a heroine that I’ve never seen before and I fell in love with her almost immediately. Seriously, I have a girl crush on her (the kind where you idolize, not attraction lol). How many romances have you read that contain a badass mother who balances a job, kids and more? Other than this one I couldn’t name another title.

“Someone needs to appreciate Fiona for her badass skills, Greg. Because they are fucking awesome.”

Greg and Fiona were college sweethearts and have been married for about fourteen years. Greg works in Africa on oil projects while Fiona stays at home in Chicago and watches the kids and works. It’s a difficult situation but the two of them make it work. When Fiona learns that Greg has been kidnapped and held for ransom, she takes it upon herself to go after him and get him back.

If you’ve read the previous books in this series, you know that Fiona used to be a member of the CIA. So the idea of her going off to rescue her man wasn’t at all preposterous, in fact it was pretty much expected. And with the help of her friends she’s able to sneak into Africa.

I loved this book. Seriously. I’m not a mother, I’m not a wife, and yet I was easily able to relate to Fiona and her struggles and issues. And just because the characters were already married, doesn’t mean that the romance factor isn’t present in this book. In a way it enhanced it because we know these two people are in love, and watching them fight for their love was every bit as romantic as watching a couple fall in love.

There’s also the distinctive brand of Penny Reid humor we come to expect from her books, it’s one of the things that make her books so special. I laughed a lot while reading this book, it never failed to put a smile on my face. Greg and Fiona have this wonderful banter that makes me want to hug them both, but not interrupt them so as I can continue to watch them banter.

“I need you to clean the apartment, and pick up your goddamn socks, and stop making mindless messes-like we have magical cleaning fairies who orgasm every time they do the laundry.”

Separate from the story, my all-time favorite part of this book was the letters and notes at the beginning of each chapter from real life couples. Some of them made me laugh, some smile and others made my heart flutter. It was such a nice touch that added a lot to the book. I found myself wanting to highlight the letter before every chapter I loved them so much.

Every Penny Reid book I’ve read I have loved or enjoyed. I think it goes without saying now that she could write anything and I would love it. Even a description of paint drying on walls.

“My heart keeps discovering new ways to love you.”

ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Mortal Heart

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

3.5 stars

“If Death could grant you a wish, you would use it for someone else? Trade your happiness for someone else’s?”

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As I always do with my 3 star reviews, I maintain that just because I rated a book 3 stars does not mean I didn’t like it/it isn’t good. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the two book before it. Therefore, 3 stars.

I truly believe that Robin LaFevers has brought something special to the young adult genre with her His Fair Assassin trilogy. I can’t recall a historical fiction book(s) within this genre that has been so beautifully executed with strong female characters. That being said, Mortal Heart is probably my least favorite book in this series, the second book Dark Triumph the best.

Mortal Heart is Annith’s story. We know her from the previous books, as she is friend and sister to Ismae and Sybella. Unlike the other girls, Annith has spent her life in the convent since birth. Annith has been waiting and longing for years to be sent out on an assignment, like her sisters before her. One day while spying on the Reverend Mother, Annith discovers that she is not meant to leave the convent, but to stay forever and be the next Seeress. Finding this a horrible fate, Annith strikes out on her own after the Reverend Mother to demand answers as to her fate.

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Being that this book is almost 450 pages, it was really a sad things for me that it took almost 100 pages in for the book to finally grasp my undivided attention. In my opinion this book was also pretty scattered, with Annith doing one thing but then getting roped into other journeys by chance. Like when she leaves the convent with a set course but then ends up with the Helliquin, and then the women warriors. It just felt a little jumbled in my opinion. The plot at times was very straightforward, when it pertained to the political plot with the Duchess. It was not consistent when it came to Annith’s plot, I felt.

I liked the addition of the helliquin and Balthazaar; he was a very interesting and mysterious character and remained so throughout the entire book. The connection (romantically and otherwise) was a bit difficult to believe at the beginning, but near the end of the book it made a lot of sense.

“I am beginning to think that love itself is never wrong. It is what love can drive people to do that is the problem.”

I enjoyed the fact that we got to see a bit more of Ismae and Sybella, and a part of my wishes that the author would write some epilogue novellas for them. It felt to me like the stories of the 3 main girls remains largely unfinished.

I also liked the resolution of the Duchess’s struggles. After 3 books of trying to find a solution I believe the author found a very inventive and creative end to her story. I’m also kind of hoping for the Duchess to get her own book.

Strong end to a strong series, but not my favorite book of the 3.

“We are all of us, gods and mortals, made up of many pieces, some of them broken, some of them scarred, but none of them the total sum of who we are.”

Dark Triumph

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers

4.5 stars!

“Hate cannot be fought with hate. Evil cannot be conquered by darkness. Only love has the power to conquer them both.”

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These books just keep getting better and better!

A daughter of Saint Mortain, Sybella has been trained in the art of assassinry and death. Now that she is a grown woman and fully prepared, the nuns send Sybella to return to her childhood home to spy on her father, and to endure the horrors within.

One evening, Sybella is tasked with aiding the prisoner, Beast, in his escape from the dungeon. From there I cannot say more, as it would give away much of the plot.

“Jewels can be replaced. Independence, once lost, cannot.”

First off, I’d like to note that I rarely if ever, read and enjoy historical fiction. My undergraduate major was general history, so I tend to find historical inaccuracies in many of the HF books I read and it bugs me. I always find myself second guessing what’s happening. For example I end up asking myself questions or making statements such as: “Why are you not pregnant already?!” or “They would never be unchaperoned in that time period.” or “That is such a modern word phrasing, they would never say that.” I never found myself doing these things when reading these books. Since this series has an element of magic, I pretty much have been able to overlook these. Plus, these books are just so good that I throw all of my history pet peeves out of the window.

I liked this book so much better than the first one for many reasons. For one, I found the main characters to be incredibly interesting and way more complex than the MC’s in the first book.

Sybella: she is cunning, smart, untrustworthy, not quick to trust others, haunted, and abused.

Beast: A man described as that ugly has never been more attractive in the readers’ eyes. Beast was a strong, kind, funny, loyal and caring man, and quite honestly, the perfect man for Sybella.

The romance between Beast and Sybella, while not at the forefront of the book, contained some of the sweetest moments. I love the two of them together. It made sense that Sybella would look past Beast’s not so handsome features and see him for the valuable man he was on the inside. Beast was also huge so he could easily overcome her in a fight, which not many can do. These characters, they just clicked right together.

The continuation of the themes from the first book was present in this book.
Do not use a higher power to justify your own actions.
-Think for yourself and make your OWN conclusions.
-(specific to the book) Just because someone is marked, does not mean they need to be assassinated.

Basically I loved this book. The only thing I don’t really care for is the political plot, as it doesn’t interest me. But it cannot be avoided as it is essential to the plot, so I do my best not to skim it.

“Truly, we are the gods’ own children, forged in the fire of our tortured pasts, but also blessed with unimaginable gifts.”

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Note: This book is the 2nd in a series and the 1st book must be read before this one in order to understand what is going on.

Grace Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

4 stars!

“When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the edge of a knife once or twice.”

Battered and abused for the majority of her life, Ismae is saved right after her wedding ceremony from a disgusting man and sent to a convent of Mortain’s, the God of Death. There, she is schooled in the art of being an assassin and dedicated to carry out his work. For 3-4 years she is trained in many different ways to kill a man, and when she becomes 17 she is sent on her first assignment. Fairly soon Ismae is wrapped up in a mission to help the Duchess of Brittany, and forced to work with a man named Duval, who also does not want Ismae’s help.

“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”

I’ve read and heard many mixed reviews on this book since it’s publication, so I didn’t know what to expect going in. I really liked this book, but it fell short of that something special that would make me love it.

Ismae is a very compelling character, if a bit ill-prepared for the assignment she was given. Duval was interesting as well, but I never really felt as if the reader really got to know him. The relationship between him and Ismae could technically be filed under slow-build, but it felt forced to me. I wish more time had been spent building their relationship because it very much felt like it went from “I can’t trust you” to “We will do our best to be together in the future” in a matter of 50 pages or so. The aboutface was too quick for my tastes.

“It is this kindness of his that unsettles me most. I can dodge a blow or block a knife. I am impervious to poison and know a dozen ways to escape a chokehold or garrote wire. But kindness? I do not know how to defend against that.”

I’m also not a giant fan of political plots in my fantasy/science fiction novels and this book was primarily that. It was done very well, but I grew a bit tiresome of it by the end of the book.

^^^Despite all of these issues I listed above, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I felt it was a very fresh idea in the young adult genre. The book also promoted important aspects such as to think for yourself, second chances, and first impressions are not always correct. All very important themes for a ya novel.

I am very excited to read Sybella’s book next, I feel like she would be an incredibly interesting character.

Heir of Fire

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

I’d give it 10 stars if I could, but 5 out of 5 stars for now 🙂

“You didn’t need a weapon at all when you were born one.”

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This is one of the best books I’ve read all year.

Heir of Fire begins with Celeana drunk and mistaken for a vagrant in a distant land. She is approached by the fae warrior Rowan, who is sworn to her Aunt Maeve, and they journey together to her realm to meet with her. In order for Celeana to obtain the secrets of the Wyrdmarks from Maeve, she must train with Rowan and prove herself worthy of entering Doranelle, where she will find the knowledge she seeks.

Rowan and Celeana clash instantly. Rowan believes Celeana to be nothing but a spoiled, royal brat (which we all know is the furthest thing from the truth) and Celeana sees Rowan as a judgmental tyrant. Training together tests both of their boundary’s and limits, physically and mentally.

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Darkness lurks in the woods surrounding where they train, and the two encounter many types of monsters over time. But nothing can prepare them for what is to come…

“It would not take a monster to destroy a monster – but light, light to drive out darkness.”

The first book in this series was very much a young adult fantasy book. The second book introduced a lasting political plot and the groundwork for the overall evil to come. This book, oh this book. I don’t really even see it as a “young adult fantasy” book. Heir of Fire was so much more than that, and it read like an adult fantasy book to me. There were so many complex themes, emotions and issues that are not usually present in ya fantasy, and Sarah J. Maas did an incredible job writing this book.

“These days, I am very glad to be a mortal, and to only have to endure this life once. These days, I don’t envy you at all.”

“And before?”

It was her turn to stare toward the horizon. “I used to wish I had a chance to see it all- and hated that I never would.”

The theme of this book was very much self-acceptance.

Celeana must come to accept her past and her heritage.
Chaol must come to accept that the King he serves is an unjust ruler.
Dorian must come to accept the magic within him.

I loved the characters, the world-building, the plot, the adventures, pretty much everything this book had to offer. And the most surprising part, this book had little to no romance in it, and I still loved it! (That’s almost unheard of from me).

Despite there being no romance, there seem to be 4 men who Celeana could end up with. FOUR!

-Chaol: her ex-lover who still pines for her and regrets the choices he made that led to their end. Chaol believes Celeana to hate him, yet he risks his own life and betrays his King who he serves to help keep her alive. (And I felt so freaking bad for him the entire time. I have a soft spot for Chaol).

-Dorian: I’m still listing him as a contender because there are 3 more books in the series, so we will never know. It would be nice if he got a chance at Celeana.

-Rowan: Their relationship was strictly friends in this book, but it has the possibility to turn into something more. The connection the two have runs deep.

-Aedion- Celeana’s very distant cousin and childhood friend, who she has not seen in years and yet he is still loyal to her. I suspect he has feelings for her…

My favorite part of the book was the character development between Rowan and Celeana. Their relationship is not one that can be defined by words, but only with feelings. Both know what it is to be enslaved in one form or another, and their connection is spectacular. I really hope their is more about the two of them in the books to come.

“You collect scars because you want proof that you are paying for whatever sins you’ve committed. And I know this because I’ve been doing the same damn thing for two hundred years. Tell me, do you think you will go to some blessed Afterworld, or do you expect a burning hell? You’re hoping for hell–because how could you face them in the Afterworld? Better to suffer, to be damned for eternity.”

I would say my least favorite part of the book was the witch plot. To be honest, I did a giant reader NO-NO and began skimming and then skipping those chapters. My rating of the book does not include those parts because I didn’t really read them, as I had a hard time trying to care about those characters.

….So now I guess I can twiddle my thumbs until the next three books. After this book, I have faith that Sarah J. Maas will deliver something incredible in the next three volumes. I am so happy to be on this journey.

“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”

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Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

First rating: 4 stars.
Reread rating: 4 stars again

“This is what is real, and the life I had before was a dream.”
“That is correct. And now is the time to wake up”

Cassandra Clare is and always will be a fantastic writer when it comes to worldbuilding and sucking the reader into a book.

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Tessa, an American teenage girl in 1878 has recently suffered the loss of her Aunt when her brother sends her a ticket to travel from New York to London. Upon arrival, Tessa is abducted by a sinister duo who call themselves The Dark Sisters, and discovers a shocking secret she didn’t know about herself. Very soon she happens upon the world of the shadowhunters and must uncover the identity of a man who calls himself The Magister.

For some reason this book took me so damn long to read the second time. I remember reading this book when it was released and blowing through it much faster. I still liked it as much as I read it the first time, and now the other books are released so I can finally move on to reading them for the first time.

I loved the setting of Victorian London, I felt Cassandra Clare did a really good job of taking it and making it her own instead of being held down by it’s restrictions, so bravo Ms. Clare!
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At the moment I am a member of Team Will because I love a tortured bad boy. He’s still a giant mystery at this point so I look forward to reading more about him in the next installment. I will say with this reread I noticed that Tessa had a much clearer connection with Jem in this book than with Will, probably because he actually made the time to get to know her. He’s a sweet guy, but so far I will not easily be convinced to join Team Jem.

So overall I really enjoyed this one, but I am definitely more excited about reading the final 2 as I never got to them.

By the way this was a kind of buddy read with Lady Vigialate (Feifei) and I had fun. She devoured all three books before I even hit page 100 with this one, but I totally understand the lure 😛 Read her review on Goodreads for the entire series here.

Hunting Ground

Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega #2) by Patricia Briggs
3 Omega stars “She was his and he hers.”

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“Women are the bloodthirsty sex. We get the reputation, but it is only because the women stand behind us, and say, ‘Kill it. Squish it.”

One month after they are mated and married, werewolves Anna and Charles must travel to Seattle to oversee a conference where the wolves discuss the issue of becoming open to the public. While they are there, hired vampire assassins begin attacking the Omega’s, human and wolf.

This one took me a while to get through. I’m normally a huge Patricia Briggs fan, but for some reason this series isn’t hitting it for me like the Mercy Thompson series did.

What I loved:

-Anna and Charles: I think the development of the relationship between these two characters is the only reason I will continue to read this series. Together and separately, Anna and Charles are some of the more interesting and unique characters I’ve read in a long time. But Briggs has a way of doing that.

“I would slay dragons for you. I suspect that finding an unoccupied bedroom will be easier.”

-The world-building: I am constantly wowed at the incredible job this author has done in creating this unique urban fantasy setting. Very few authors have done this for me. I want to go and visit! (Hopefully without becoming prey).

-The setting: It was Washington State, enough said. That place is awesome!

What didn’t work:

-The pacing: OMG the pacing was so off with this book! It would go really slow, and then really fast, but then mostly slow and I had a hard time getting through this book.

-The constant reminders of pack hierarchy: We get it already, when dominant werewolves are around each other shit is about to go down. Stop using 50 pages to reiterate something that happened, but you can’t tell at once because all of the wolves have to pull their dicks out and measure them. UGH.

So overall, I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.

“To make great art, you had to expose your soul, and some things should be left safely in the dark.”

Lastly (and Gilmore Girls fans will understand) when they introduced a foreign wolf called Michel Girard, I immediately saw this:
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Poison Study

Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder

4 ‘My Love’ stars

“Trusting is hard. Knowing who to trust, even harder.”

Set in a harsh world where death is the punishment for murder, no matter if it’s manslaughter or self-defense, Poison Study is the story of Yelena, a young woman who was sentenced to death for murder. After spending months in prison, she is yanked out and informed that since the Commander’s taster has died, she will take his place as a food tester, to help detect poison in the Commander’s food.

“Poisoned, pursued and living with a psychopath. Not what I would consider the good life. Death has its perks.”

I really enjoyed this little book. For a high fantasy YA novel, it was very original in it’s plot and the main characters were very interesting. Valek for one was a mystery I was happy to attempt to solve. Valek was the assassin in charge of teaching Yelena about poisons and how to detect them. At first he seems like a total jerk, but as the book moves on, we uncover layers of his personality that make him a great hero.

“Yelena, you’ve driven me crazy. You’ve caused me considerable trouble and I’ve contemplated ending your life twice since I’ve known you. But you’ve slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart.”

Overall a very enjoyable read, and hopefully the other books in the series are good too 🙂

Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

4.25 stars!

“The best lies were always mixed with truth.”

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After fighting the other champions in the first book, Celeana has been made the King’s assassin, and has being doing his bidding for a couple of months now. When the King orders Celeana to assassinate a childhood friend of hers, Celeana discovers a rebel plot that could have dire consequences. Lots of plot twists and turns, rebel spies, evil royal politics, and a ton of action, this is a truly great fantasy novel for readers of all ages.

“Why are you crying?”
“Because,” she whispered, her voice shaking, “you remind me of what the world ought to be. What the world can be.”

After I finished Throne of Glass, I had no idea where this series would go. I was pleasantly surprised with the direction the author took with the plot and the character development.
Not a perfect 5 stars like the first book because I got a bit bored and skimmed a bit near the end. But this is shaping up to be an incredible series, and I look forward to the next 4 books. Too bad I have to wait for them.

The Testing

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (2013)

The Testing is about a girl named Cia who lives in a rural colony in future America. Every year the smartest and most talented students are chosen to take the testing, in order to determine who the future leaders of the country will be. To be selected for the testing is an honor and the family is compensated for sending off their teen. Cia’s dad had previously gone through the testing and before she leaves for Tosu, the main city, he warns her to be careful, because while he no longer remembers what happens during the testing process, he has nightmares that haunt him about what might have happened.

So, I read this book on a recommendation from a friend who said he liked it better than The Hunger Games. I’ve also seen lots of reviews stating that this book is a rip-off of The HG. While I like The HG more, I will add that this book made more sense than the HG did. Initially, about twenty pages into the book, I was texting my friend and saying “dude, this is a total rip-off of The HG”. His response, “keep reading.” While there are many similarities between the two series, The Testing is more about Cia’s discovery of the terrible state in which her country is run and her horror at the lack of human capacity during the testing. The Hunger Games is also more about government revenge on those who rebelled and keeping people on place, while The Testing is the government searching for answers, and the characters are not specifically fighting each other to survive.

The book brought into question what the good qualities of a leader are, mostly because that’s why these characters were being tested, to find a future leader. The characters were often wondering what choices previous leaders of the country had to make and why they made them.

“Maybe that’s the mark of a real leader. Admitting a mistake has been made and finding a way to stop it at all costs.”

“The best leaders never makes the same mistakes again. The only way you can learn is if you understand the mistakes that were made.”

I ended up staying awake until almost 2 am to finish the book once I got rolling with it. I woke up early the next morning to complete it before heading into work. The one thing I did not love about this book was the romantic story line between Cia and childhood friend Tomas, it felt sort of forced and quick. I prefer a well developed and (somewhat) slow build up to romance. Plus, Tomas was a bit one-dimensional and not very interesting to me. His description was basically that he was good looking and smart. Give the reader something else to go on!

So basically, this book was very intriguing and captivating. I do not want to give too much away, but the reader will remain breathless until the end trying to figure out the results of the testing for all of the characters involved.