Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest by Antony Gregwood

Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow's Quest

4 Stars

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: October 16th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse

Where you can find Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When twelve-year-old orphan Matthew injured his ankle on a school trip, little did he know that taking shelter in a cave would lead him to a strange land, drawn by a blinding light, where nothing was familiar. 
Taken in by a farming family, Matthew slowly adjusted to their peculiar ways and their strange customs and he set out on a quest to discover the truth of where he was and how he’d got there. 
As he struggled to understand the mysteries of this new land, Matthew had to face his fears and strive on through a journey of hope, danger, and adventure and he finds an important sense of loyalty to the family that took him in. 
This would become a journey that would ultimately change his life….forever. 

My review:

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Matthew was an orphan who was depressed over the deaths of his parents 3 years earlier. His life at the orphanage was awful and it carried over to school. So, when he was paired up with two of his classmates, he knew that he would be ignored. What he wasn’t expecting was to be left behind when he sprained his ankle. When a storm comes through, Matthew takes shelter in a cave that is off the path. The cave ends up caving in and he is sucked into a white light. He ends up coming out of the white light in a forest. Going through the forest, he sees a farm in the distance. It is when he is caught stealing, that he realizes that he is not on Earth. Finding a home with these people, Matthew goes through many trials and tribulations. But he starts to see his own worth and he started to realize that people like him/value him. But will his peace and happiness last? Will he be able to become the man that everyone in his adopted family thinks he will become? Or will he fail?

There are a few characters in The Shadow’s Quest. So, I will keep to the main ones. Otherwise, this part of the review will be super long and a tad boring

Matthew is the main character. I felt awful for him. His life before meeting Jabo and his family was one of depression and grief. I thought that The Light taking him was one of the best things to happen to him in the book. His character growth in the book was awesome to read. He went from this insecure, shy boy to a confident, brave young man. He rose above every trial that was set before him. It was fantastic to read!!!

Jabo and family. I was very thankful that ended up with them. From the beginning, they were, for the most part, welcoming. They accepted him into their household. They stood by him when he was accused of some very awful crimes. They came to love him. For the most part, I liked Jabo and his family. The only person that I didn’t like was Azzan. I could not stand him. Every bad thing that happened to Matthew was because of him. His apology, later in the book, didn’t feel real. Put it this way: I wanted to smack him upside the head a few times.

Rammon and family. I disliked them a tad bit more than Azzan. They were at the root of every bad thing that happened to Jabo, his family, and Matthew. They deserved every bad thing that happened to them. What made me dislike them the most is that they had Azzan under their spell for 90% of the book.

Elasi. I didn’t know what I thought about him at first. I did think he spoke in riddles and came into the story at the weirdest times. When it was revealed exactly who he was, I wasn’t surprised. I also wasn’t surprised at his role at the end of the book. I wonder if he will take a bigger role in the next book.

Remash, the villain. OK, so I didn’t see the villain part coming from this guy. When he was introduced at the beginning of the book, he came across as an alright guy. So when it was revealed that he was the bad guy mid-book, I was surprised. By the end of the book, with everything he had done, I wasn’t surprised anymore. He was truly an evil man!!

The world Matthew falls into resembles medieval England in some ways. There is no electricity, they rode horses. Elasi explained it to Matthew at some point in the book. This world is the shadow of the dimension that Matthew came from. People resemble each other but that’s it. While Matthew’s dimension evolved, that world stayed the way it was.

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Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest is a fantasy. There is magic but it is not in your face magic. It is more subtle. I liked that the author left that part up to our imagination.

The other genre that I would place Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest is Young Adult. Matthew is 12. Now, I know his age would put this book into middle grade. But there are some violent things that happen to Matthew during the course of the book. Matthew is beaten. He also single handly kills people who are holding Azzan, Temah and Elian hostage. Because of those scenes, I wouldn’t think that this book would be right for younger readers.

I actually liked Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest. I was caught from the beginning when Matthew was in that depressing orphanage. My attention did wander towards the middle of the book. But the author did a great job of getting it back by introducing new plotlines and characters.

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This is a long book, 570 pages. So be ready to be involved in this book for the long haul. I don’t know about you all, but I like long books. The author gives more detail to the world and characters than your typical 200-300 page books. And the author delivered those in spades in this book. The character building was excellent, as was the world building.

The end of the book was interesting. Some storylines were wrapped up and other’s were not. But, what got me, was the huge cliffhanger at the end of the book. I cannot stand cliffhangers. Can. Not. Stand. Them. I wanted to bang my head off of something hard when I saw that it ended that way. Seeing that it is giving a hint to a book 2, I hope the author delivers soon!!

I also want to discuss something that I had seen in another review. I had only a few instances with the formatting of the book. For a couple of lines, the book would

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and then it would go back to normal paragraphs. While that is annoying, it was fixed except for a few spots.

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What I liked about Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest:

A) Engaging plotline

B) Matthew’s character growth

C) Great world building

What I disliked about Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest

A) Matthew’s backstory

B) Azzan. He was a jerk almost the entire book to Matthew

C) Violent scenes. They kept me from giving this a Middle-Grade rating.

I would give Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest a Young Teen rating. There is no sex (actually nothing sexual at all in the book). There is violence. There is no language. There are a couple of scenes that would scare younger readers. I would suggest that no one under the age of 13 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest. They would be child abuse.

I would reread Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest. I would also reread this book.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest.

All opinions stated in this review of Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Weekly Wrap (6-10-18 to 6-17-18)

Books I’ve Read:

Not Her Daughter:

Not Her Daughter

The Sweetest Oblivion:

The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)

Everytime You Go Away:

Every Time You Go Away

Visionaries:

Visionaries (Mud, Rocks and Trees, #5)

Malevolent Sadness:

Malevolent Sadness: A Paranormal Suspense Thriller

To Kill an Assassin: The Priors, Part 2

To Kill an Assassin: The Priors, Part 2

Spelled

Spelled (The Storymakers, #1)

 

Books I’ve Reviewed:

Scotland or Bust:

Scotland or Bust

Playing Hurt (review coming July 17th, 2018)

Playing Hurt (Aces Hockey, #6)

Believe Me (review coming July 24th, 2018)

Believe Me

Jar of Hearts:

Jar of Hearts

Knocked Up

Knocked Up (Crazy Love, #2)

The Cyprus Papers:

The Cyprus Papers

Broken Promise (review coming June 26th, 2018)

NetGalley Haul:

Bishop:

Sister of Mine:

Email Requests:

The Sweetest Oblivion

The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)

Weekly Posts:

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Weekly Wrap Up

Blog Tour: Breathless by Celeste Bradley

Breathless

5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin, St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: June 12th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Historical romance

Where you can find Breathless: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A sensuous, delightful romantic women’s fiction novel from New York Times bestselling authors Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan!

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes-and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter, Fitch Wilder, is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: June 14th, 2018

I’ve decided to do Throwback Thursday but blog style. I am going to select a book I have read before and see if I would still read it.

This week’s Throwback Thursday is a fantasy.

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

Date of publication: October 20th, 1955

Genre: fantasy

Where you can find The Lord of the Rings: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Did I like The Lord of the Rings when I first read it? Does the sunshine? Do bees like flowers? Are oceans salty? Of course, I liked it. Actually, I more than liked it. I loved it. I will admit that because of the age I read it, I had trouble following along. But I reread it in my teens and it became one of my favorite books of all time.

Age I first read The Lord of the Rings: If I remember right (and don’t hold me to this), I was either 12 or 13 when I first read the book. While I finished it, I had issues following it. The next time I read it, I was 15-16. I had no problem following along and fell in love with the books.

Would I read The Lord of the Rings now: Of course!!!

How many stars would I have given The Lord of the Rings back then: 12 year old me: 3-4 (see above). 15-16 year old me: 5

How many stars would I give The Lord of the Rings now: 5. One of my all-time favorite books!!!

Have you read The Lord of the Rings?

Did you like it?

Did you see the movies?

How did they compare to the book?

Let me know!!

WWW Wednesday: June 13th, 2018

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading. Also, I will let y’all know what has gone on in my life this past week.

There really hasn’t been anything going on with me or my family since the last WWW Wednesday post. My ankle is on its way to healing and my kids are out of school. So, pretty boring. Next week, I might not have a WWW Wednesday post. I am going camping. Depending on when we leave next Wednesday, I might not have the time to type one up.

So, here’s what I have been up to reading-wise this past week:

What I am currently reading:

Visionaries:

Visionaries (Mud, Rocks and Trees, #5)

“The only thing keeping that seal around his neck is his head. Heads are easily removed.”

Time is running out. Tzoladia is under siege. Heads will roll.

As the prophecy unfolds, young people dream and old men see visions. Emperor Zoltov’s forces move to exterminate the “Subhumans.” Risky alliances are formed as Metlan’s ambition propels him into places of mystery and murder. Brina and Amanki sail through a sea filled with enchantment and betrayal. Moshoi is dazzled by treasure as he faces the horrors of an evil empire. All forces converge on Tzoladia. Time for a showdown. Will mud, rocks, and trees come together at last?

Who will lose their heads?

I just started this book today and I am super excited to read it. I have read the other 4 books in the series and loved them. So, I have built this book up in my head and I am hoping it won’t disappoint. So far, so good!!!


What I finished reading:

Every Time You Go Away

I will not be putting the synopsis up because it is not the right one. I plan on letting the publisher know as soon as I write the review

I finished this book earlier today. Gotta love summer days. Kids are in the pool and I read. I liked the book but I wasn’t happy about the wrong synopsis or how it ended. My review will be out its publication date: July 25th, 2018. So be on the lookout for it then.


What I am reading next:

Malevolent Sadness: A Paranormal Suspense ThrillerTo Kill an Assassin: The Priors, Part 2Daughter of a Daughter of a QueenRust & StardustLies

Malevolent Sadness: I was supposed to get this read last week. Which didn’t happen. I am interested to see how this book is. The cover is pretty nice.

To Kill an Assassin: Another book I was supposed to read last week and didn’t get around to. I have reviewed for this author before. I am looking forward to reading this book!!

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen: I am looking forward to this book. Every review I have read has sung its praises.

Rust & StardustI very rarely read books that are based on real events. But, I made an exception for this book. I cannot wait to read it.

Lies: Another book that I had been seeing around the blogosphere. So when it came up on NetGalley’s Read Now email, I jumped on it.

So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

The Cyprus Papers by C.W. Bordener

The Cyprus Papers

2 Stars

Publisher: C.W. Bordener

Date of publication: November 11th, 2017

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find The Cyprus Papers: Amazon 

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A consortium of people determined to keep a secret safe. A woman hell-bent on exposing the truth. A relentless assassin hunting her down. 

The odds are heavily stacked against Emily. Armed with fortitude and determination, she does everything she can while the world around her crumbles. 

Back Cover:
Emily, a consultant specializing in financial forensics, discovers an unspeakable plot of ambition and greed. Her investigation uncovers a paper trail of obscure evidence that her client, a congressman, and hopeful presidential candidate, is part of a corrupt consortium of individuals with links to international tax havens. 

As she learns more about her client and the consortium, a deadly cover-up quickly reaches her colleagues and inner circle of friends. Unsure of whom to trust and where to go, Emily is forced into hiding. 

With her life in the balance, she searches for the internal fortitude to battle and expose the consortium. Hindering her investigation is a ruthless assassin with his sights trained directly on her. While the people around her continue to perish, Emily stands up for what she believes is right, trying to preserve her moral compass amidst the chaos.

My review:

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The Cyprus Papers is a slow-moving espionage novel. With a strong female lead, it failed to keep my attention. I almost DNF’d the book. But I didn’t. I made myself read the book through to the end. I will say that the book started picking up towards the end but by then, it was too little too late. I could not connect with the main character. The plot fizzled towards the end of the book.

I did like Emily but I could not connect with her. I felt that she kept making the same bad decisions over and over. I also felt that she should have heeded the man with the gray and black hair’s warning. It would have saved her a lot of pain.

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I did admire Emily’s obsession to get the job done. I mean, if I had an assassin coming after me and I had people warning me to stop investigating things, I would have noped the heck out of the assignment.

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I also thought Emily was toxic to her friends. Every single one of her friends that she told about her assignment turned up dead. You would think that she would have stopped after the last death but no, she didn’t.

I know that she was written to be a tough woman but man, she was running rampant around Washington and Virginia. Bodies were piling up. I was surprised that she wasn’t arrested during the book.

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The ending of The Cyprus Papers was boring. The plot fizzled out after the scene with the assassin. As with most of the book, I had to force myself to keep reading it. I figured what happened at the end of the book would happen. I wish it was done differently. I did see an opening for a book 2 but I am not sure if I want to read it.

What I liked about The Cyprus Papers:

A) Strong female character

B) I guess that’s it

C) Yup, pretty sure about that

What I disliked about The Cyprus Papers:

A) Failed to keep my attention

B) Couldn’t connect with the main characters

C) Plot fizzled towards the end of the book

I would give The Cyprus Papers an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

Surprisingly, there are no trigger warnings in The Cyprus Papers.

I would not recommend The Cyprus Papers to family and friends. I will not be rereading this book.

I would like to thank the author and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Cyprus Papers

All opinions stated in this review of The Cyprus Papers are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Knocked Up (Crazy Love: Book 2) by Stacey Lynn

Knocked Up (Crazy Love, #2)

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: June 12th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: Crazy Love

Fake Wife – Book 1 (review here)

Knocked Up – Book 2

Where you can find Knocked Up: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage. Just not necessarily in that order. . . .

Braxton: I should probably be dead or in jail right now. Instead, thanks to some tough love, I worked my ass off and now I own a string of tattoo parlors throughout the Pacific Northwest. And yet the one thing I’ve always wanted—a family—still seems out of reach. When my best friend gets married, I’m just hoping to blow off some steam with the super-hot maid of honor. But after Cara Thompson tracks me down to tell me she’s pregnant, she’s more surprised than I am when I tell her I’m all in.

Cara: For the first time in my life, I’m living for myself—not for my parents and their ridiculous expectations. I gave up on my MBA, dropped out of the Ivy League, and moved to Portland to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. And what’s the first thing I do? Get knocked up. For a tatted-up sex god, Braxton Henley seems way too eager to “be there for me.” Is this guy serious? Maybe. He sure is patient. Because he won’t back down until I admit what I know in my heart: that our one-night stand might’ve led me to the one.

The steamy standalone novels in Stacey Lynn’s Crazy Love series can be read together or separately:
FAKE WIFE | KNOCKED UP

And don’t miss her passionate Fireside series:
HIS TO LOVE | HIS TO PROTECT | HIS TO CHERISH | HIS TO SEDUCE

My review

I was excited when I saw that Knocked Up was out. I had enjoyed Fake Wife, so I figured that I would enjoy this book. Which I did, for the most part. My issues with the book are that there was so much extra going on that I couldn’t enjoy Braxton and Cara’s story. Plus the drama was too much. I also didn’t like the way that Braxton kept jumping to conclusions about Cara. That added more drama to the book. All those reasons are the reason I gave Knocked Up a 3-star rating.

Cara drove me crazy. There is being independent and then there is being over the top independent. Braxton wanted to take care of her and the baby but she refused. My eyes almost rolled out of their sockets, that’s how much I was eye-rolling. There was one point in the book where I wanted to shake her and say “Duuuudddde, let him take care of you. Stop being so stubborn“.

Besides driving me crazy with her über independence, I did like Cara. She was sweet. She loved her friends. She loved her job. She loved her unborn child. I felt awful that her brother died. I felt even more awful at how her parents treated her. I thought, at first, that it was all in her head. Until they showed up at her apartment and said what they said. Then I understood why she was so independent. She was shoving her lifestyle in her parents face and telling them to take a flying leap.

I liked that Cara had far from a picture perfect pregnancy. Her having hyperemesis gravidarum made her more normal in my eyes. I didn’t like that she was so sick but I loved that she became more relatable. Most romance novel pregnancies are all sunshine and unicorns. So it was refreshing to see one that I could connect with.

Where do I start with Braxton? I liked that he stepped up when Cara showed up at his tattoo parlor and told him she was pregnant and it was his. I liked that he wanted to date Cara. I liked that he wanted to be in this baby’s life. But, he came with baggage. So. Much. Baggage. I almost couldn’t handle it.

He was a **reformed** man whore. I say reformed because he stopped sleeping around the minute Cara told him she was pregnant. That’s wonderful. But his past didn’t stay in the past. Cara and he had an uncomfortable confrontation with his last one night stand. I don’t know how Cara didn’t freak the heck out on him after what that chick said.

His relationship with Stella made me wonder exactly what was going on with them for a while. She got as salt AF when Cara showed up. She tried to destroy their relationship. She warned Cara off him. She was the one that showed Braxton those pictures of Cara with her friend. I didn’t understand why he still employed her or even was her friend after all that. And her apology was lukewarm. Again, don’t know why he stayed her friend. Anyone tried to mess with my relationship would have had a foot up their butt while going out the door.

The chemistry between Braxton and Cara was insane. The sparks were between them from the moment Cara showed up at his tattoo parlor. It deepened the more the book went on. Which is why it sucked when Stella did what she did. And it was also gratifying when Braxton and Cara talked. Because you could see the feelings there. It wasn’t just sex.

Speaking of sex, it was hot. Scorching hot. Braxton and Clara didn’t hold back because she was pregnant. What impressed me was that he still used condoms even though Cara was pregnant. Because he was a “reformed” man-whore who hadn’t been tested. But once he was, it was bareback all the way. It’s not like he could get her pregnant….lol.

The end of Knocked Up was cute. The book ended the way I thought it would. The epilogue was fantastic. I figured out the baby’s name pretty early on. So it wasn’t a surprise to me.

What I liked about Knocked Up:

A) Cara. She had a backbone and stood up to Braxton. Not a lot of female main characters do that

B) Cara’s relatable pregnancy

C) Braxton taking care of his responsibilities

What I disliked about Knocked Up:

A) Cara being over the top independent

B) Stella’s behavior.

C) All the other drama in the book. Took away from the main plotline.

I would give Knocked Up an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are no triggers in Knocked Up.

I am on the fence if I would reread Knocked Up. I am also on the fence if I would recommend Knocked Up to family and friends. I would read other books by the author.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Knocked Up.

All opinions stated in this review of Knocked Up are mine.

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