Review: The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West

Summary/Cover Image from Author's Website
A powerful island. A dangerous mystery. An impossible choice.

For centuries, the island of Islayne has given certain residents the ability to revive other people’s memories. These gifted individuals are known as luminators, and sixteen-year-old Ronan Saunders desperately desires to join their illustrious ranks. As he struggles against the prejudice of the old, powerful families who have an iron grip on the trade, Ronan falls under the tutelage of a reclusive luminator, rumored to be insane.

Just when his long-desired future is within reach, Ronan and his three friends discover a deadly secret on the island. As they delve deeper into the mystery, what they find forces them to question their loyalties, doubt long-held beliefs, and wrestle with the dire consequences of revealing the truth. Ronan finds himself torn between everything he loves and the only future he’s ever wanted. The entire fate of the lumination trade hangs in the balance of his decision.

YA fantasy is the one genre of YA that I'm always meaning to read more of but never seem to do; therefore, when I was given the opportunity to read and review Kari Lynn West's The Secret of Islayne, a contemporary fantasy read, I jumped at the chance. As it turns out, The Secrets of Islayne was a slam-dunk of a debut - the YA fantasy book I didn't know I had been so desperately craving.

My absolute, hands down favorite aspect of this book? The premise.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I've ever read a book about luminators before. I found the idea of them to be fascinating. The ability to be able to go into ones mind and brighten memories? It's so incredibly interesting, and better yet, extremely fun to read about. The level of responsibility and even danger that comes with it alone amazes me.

Kari Lynn West did such a fantastic job of developing the world of the luminators. In The Secrets of Islalyne, two different types of luminators are encountered: ones coming from the old, original families and the ones coming from new residents of the Island. A class conflict was created within these two groups - old versus new - and it was always interesting to see the problems as well as the twists and turns that came up because of it. I especially liked that the book gave me a viewpoint from a boy of an "old" luminator family and a boy from a "new" luminator family. Kari Lynn West also did an excellent job of creating the history of the luminators and their special Island. It really managed to flesh out the story, in my opinion.

Besides the premise, I also adored the characters. In The Secrets of Islayne, the viewpoints of Ronan,  Ronan's friends - Cassie, Adele, and Eli - and Cassie's dad Alister and Ronan's boss Ben were included. While this seems like a daunting amount of POVs, it actually worked out quite well, making the story more three-demisional and intricate. Ronan, the primary main character, was my favorite out of the bunch though. In this story, he's the initial underdog. Coming from a "new" family, he's not blessed with the advantages older families have, especially when it comes to finding an apprenticeship. Throughout the book, though, Ronan doesn't let these disadvantages get him down for too long; instead, he always managed to barrel through and try to become the best luminator possible. I admired his determination. I don't think many in his place would have his "eye on the prize" behavior.

The plot of this was incredibly faced paced as well as thrilling. Throughout the book I was on the edge of my seat, dying to know what would happen next. There was so many twists and turns, especially towards the ending, that completely blew me away. I don't want to talk too much about the plot because I don't want to give anything away. However, I will say that the ultimate bad guy in this one? I didn't see him coming at all!

In all, The Secrets of Islayne had it all. An adventure? Check! An exotic setting? Check! A well developed fantasy storyline? Check! A touch of romance? Double Check! I simply cannot wait to see what Kari Lynn West writes next. A small part of me is hoping it may be a sequel to this.

Grade: A-

The Secrets of Islayne (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads) is now out! 

Source: eBook provided by author - thanks Kari!


Stacking the Shelves/Sunday Post (3)

 Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and focuses on new books that were received/bought/borrowed this week while the Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and focuses on recapping your week. 

New Books this Week: 



For Review: 
Little Forevers by Katie Kaleski 
Sin Eater (The Aria Knight Chronicles Book 1) by  Alesha Escobar & Samantha LaFantasie 
To Win Her Smile (Players, #5) by Mackenzie Crowne
Chasing Red (Red, #1) by Isabelle Ronin
Your Fierce Love (The Bennett Family, #7) by Layla Hagen
The Third Kiss (Love's Mortal Coil, #1) by Kat Colmer 

Thanks Silver Dagger Book Tours, Sourcebooks Casablanca, Entangled TEEN, Inkslinger PR & YA Bound Book Tours

Kindle Freebie: 

I loved Fatal Threat so I can't wait to catch-up with the first three!  

What You May have Missed: 

Coming Up this Week: 

Monday: Review for The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West
Tuesday: Interview & GIVEAWAY for a signed copy of The Secrets of Islayne with Kari Lynn West
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday pick
Thursday: Interview with Virginia Macgregor, author of Wishbones 
Friday: Review for Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick 

New in my Reading/Blogging/Personal Life: 

By the time this is posted, I will be at Point Pleasant beach, New Jersey, hopefully living it up on the beach with a good book!

As for reading, this week I was able to start and finish Your Fierce Love, Seeds of Malice, Love was Near, Little Forevers, and Hello, My Love. Out of the bunch, I enjoyed Little Forevers & Your Fierce Love the most. Your Fierce Love I enjoyed because it was exactly the juicy romance read I've been craving, and Little Forevers I enjoyed because it was a slam-dunk of a YA contemporary read.

Follow my Adventures: 


How was your week? Read or do anything fun? Let me know in the comments! :) 


Blog Tour: Seeds of Malice by Dale Mayer (Review)

To view all the stops on the tour see the end of this post. 

Summary/Cover form Author's Website
Charged with murder. Betrayed by her lover. Shunned by her friends.

After being acquitted of the murder, botanist Fern Geller runs from her past to learn everything she can about poisonous plants. She ends up doing a six month contract at the Garden of Death before finding the answer she's seeking...

When she returns to the same conservatory where she'd worked before, the new boss is missing and several other men are dead. Once again, all eyes turn her way.

FBI agent, London Behring hadn't expected Fern to look like she does now. Ethereal. Gorgeous. Gentle. Why and how had she been a murder suspect? Even more intriguing, how had she been acquitted of all charges? And more mysteriously, she'd come back to the scene of the crime... at the perfect time to fall under suspicion - again.

What magic did she possess to walk away from such crimes? And how can he stay free of her charms... a lure he's finding impossible to resist.

As soon as I read the summary for Dale Mayer's Seeds of Malice, I knew I had to add to my TBR list. It sounded fantastic - a famed botanist dubbed "Dr. Death" being set up for murder? Now, that's one way to catch my attention! Plus, the science nerd in me was intrigued by the botany aspect.

As it turns out, Seeds of Malice was an enjoyable read. It was like a really good episode of Criminal Minds -you know the one, containing all the twists and turns and extra fright - with just the right amount of romance and paranormal thrown in.

Seeds of Malice introduces the reader to three POVs: Fern, London, and the bad guy behind it all.

Fern was an incredibly easy character to like. I felt immensely bad for her regarding the previous murder trial. Here's this women who didn't do the crime yet still faces the repercussions and hate from it on a daily basis. It made my heart ache for her, especially when they included some of the hate letters in the text. My heart also broke for Fern regarding her family life. At the start, I had no idea her family would pay such a role in the book. Dale Mayer really managed to throw a gut-puncher in with that one! I also enjoyed seeing Fern kick a$$ and take names in her field - she was a smart women who used her talents, surprisingly, for good! London was the typical male hero; however, I still enjoyed reading about him. I liked his dedication to help clear Fern's name as well as the countless times he ended up being there for her, even when she was doing everything in her power to keep him away. He was a good guy. My favorite POV, however, was the bad guy behind it all. Dale Mayer truly managed to bring suspense, fright, and intrigue through it. Throughout the novel, I was trying to figure out who it was, especially when little subtle clues were dropped.

The plot of Seeds of Malice mainly focused on who was behind all the murders, and boy, was it addictive. As mentioned before, the bad guy POV was the perfect addition to really sell the mystery suspense part of this one. It had me on the edge of my seat throughout! There was so many ways I could've seen the plot of this one going, but the end result still managed to surprise me. Dale Mayer did a fantastic job of creating an intricate plot with a great mystery - I'm still reeling from all the surprises thrown in at the end.

The romance between London and Fern was also a good addition; however, at times I wish it was more developed. I wish more was discussed about their previous relationship as well as Fern's previous relationship with London's brother. The context was there but I feel that it would've made the story more developed if it was fleshed out more.

The botany aspect in this was also incredibly interesting. I loved the fact that Fern could "see" the poison left behind from the plants. It was such a cool paranormal ability to have. I also enjoyed how it made this book different from the typical murder mystery.

In all, Seeds of Malice is an enjoyable, fast paced addition to the paranormal world. I'm excited to see what Dale writes next!

Grade: B 

Seeds of Malice (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play ) is now out!

Source: eBook provided by publicist for blog tour - thanks Tracee!

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties eries. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It's a Dog's Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series). She honors the stories that come to her - and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!

To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format. 

To find out more about Dale and her books, visit her at
http://www.dalemayer.com. Or connect with her online with Twitter at www.twitter.com/dalemayer and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dalemayer.author. If you like Dale Mayer's books and are interested in joining her street team, sign up here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/402384989872660/

Click read more to see all the blog tour stops! 
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