The Killings Begin (Spectrum Series: Book 1) by Bradley Pay

Publisher: Bradley Pay

Date of Publication: June 25th, 2022

Genre: Thriller, Romance, General Fiction

Series: Spectrum Series

The Killings Begin—Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | IndieBound | Better World Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

Immerse yourself in complex romance and suspenseful serial-killer psychology that bend and break all expectations. Weaving together two innovative plots and completely unforgettable characters, The Killings Begin stands out as one of the last century’s most creative takes on storytelling. Don’t miss this thrilling debut to the Spectrum Series!

Gia Delgado flips her life upside down when she escapes from her arranged marriage and moves to Madrid. Finally, she can live the life she wants… if only it were that easy. When she realizes the lifestyle she craves is just out of reach, she enters into a contract with three complicated men. In exchange for an apartment and stipend, she’ll pretend to be their “no strings” wife, whether they want to display her in public or lead her to the bedroom. There are vital rules, though: They are all bound to secrecy, and no one is allowed to fall in love.

If you think you know what comes next, excuse me… you’re wrong.

Gia doesn’t know it yet, but someone sinister is destined to tear her life to shreds. From the outside, Tracey Lauch looks like the adopted son of a perfect high-society family. Who wouldn’t trust him? He works in the justice system, sits on his family’s art museum board, and even establishes a foster home to keep siblings together. These appearances mean nothing. As he tries to cope with his abandonment trauma, a reconnection to his past triggers him, and he loses control with deadly consequences. Now a serial killer, Tracey panics. Fleeing to Europe, he hopes that a change of venue will quell his murderous desires. Can he heal his past, or will his anger and pain enslave him forever?

Dive into an unpredictable world of secrets, murder, and psychological thrills unlike any other.

The Killings Begin was previously published as Murder in Zaporozhye.


First Line:

Tracey watched the family gathered under the canopy of new leaves and flowers on the red maple trees.

The Killings Begin by Bradley Pay

When I got the publisher’s request to review The Killings Begin, I was immediately interested. The blurb called to me. But, I almost didn’t accept the invite to review because I was going on vacation and didn’t believe that I could get to the book in a timely fashion. But something kept calling me (the publisher kept emailing me for an answer), and I decided to review. I am glad I did because this book was a fantastic read.

The Killings Begin had dual plotlines. One plotline follows Gia as she flees an arranged marriage and enters into an unconventional relationship with three men in Madrid, Spain. The other follows Tracey, a respected judge in Raleigh, as he struggles to keep his serial killer lifestyle separate from his “normal” lifestyle. Gia and Tracey’s worlds collide when they meet on a Spectrum cruise. What happens on that cruise will forever shape Gia and Tracey’s life.

What I liked the most about this book was that the authors didn’t hide anything. Right from the beginning, I knew Tracey was a serial killer and that Gia lived an alternative lifestyle (polyamorous). Instead, the author focused on Gia and Tracey as individuals, which I enjoyed. I learned about their motives (or, in Tracey’s case, triggers) for their choices and how those choices affected them.

I liked Gia. She had a great outlook on life, and she cherished her friendships. My only issue is that she didn’t end her contract with Sal sooner. I understood why she didn’t do it (loving an addict is hard), but in the end, she was forced to. I also loved how supportive she was of her friends. Overall, she was a lovely person.

I thought Tracey was a fascinating character and wished the authors dedicated more book time to him. I was fascinated by how he turned into a serial killer and his reasons. That scene with his mother explained everything. He was remorseful and horrified at what he was doing, and escaping to Europe was supposed to be a reset for him. I knew that it wouldn’t be and was eager to see when he would get triggered into killing. What I wasn’t expecting was who it was.

For 90% of the book, I wondered when Tracey and Gia’s storylines would meet up. When they did, it was a little anti-climatic for me. That is my only major complaint about the book.

The thriller angle of the book was well written. The authors did a good job keeping me guessing at what was going to happen next with both Gia and Tracey.

The end of The Killings Begin was interesting. The authors did wrap up most of the storylines (giving happy endings to Raul and Joseph) but left the other storylines open. But, there was also a teaser with Tracey’s frame of mind at the very end that I couldn’t help but think about after I finished the book. That has made me very curious and excited to read book 2!!

I would recommend The Killings Begin to anyone over 21. There is sex, language, and violence.

WWW Wednesday: August 10th 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

  • We are getting ready for the first day of school. Backpacks and shoes were bought, and I went school cloth shopping for Miss R. We’re going shopping for Miss B and Mr. Z next weekend.
  • I can’t believe I am saying this, but we got another freaking cat. We went to the shelter and picked up a 10-week-old longhaired orange and white male kitten. Staying with the gangster theme for names, we named him Tony (after Tony Soprano, Vinne is after the actor who played Big Pussy in the Sopranos). He’s a spitfire who doesn’t like to be handled (we’re working on that).
  • On the reading front, I enjoy not reviewing books from NetGalley. To be honest, once I made the decision to cut the cord, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I am reviewing a book a week (well, two this week), and again, just love that I can read what I want when I am done reading the books I need to review.

So that’s the major things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s succeeded in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he returns home unexpectedly. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more? 


What I am currently reading:

In his semi-autobiographical novel, This Time Next Summer, Mikheyev weaves a tender tale about love and loss, one that is distinctly personal and yet universally human.

She was beautifully broken. And his everything.

Hurt and scarred by every man in her life, Jasmine had vowed to never love again. Then she meets Avgust, and her broken heart resumes beating.

A romantic idealist who measures love by his poetry output, Avgust had given up on finding that elusive once-in-a-lifetime kind of love he’d always dreamed of. But the moment he spies Jasmine in a coffee shop, he knows unequivocally that she is his Her—the woman who will change his life.

It was the perfect love story.

Until the secrets and betrayals of the past threaten to break them apart.

Will their love be strong enough to save Jasmine from her past, and Avgust from his future?

A Highland warrior battles to reclaim his birthright in the first of a new series filled with seduction, revenge, and soul-stirring passion…

They call him the Beast—a hardened mercenary whose heart seems as cold as his icy blue gaze. They do not know his true name: Niall Braewick, son of the Laird of Kincaid. It has been years since he escaped into the forest the night his father was murdered. Now he has returned, ablaze with a vengeful hunger. He will gain the MacClaren chief’s trust, gather his clan, and take back his lands. And take the MacClaren’s daughter as well…

Though he pulled her from the river, saving her life, Elspeth has been warned to keep her distance from her father’s hired warrior. He is a barbarian—a shame, as he is far more compelling than the lechers and fools competing for her dowry. Little does she know that, like the castle itself, she is a prize Niall intends to claim…but will he extract blood for blood and possess what is his, or will his enemy’s beautiful, innocent daughter tempt him to forsake his dream of conquest?


What books I think I’ll read next:

Zoe was still in high school when she saw her father shot dead by a classmate obsessed with her, and then still a kid witnessed the killer’s sentencing. A horrible tragedy, but now, thirteen years later, she’s thoroughly rebooted her life.

She’s the CEO of her own cyber security company, a celebrity in her field, and a speaker in high demand.

She’s just the kind of strong, self-reliant woman who can take care of herself in any situation.

Except the one she’s in.

She’s got a stalker.

And she already knows he’s a killer.

Given her background, Zoe knows instantly that she needs protection and she knows how to get it—her sister Mel’s the owner of Blackhawk Security.

But trust Mel to send Spence Flynn, the one agent Zoe can’t be alone with, but not because they don’t get along. It’s because attraction sizzles between the two of them like runaway electricity. And because they both know the last thing a body guard should do is get into a relationship with his principal.

It’s unethical and dangerous.

But how are they supposed to fight this thing? Spoiler: Good intentions suffer a knockout in the first round. And then, to the delight of the reader, the earth moves in the most delicious way.

Meanwhile, Zoe’s stalker is still sending her charms from a bracelet he stole from her thirteen years ago, the scariest being a heart he’s had engraved with both their names. Unnerving enough– and then he starts dropping off lunch for her, tailing her in a white Subaru, and trying to break into her condo.

Spence has his hands full in more than one way. And Zoe has a public appearance coming up. The perfect time for a stalker to strike.

The sweetness of first love…

Could a fiercely independent cop’s heart be stolen by the guy who makes her favorite doughnuts? Will a maid who used deceit to snare a mail-order husband get a dose of her own medicine? Can her handsome neighbor rescue a modern-day “princess” from a tenacious ex-boyfriend? Can two strangers in a rideshare be honest enough to fall in love for real? Can you remember your first love? How about your second? Third? Fourth?

Featuring the talents of Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, and Sammi Spizziri. Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will touch your heart and rekindle lost feelings. Prepare to return to that first love…

“Where is your husband?”

Since waking up from the accident Dr Paige Hanson has been asked that question over and over. By the hospital staff, by her mother in law and by Government officials.

As she struggles to grasp the wisps of memory returning to her Paige learns that there’s more at stake than Leo’s whereabouts.

Turning towards the teachings of the one person she swore never to become she begins to realise that some questions are best left unanswered.

She doesn’t believe in fairy tales. He is married to his job. Maybe whiskey is the secret ingredient that will bring them together–and give true love a shot.

Wedding photographer Charlotte Linley loves her work –even though she hates weddings. Sure, she still holds a grudge after being left at the altar by her high-school sweetheart. But today Charlotte is just happy to have complete control over her career, which is flourishing. Especially since she joined forces with one of the three gorgeous owners of The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s hottest wedding venue.

Dean Troyer, bitter after the end of his own marriage, knows that Charlotte is the real deal–beautiful, talented, and successful. He may flirt with her every time she comes to The Stag, but Dean is determined to keep his professional distance…particularly now that she’s helping him with his own sister’s wedding. The only problem? The more time Dean spends with Charlotte, the deeper their connection grows. Is this a rom-com cliche’ or could it be that these two jaded souls in the wedding business have finally found their real-life happily ever after?

I Let You Fall by Sara Downing

Publisher: Quilla Books

Date of publication: June 20th, 2022

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Alibris | IndieBound

Goodreads Synopsis:

On a summer night in London, art teacher Eve Chapman finds herself in a hospital emergency room. She watches surgeons desperately operate on a young woman with a terrible head injury. But when the bandages are removed, Eve is horrified to find her own body on the operating table.

Trapped in a coma, Eve struggles to cope with the fact that no matter how hard she tries, her family and friends cannot see or hear her. But then she meets Luca Diaz, a handsome and comatose lawyer who can see her. He takes Eve under his wing and teaches her how to use her new abilities to help the living.

As the weeks pass, Eve struggles to find a way back to her body and to Nathan, the man she loves. But the more time she spends with Luca, the more she wonders if her old life is worth going back to at all.


First Line:

It’s joyful weather, a day for looking up rather than down, for seeing the blue of the sky, latticed with vapour trails, not the grime of the dusty pavements.

I Let You Fall by Sara Downing

I Let You Fall is one book that grabs you by your heartstrings and continuously yanks them throughout the book. I wasn’t expecting this book to have that kind of hold over me. I haven’t been this affected by a book in a while.

I Let You Fall has an interesting plotline. Eve finds herself in a hospital OR, watching a surgeon operating on a young woman with a horrible head injury. Wondering why she is there and why no one is talking to her, Eve follows the young woman to a room, where she makes a horrifying discovery. That young woman is her, and she is in a coma. Distraught, Eve doesn’t know how to cope until she meets a man who sees her and talks to her. That man is Luca and is also in a coma after being attacked by an ex-client. Luca explains to Eve that she can help people and teaches her how to use them. They also grow close, and Eve starts developing feelings for Luca, even though she has a boyfriend. Eve desperately wants to go back to her body and wake up. That is compounded when she loses Luca. Will Eve wake up? And more importantly, will she find Luca when she does?

I loved Eve in this book. I thought she dealt with the shock of seeing herself in a coma pretty well. If that had been me, I would have been freaking out, curled up on the floor crying. My only complaint was that she either refused or didn’t see how much of an idiot Nathan was (I will get to him in a bit). I loved how she embraced her abilities and pushed herself when testing them out. She made me cry a little bit when she comforted her family and friends who came to visit. But, what she did towards the end of the book made me love her.

I can’t say enough about Luca. He was there for Eve when she needed him. But he also gave her space to accept her new reality and adjust to it. He was her rock; later in the book, after Nathan did what he did. Also, I liked how the author connected him to several events before Eve’s accident. I was a little shocked when his storyline took the turn it did, but I expected it.

Let’s talk about Nathan (set to the tune of We Don’t Talk About Bruno). He was despicable. At first, I thought it was because of Eve’s accident, but when he started asking about how bad Eve’s scar would be, I started to dislike him. My dislike was cemented when he brought his side piece to Eve’s hospital room. My mouth dropped open, and I was like, “Oh hell no, he didn’t do that.” I was glad the author took him out of the storyline shortly afterward. He was just too much.

A secondary storyline starts right after Eve’s accident involving Ron, Susan, and their sons: George and Will. The storyline is sad, George is in kidney failure, and the stress affects everyone. I wondered how the author would connect their storyline to Eve’s. But, when she did, it was something that broke my heart and made me happy at the same time (two separate things happened).

The secondary characters also made the book. The nurses, the surgeons, Eve’s parents, and friends each left an impression on me.

I liked the author’s angle with Luca and Eve having abilities. It made the book more interesting to read. The author did start Eve off little (helping a woman with a husband who was dying) and worked up to the bigger events.

The romance angle was very subtle. I liked that the author chose to do that. Mainly because Luca and Eve were in comas and never met while awake but also because there was so much else going on. I felt that if the romance were more in your face, it would have taken away from everything else in the book.

The end of I Let You Fall was a tear-jerker. I loved how the author ended the book. I can’t get into it because of spoilers, but the ending was perfect (chef’s kiss). I couldn’t have asked for anything better than what happened.

I would recommend I Let You Fall to anyone over 16. There is mild language, some violence with some mild gore, and no sexual situations (even though Eve and Luca kiss a couple of times).

Goodreads Monday: Mind Strings by Ryan Julian

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose a random book from their Goodreads TBR and highlight it This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.


This Week’s Selection:

The near future. Social media is dominated by strings, which are experiences captured directly from the human mind. The technology responsible for this paradigm shift, string-tech, has become an inseparable addition to conscious thought. The human mind’s ability to detect deception initially made string-tech impervious to corruption, but a few unusual deaths revealed that string-tech had been hacked by someone with murderous intent. Quickly developing a taste for blood and with the ability to seamlessly alter reality, the madman sets in motion plans for an escalating agenda of chaos and destruction. Humanity’s best chance to stop him? –a hapless professor and an agent gone rogue from the FBI.

Meara: A Contemporary Fantasy Romance by Anya Wylde

Publisher:

Date of publication: May 31st, 2022

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

A whisper of someone like her being born has been discussed for aeons by the gods. The question is, who is she, and where is she?
Meara lives an ordinary life with her eccentric grandmother and three siblings in a small Georgian house in Dublin. On her eighteenth birthday, her little sister is kidnapped by an incredibly powerful man, and her entire world turns upside down.
Long hidden family secrets tumble out, and supernatural beings suddenly surround her. However, she thinks she is a side character, the hero’s friend, and the heroine’s sister. After all, her nature is more girl-next-door than a tortured soul with ninja fighting skills.
Her only desire is to get her sister back and keep her safe but to do so; she must battle dangerous beings and reign in her treacherous heart which has begun to beat for her family’s sworn enemy, a gorgeous demigod.


First Line:

The weather department said that the sudden startospheric warming event that caused the easterly winds to rush over and blanket Ireland in snow and ice was rare.

Meara: A Contemporary Fantasy Romance by Anya Wylde

When I was younger, I was very much into researching myths/fables/different Gods and Goddesses of the world. I was also fascinated with learning about the other mythological creatures/entities worldwide. So, when I realized that the author used a variety of gods/goddesses/mythical creatures/entities, I was intrigued. But this book is so much more than that, and once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down.

Meara had an interesting plotline. Meara is a girl who lives with her two older brothers, grandmother, and six-year-old sister in Ireland. Meara’s life is quiet and somewhat dull until the day of her 18th birthday. She has an accident while ice skating and, during her birthday party, her best friend tries to kill her sister. She finds out that she is from a long line of magical immortal beings, that her sister is part of a prophecy, and that prophecy has put a big target on her head. Everything comes to a head when a gorgeous demigod, Kamraan, kidnaps her sister. Determined to get her back, Meara is sucked into Kamraan’s world. Can Meara get her sister back and go back to the life she knew? Or will she become a pawn in a war that she didn’t know about and wanted no part of?

I loved Meara because of how real she felt to me. In every situation she was in, I could see myself (if I was 18, which was ages ago) doing the same thing. She wanted only to see the best in people, even when they proved otherwise. I felt that some of the people in the book did take advantage of her and her giving nature. I also thought that what Kamraan put her through for 90% of the book was awful, but I will discuss that later in the book. I loved when she finally found her backbone, but I did feel that the author could have done it earlier.

Kamraan was a colossal jerk for 95% of the book. I understood why at the beginning. There was a war, and Meara and Bree (her sister) were the enemies. But I didn’t appreciate his attitude and cruelty in the middle and towards the end of the book. At that point, he knew what was happening (Meara did not). He did try to justify his behavior during a pivotal scene at the end of the book, but still. Other than that, I liked him just fine. He was a devoted brother/son and did everything in his power (which was infinite) to keep Meara and Bree safe.

The secondary characters added extra depth to an already great storyline. I was disappointed with how a couple of them turned out (talk about a surprise), but it back up Meara/Kamraan’s storyline perfectly.

The romance angle of Meara was a slow burn. It was so slow that I wondered if Kamraan even had feelings for Meara. The romance did speed up once they were on the island, and it was full force by the end. There are no sexual situations, but the author laid on the sexual tension thick. I almost wished there was a sex scene so that tension would go down.

The fantasy angle of Meara was excellent. I loved how the author introduced Meara and her family’s powers and how she explained the different dimensions. Meara’s eyes fascinated me because they didn’t have an actual color and acted like a mood ring. White=fear, red=anger, green=jealousy; the list could go on.

As mentioned above, I loved that the author used the book’s different deities/mythological creatures and beings. It made for an enjoyable read for me (since I knew most of them were). It also reinforced that the gods/goddesses were inbred…lol. Meara carried the blood from everyone in her (including demons), and it was fun to watch her learn and interact with them.

Meara also showcased that family can be messy and complicated. Meara’s parents abandoned them when she was 12-13 years old. That left Meara to raise Bree (her brothers and grandmother were never around). It also left Meara with so much anger and bitterness towards her parents. I didn’t blame her for erupting on them the way she did; they deserved it.

The end of Meara was interesting. I liked how the author wrapped up the various storylines that were throughout the book and how she introduced new characters. She also introduced a new storyline (hopefully) that involves Meara, Kamraan, and their child. I will go out on a limb and say that there will be a book two because of how book 1 ended. I hope so!!

I would recommend Meara to anyone over 13. There is violence, mild language, and no sexual scenes (kissing scenes with Meara and Kamraan/Violet and Kamraan).

August 2022 TBR

It has been a minute since I have done one of these. Usually, I have a thousand and one books to put up, and it takes forever to read. But, I am pleased to announce that I don’t have many books (because of what I discussed here).

Also, I am looking to add a meme on Friday. I can’t remember where, but I saw someone doing one where they listed the countries they visited in books. If anyone knows who that blogger was or what blog the meme is linked to, please let me know!! Thank you in advance.

Anyway, here is my list!! Let me know if you have read or are planning on reading any of these books.


Am currently reading. So far, I love it!!

I am reading this in paperback. So far, very intriguing and has my attention

Also got this in paperback. Will probably be tandem reading it with another book on my Kindle.

I have been eagerly waiting for this book to be published. This series is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the shenanigans that happen.

WWW Wednesday: August 3rd, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

Here’s what has gone on since last week’s WWW Wednesday:

Well, it’s been over a month, and I have a ton to cover. So, here goes nothing.

  • Miss R had her tonsils and adenoids surgery on July 1st (which was a big part of why I went MIA). She had some complications during the surgery with her blood pressure. It was very high (a PA I know told me they should have canceled the surgery because of how high it was), and it had a problem coming down after the surgery. Because of that, her recovery was extended to 2 weeks and complete rest. Ever try keeping an active 8-year-old inactive? Yeah, it was as difficult as it sounds. But she made it through. Her throat healed, and she is back to her usual self.
  • BK got laid off in mid-July. We saw it coming (the company was downsizing because of lack of sales), but still, it sucked. But, as the old saying goes: when one door closes, another opens. He got a call 2 hours after being laid off and was offered a job where he used to work (the company he was at for 10 years). Of course, he took it and is super happy about it. The only sucky thing is that we won’t have insurance until October (I told the kids not to get sick until after October 1st…lol).
  • I am in therapy (due to PTSD) and starting a new therapy type called EMDR (click the link for details). My wonderful therapist and I are excited to try this. She (my therapist) even went to get certified so she could start this with me (and others).
  • I was in a huge reading slump which started when Miss R went in for her surgery. It got to the point where I didn’t even want to pick up my Kindle or read the paperbacks sent to me. Over the past couple of weeks, I had a big heart-to-heart with myself and decided to delete my NetGalley account (along with the ARCs). I had gotten overwhelmed with the number of books I had gotten from them. Also, I realized that almost all the books I had gotten from there were not from genres that I liked but were from more mainstream authors. I started this blog by reviewing indie authors and decided to take it back to its roots. So, for now on, I will be only reviewing books from author requests, my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads, and BookSirens.
  • One of my cats passed away during this time too. Her name was Skittles, and she was a long-haired diluted tabby. Even though she was mean to other cats, she was a sweetheart to people. We don’t know what happened. One day, she was doing her usual cat stuff, and the next, we woke up to a dead cat. She was only 5 1/2 when she passed.
  • Miss B was inconsolable after Skittles died. So, what did we do (and against my wishes)? We went to our county’s humane society and adopted a kitten (they were adopting cats and kittens out for $1 with no background check…smh). His name is Vinnie, and he is a terror. His paperwork put him at 10 weeks old. But when we took him to the vet (he had a cough, and I wanted an overall checkup), she said he was 8 weeks old. We think he is at least part Eygptian Mau. He has all the physical characteristics (including his eyes turning green) and many personality traits the breed exhibits. When I take him in for his 2nd set of kitten shots, I will ask my vet what she thinks.
  • I am gearing up for back to school. My kids go back on the 29th, and we have already started scaling back their bedtimes (they all go to bed around 9-930 and are asleep later). I am waiting for Miss R’s teacher assignment (they mail it), and Mr. Z has freshman orientation on the 23rd.

So that’s the major things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Nothing. I haven’t read a darn thing in over a month. I am going to fix that pretty shortly


What I am currently reading:

On a summer night in London, art teacher Eve Chapman finds herself in a hospital emergency room. She watches surgeons desperately operate on a young woman with a terrible head injury. But when the bandages are removed, Eve is horrified to find her own body on the operating table.

Trapped in a coma, Eve struggles to cope with the fact that no matter how hard she tries, her family and friends cannot see or hear her. But then she meets Luca Diaz, a handsome and comatose lawyer who can see her. He takes Eve under his wing and teaches her how to use her new abilities to help the living.

As the weeks pass, Eve struggles to find a way back to her body and to Nathan, the man she loves. But the more time she spends with Luca, the more she wonders if her old life is worth going back to at all.


What books I think I’ll read next:

A whisper of someone like her being born has been discussed for aeons by the gods. The question is, who is she, and where is she?
Meara lives an ordinary life with her eccentric grandmother and three siblings in a small Georgian house in Dublin. On her eighteenth birthday, her little sister is kidnapped by an incredibly powerful man, and her entire world turns upside down.
Long hidden family secrets tumble out, and supernatural beings suddenly surround her. However, she thinks she is a side character, the hero’s friend, and the heroine’s sister. After all, her nature is more girl-next-door than a tortured soul with ninja fighting skills.
Her only desire is to get her sister back and keep her safe but to do so; she must battle dangerous beings and reign in her treacherous heart which has begun to beat for her family’s sworn enemy, a gorgeous demigod.

Immerse yourself in complex romance and suspenseful serial-killer psychology that bend and break all expectations. Weaving together two innovative plots and completely unforgettable characters, The Killings Begin stands out as one of the most creative takes on storytelling in the last century. Don’t miss this thrilling debut to the Spectrum Series!

Gia Delgado flips her life upside down when she escapes from her arranged marriage and moves to Madrid. Finally, she can live the life she wants… if only it were that easy. When she realizes the lifestyle she craves is just out of reach, she enters into a contract with three complicated men. In exchange for an apartment and stipend, she’ll pretend to be their “no strings” wife, whether they want to display her in public or lead her to the bedroom. There are vital rules, though: They are all bound to secrecy, and no one is allowed to fall in love.

If you think you know what comes next, excuse me… you’re wrong.

Gia doesn’t know it yet, but someone sinister is destined to tear her life to shreds. From the outside, Tracey Lauch looks like the adopted son of a perfect high-society family. Who wouldn’t trust him? He works in the justice system, sits on his family’s art museum board, and even establishes a foster home to keep siblings together. These appearances mean nothing. As he tries to cope with his abandonment trauma, a reconnection to his past triggers him, and he loses control with deadly consequences. Now a serial killer, Tracey panics. Fleeing to Europe, he hopes that a change of venue will quell his murderous desires. Can he heal his past, or will his anger and pain enslave him forever?

Dive into an unpredictable world of secrets, murder, and psychological thrills unlike any other.

The Killings Begin was previously published as Murder in Zaporozhye.

In his semi-autobiographical novel, This Time Next Summer, Mikheyev weaves a tender tale about love and loss, one that is distinctly personal and yet universally human.

She was beautifully broken. And his everything.

Hurt and scarred by every man in her life, Jasmine had vowed to never love again. Then she meets Avgust, and her broken heart resumes beating.

A romantic idealist who measures love by his poetry output, Avgust had given up on finding that elusive once-in-a-lifetime kind of love he’d always dreamed of. But the moment he spies Jasmine in a coffee shop, he knows unequivocally that she is his Her—the woman who will change his life.

It was the perfect love story.

Until the secrets and betrayals of the past threaten to break them apart.

Will their love be strong enough to save Jasmine from her past, and Avgust from his future?

Zoe was still in high school when she saw her father shot dead by a classmate obsessed with her, and then still a kid, witnessed the killer’s sentencing. A horrible tragedy, but now, thirteen years later, she’s thoroughly rebooted her life.

She’s the CEO of her own cyber security company, a celebrity in her field, and a speaker in high demand.

She’s just the kind of strong, self-reliant woman who can take care of herself in any situation.

Except the one she’s in.

She’s got a stalker.

And she already knows he’s a killer.

Given her background, Zoe knows instantly that she needs protection and she knows how to get it—her sister Mel’s the owner of Blackhawk Security.

But trust Mel to send Spence Flynn, the one agent Zoe can’t be alone with, but not because they don’t get along. It’s because attraction sizzles between the two of them like runaway electricity. And because they both know the last thing a body guard should do is get into a relationship with his principal.

It’s unethical and dangerous.

But how are they supposed to fight this thing? Spoiler: Good intentions suffer a knockout in the first round. And then, to the delight of the reader, the earth moves in the most delicious way.

Meanwhile, Zoe’s stalker is still sending her charms from a bracelet he stole from her thirteen years ago, the scariest being a heart he’s had engraved with both their names. Unnerving enough– and then he starts dropping off lunch for her, tailing her in a white Subaru, and trying to break into her condo.

Spence has his hands full in more than one way. And Zoe has a public appearance coming up. The perfect time for a stalker to strike.

Goodreads Monday: The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter: Book 1) by K.S. Marsden

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose a random book from their Goodreads TBR and highlight it This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.


This Week’s Selection

When a new witch threat rises, only Hunter Astley can stop them…

In the face of dark magic and evil witches, a secret witch-hunting society works tirelessly to keep them at bay. The Malleus Maleficarum Council have strict rules and practises for eradicating magic.
Due to their work, witches have been almost forgotten, relegated to myth; but rumours are starting to emerge of a new power that will throw the world into chaos.

As the only 7th generation witch-hunter, Hunter Astley is the best the MMC has to offer. With the help of his colleagues, it’s a race to track down this new threat and stop them… in any way he can.

Goodreads Monday: Shadows Wake (The Ruadhan Sidhe: Book 1) by Aiki Flinthart

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose a random book from their Goodreads TBR and highlight it This meme was formerly featured on LaurensPageTurners and was taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog.


This Week’s Selection

Rowan Gilmore and her mother, Anna, have spent most of Rowan’s life running, hiding Rowan’s speed, strength and precognitive powers—but without knowing why she’s different, why they have to hide, or who from.
And Rowan’s sick of running scared. But she has to continue, because she also harbours a dark power that emerges only when she’s afraid or in danger.
A power that can kill indiscriminately.

When she moves to Australia, a street fight reveals Rowan’s abilities to a stranger, Fynn, and she must decide whether to run again or stay and risk discovery by her pursuers. Her mother has found happiness with a new partner and Rowan is reluctant to wreck it. So, after foiling another kidnap attempt, Rowan makes her decision. The time has come to stand her ground.

Fynn becomes and unexpected ally, with promises to help fight her unknown enemy – and to reveal the truth behind her extraordinary abilities. But what’s his agenda? Can he be trusted?
And who are the Mors Ferrum operatives he says are chasing Rowan? What do they want? What is the ocair thing they keep asking about?
Rowan has too many questions and not enough answers; too many unknowns – including herself.
For what happens if the darkness lurking in her mind wakes and comes out to play?

(Author’s note: Not a vampire, shapeshifter or zombie story, in case you were wondering)

Black Tide by K.C. Jones

Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire

Date of publication: May 31st, 2022

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Thriller, Dystopia, Speculative Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

It was just another day at the beach. Then the world ended.

Mike and Beth were strangers before the night of the meteor shower. Chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more.

Following their drunken and desperate one-night stand, the two discover the astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying.

When a lost car key leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for their car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.


First Line:

My mom once accused me of being a human car wreck, I laughed in her face when she said it.

Black Tide by K.C. Jones

Black Tide was the first in a series of books I had seen on other blogs that I wanted to read. So, like everyone else, I added it to Goodreads and prayed to the book gods that I got an invite. The book gods blessed me because I got every single book I had put on my Want to Read list. I was pretty stoked about getting it and couldn’t wait to read it. I am glad I did because this book scared the everliving out of me!!

Black Tide is a fast-moving horror story on the Oregon coast. Beth is a woman who has gone through a lot but is turning her life around. She is pet sitting for a wealthy couple and enjoying it. Then one night, she meets Mike. Mike owns the house next door and is a bit of a mystery. When Beth sees him drinking champagne on the deck of his house, she invites herself over. That turns into a drunken one-night stand with Beth having a strange, almost vivid dream and Mike witnessing a meteor shower like none he had seen before. When Beth wakes up, Mike is on the beach with Jake (the dog she is pet sitting), and Mike has disturbing news. There is no power, and he cannot get a hold of anyone over the phone. He also has a strange pod on the beach that turned up (along with several others). Deciding to leave and try to find a person of authority who knows what is going on, they drive until they find a bunch of people parked on the beach and the road. What happens next is almost unbelievable, and Beth drops the keys to the car in a rush to get out—stranded and with high tide coming in, Mike and Beth need to figure something out fast before they end up like the people with them on the beach. What happened on the beach? Will they get out? Will they find out what happened?

I very rarely get frightened by books. I lost the ability to do that when I read The Stand and It in middle school (I was a precocious reader). But this book scared the ever living out of me. But, at the same time, while I was scared to death, I also couldn’t put it down. I 100% attribute that to the author keeping me hooked and wanting to see if Mike, Beth, and Jake (along with another person who appears later in the book) would get out alive. I was left feeling breathless during certain scenes. The author also ramped up my anxiety.

I could relate to Beth on certain levels. Who hasn’t felt like a car accident waiting to happen during specific points in their life? Who hasn’t hit rock bottom and has to claw their way out? I know I have. I loved seeing her character grow. She went from being this self-absorbed drunk to a woman willing to do whatever it took to get out of her situation.

I wasn’t too sure about Mike when he was introduced. I kept feeling that he was hiding something (which he was, and it was very sad when it was revealed). But his character also transformed throughout Black Tide. He was pulled out of his depression and realized his life was worth living. I thought he was perfect for Beth, and he complimented her towards the end of the book.

The author very well wrote the horror angle of Black Tide. During the scenes in the car (while the tide was creeping in), I did get some Cujo-like vibes. That didn’t take away from how much I liked the book. Instead, it added to it. And as I said above, the author stoked my anxiety during pivotal scenes.

The science fiction angle of the book was well written also. I loved the imagination the author had with the aliens. They were so monstrous that I had no issue imagining them in my head (which added to my anxiety).

The end of Black Tide left me with conflicting emotions. I was upset over some things, but I understood why they happened. But at the same time, I was overjoyed over other things. I was also sad because of what they realized after leaving the beach. The book didn’t end with a HEA. Instead, without going much into it, I left the book feeling pessimistic about Beth and Mike’s future.

I would recommend Black Tide to anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and nongraphic sex/sexual situations.