Two Guns (Run, Rabbit Run: Book 2) by Jette Harris

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Two Guns: a serial killer thriller (Run Rabbit Run Book 2) by [Harris, Jette]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: November 20th, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Run, Rabbit Run

Colossus – Book 1 (review here)

Two Guns – Book 2

Where you can find Two Guns: Amazon

Triggers: rape, assault, kidnapping, and stalking

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Days before their graduation, four students in a sleepy Atlanta suburb go missing, leaving behind nothing but two abandoned vehicles, an eerie 9-1-1 call, and an alarming amount of blood. Just like some disappearances from four years ago. And six years before that. And three years before that. 

Agent Richard Steyer of the FBI’s Violent Crimes division has retirement in his sights when he and his partner are called to Atlanta. His final case? Connect this recent mystery to the only case Steyer couldn’t solve: a serial killer known as the Phoenix. 

Meanwhile, Avery Rhodes—occasionally known as the Phoenix—is enjoying his visit to Atlanta…and his new playthings. When he hears his old adversaries are on the case, he decides to expand his sadistic playground to include them, the local law enforcement, and the victims’ families. 

As the Phoenix’s spree hurtles toward its deadly conclusion, it becomes a question of who will make it out of his game alive. 

A crime thriller as relentless as Karin Slaughter’s Triptych, featuring a show-stealing antagonist as memorable as Hannibal Lecter.

My review:

If you have followed my reviews or blog, then you know my feelings about 2nd books in a series. Especially when the first book blew me away. I tend to get disappointed and let down by book 2’s. Lately, though, I have read a lot of 2nd books that were as good or better than the first book. Two Guns is such a book. It was as good as the first book.

What I liked, and enjoyed, is that I got to see the police and FBI investigation of the kids’ disappearance. The author didn’t draw out the connection to Phoenix. Instead, she had the FBI agents make the connection pretty early. It was the investigation and the frantic search for kids’ that drew me in and kept my attention. The author did a great job of showing how the local police hated working with the FBI (or Feds as they are called). She showed how emotionally invested that the agents get into their cases. Mainly Steyer. Steyer had a history with Phoenix going back to the first killings in Detroit. Remington also did and his was more emotionally charged (if that makes sense).

What I also liked about the book was that Avery was so complicated. From Colossus, I knew he was depraved and sadistic. While he still was, there was a new depth to him. He loved, well-loved as much as a psychopath could. He also felt a sense of kinship with Agent Steyer and Agent Remington. What scared me was that he talked to Monica’s younger sister and brothers. That talk, along with the flashback to the Detroit killings, chilled me to the bone.

I was a little perturbed that no one seemed to know that Avery was masquerading as a cop until almost the end of the book. It made me scratch my head because they were on top of everything except that. I thought that Steyer and Remington would have been more aware of who was on the local force. Seeing that Phoenix has it out for Remington. Steyer is on his list too but he wants Remington in the worse way.

It took me a while to realize who Thatch was. A long while because I couldn’t imagine Thatch as that person. I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

The end of Two Guns was fantastic. While some storylines were answered, others were not. I still have questions that I hope are answered in book 3.

What I liked about Two Guns:

A) Fast moving storyline

B) A realistic look at police/FBI investigations

C) Avery

What I disliked about Two Guns:

A) Thatch. Not that I disliked him. I pitied him more than anything

B) Avery masquerading as a cop and no one knows

C) Avery’s interactions with Monica’s brothers and sister

I would give Two Guns a rating of Adult. There is explicit violence. There is explicit sex. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings. They are rape, assault, kidnapping, and stalking. If you are triggered by any of these, I would suggest not read the book.

I would recommend Two Guns to family and friends. I would include a warning about the explicit sex and violence and the triggers. This is a book that I would reread.

I would like to thank Jette Harris for allowing me to read and review Two Guns.

All opinions stated in this review of Two Guns are mine.

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

The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun by John McCarrick

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3.5 Stars (rounded up to 4 stars for all sites that use a star system)

Publisher:

Date of publication: April 28th, 2018

Genre: Children, Fantasy

Where you can find The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun: Amazon

Book Synopsis (from Amazon):

Far away in a country you don’t know there’s a valley where magic happens. Some of the magic is good but much of it is evil. At the center of the war between good and evil is Billy Bottom. He lives in the woods in the hills overlooking the village of Tut Tut Bun — and is a good wizard. His closest friends are the trees and the creatures of the woods. 

Start your adventure alongside the children of Tut Tut Bun as they first get to know Billy Bottom. Then join them in their quest to rid the valley of evil. 

This fantasy adventure story is for children who want to engage with the conflicts in the world today. Issues such as child labor, pollution, and deforestation come up in Billy Bottom’s campaign against wicked forces. Can good overcome evil?

Join the Wizard of Tut Tut Bun and his friends to find out!

My Review:

I didn’t read anything to do with children’s books until after my oldest daughter was born. Then I started hoarding children’s books. By the time my son was born, 2 years later, she had a pretty sizable collection. As they grew older, I started to realize that there weren’t any good fantasy books for kids between the ages of 3-6. I never stopped searching and after my youngest was born, actually stepped it up. So when I was approached to review The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun, my first response was no. Then I thought about it and decided to give this book a try. I am glad I did because I enjoyed this book a lot.

The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun is a collection of stories about Billy Bottom, a wizard who lives in the woods above the town of Tut-Tut-Bun. 20 years before, the mayor of the town banned the children from climbing up Near Hill, claiming it was dangerous. That all changed when 3 children drew the short straws and began their climb up Near Hill. Instead of finding a desolate forest, they find Billy and his magical companions.  But there is evil that lurks near Tut-Tut-Bun. It is up to Billy and his friends to find ways of getting rid of the bad elements that keep popping up.

I thought that Billy Bottom was a great character. Here was a wizard living above a town and he does everything to protect it. He teaches the children valuable lessons about teamwork. He always was there for the children, even when the adults weren’t.

I liked the children too. They were resourceful and thought outside the box the few times that Billy wasn’t around to save them. They learned their lessons from Billy too. I liked that compassion and teamwork was stressed.

I did feel that there needed to be more world-building in the book. What the author has is great but it could be expanded on. Same goes for the characters. I felt that I only got to know a small part of Billy Bottom and the children. If the author could put more detail into them and their background, this book would shine.

The writing style did take a little while to get used to. It was very stilted. But once I got used to the writing style, the book flowed for me. I also kept in the back of my mind that this book was written off of stories that the author told his grandchildren. It might not flow the way us as readers are used to. It flows like someone telling a story and pausing every so often to take a breath or a sip of a drink.

The end of Tut-Tut-Bun was a surprise. The twist that the author threw in did surprise me. I kinda saw it coming but at the same time, I didn’t see it coming. I hope that the author does continue writing about the world of Tut-Tut-Bun. There are more stories to be gotten out of it.

What I liked about The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun:

A) Likable characters

B) Could be read to younger children

C) Great lessons and morals are woven into the story

What I disliked about The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun:

A) Book needs more world building

B) Characters need more detail

C) The writing style was hard to get used to

I would give The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun a rating of Child. I would use discretion about reading to children under the age of 5. There are some scenes that could be scary to younger children. There is some mild violence. There is no sexual situations or language.

There are triggers in The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun. They are kidnapping and child enslavement. If those trigger you or the child you are reading the book to/with, do not read the book.

I am on the fence about recommending  The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun to family and friends. If I did recommend, I would include a warning about the triggers. I am also on the fence about rereading this book. But I am open to reading anything else the author decides to put out.

I would like to thank for allowing me to read and review The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun.

All opinions stated in this review of The Wizard of Tut-Tut-Bun are mine.

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

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (The Muse Chronicles: Book 2) by Sara Crawford

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5 Stars

Publishers: 

Date of publication: November 30th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Series: The Muse Chronicles

We Own the Sky – Book 1 (review here)

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – Book 2

Where you can find Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

To find her Muse, she must first find herself. 

Sylvia Baker used to live for music: constantly listening to artists like M83 and Moonlight Bride, writing songs, and playing drums in a band. But now, the soundtrack of her life is silence. If she lets the music back in, she’s worried she will return to her delusions about the Muses–the mystical beings who inspire artists to create art. She’s worried she’ll have to face the wounds of losing Vincent, her Muse, her love. 

She tries to move on, immersing herself in the real world–working at the grocery store, mending her relationships with her friends and her father, and developing a new love for hiking. But in her dreams, she is forced to face the questions growing in her heart.

What if they never were delusions? What if a vicious battle between the traditional Greek Muses and modern Earthly Muses tore her from the world of the Muses? What if she never lost Vincent at all? And what if he’s the one who needs to be saved?

My review:

In my experience, books that come 2nd in a series usually fall short of my expectations. But, there are those rare books that live up to the first book. Sometimes, they even exceed it. This is the case with Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

I couldn’t read this book fast enough. I was caught up in Sylvia’s struggle to keep her mental health. I was caught up in the Muses’ issues. I was plain caught up in the book. It was that good.

I want to say that the author had a note at the beginning of the book and I loved that she included it. She said that you can find playlists for the songs in the book on Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon Music. So, do what I did. Make a list of artists/songs and make a playlist. I wish I had read the book while listening to it.

Hurry Up. We’re Dreaming was not like We Own the Sky. This book focused on Sylvia and her struggle to keep up her mental health. Vincent and the Muses’ issues were there but the majority of the book was about Sylvia.

The music is gone from Sylvia’s life. Since she has gotten home from Riverview, she has not listened to music, discussed music or played music. My heart broke for her. She was not the vibrant person that I loved in the last book. She was flat, almost dull. I didn’t think that she would ever come out of it. When she did, I wanted to cheer. Actually, I think I might have whispered “Yes” because I was reading in bed.

I loved how the book focused on her fractured relationships and how she repaired them. The one that got to me the most was her relationship with her father. He was hurting because she was hurting and he didn’t know how to reach or comfort her. The breakdown he had towards the end of the book made me cry. As a parent, I related to what he said. I didn’t relate to how he handled it, though.

Her relationships with her friends were more difficult to repair. Trust had been broken and Sylvia had to build up trust again. I liked how the author took the quietest person in Sylvia’s group and started the friendship rebuilding there. The one friend that I felt Sylvia shouldn’t have let back in was Bianca. Bianca rubbed me the wrong way most of the book. She was self-absorbed and I didn’t feel that she added anything to the story.

I thought that the Muses’ storyline was excellent also. Like I stated in my last review, I get where Clio is coming from. If I had woken up from a 500-year sleep to see what she saw, I would have taken action too. I wouldn’t have gone the way she did but she did think she was doing good. I did get a Hunger Games type vibe when they got the Earth Muses from NYC together. Well, an artsy Hunger Games type vibe.

I thought that Vann made the perfect villain. He was a disturbed person before he was turned in Book 1. In Book 2, he became even more unhinged. I was not surprised when he did what he did. It went perfectly with his personality. I am surprised that he gave up on the search for Sylvia so quickly and easily, though. But considering what happened in NYC and what happened after NYC, I got it. He had bigger fish to fry.

Vincent drove me nuts. He seesawed between wanting to see Sylvia and keeping away from her. At one point, I was like “Make up your mind!!!“. I still loved him but man, he needed to stick to a plan. In the end, though, it was Vincent that helped Sylvia remember who she was. When they finally got back together, my heart went all mushy.

The end of the book was a huge surprise. HUGE. While I saw some things coming, I most definitely see what happened coming. I cannot wait to read book 3!! I need to find out what happens!!!

What I liked about Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming:

A) Strong storylines

B) Relatable characters

C) Excellent world and character building

What I disliked about Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming:

A) How Sylvia’s father handled her issues after she got out of Riverview.

B) Bianca. She drove me nuts.

C). Vincent seesawing back and forth between not seeing Sylvia and seeing her.

I would give Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming a rating of Older Teen. There is no sex. There is kissing but nothing else. There is mild violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are triggers in this book. They are mention of past drug use, alcoholism, mental illness, and bullying. If you are triggered by any of these, I suggest not to read the book.

This is a book that I would recommend to family and friends. I would give them a heads up about the triggers. I would definitely reread this book.

I would like to thank Sara Crawford for allowing me to read and review Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

All opinions stated in this review of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming are mine.

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

Throwback Thursday: April 26th, 2018

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I decided to do a Throwback Thursday but blog style. I am going to select a book I have read previously and see if I would still read it. So, here goes nothing!!

I am a huge Stephen King fan but for some reason, Firestarter slipped past me until my mid-late teens. From what I remember, I enjoyed it. I reread it last year and I didn’t find it as good as I remember.

Teen me: 5 stars. Fan girl’d all over it. Said it was one of the best books I have ever read.

Middle Age me: 3 stars. Didn’t do it for me. I got bored halfway through the book and struggled to finish it. <cries>

The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To OSM by Sybrina Durant

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5 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: March 2nd, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Children

Where you can find The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To OSM: Amazon | Barnes and Nobles

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal… .and he did not have a magic power… .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad? 

Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors. 

Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed. 

Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action-packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle. 

This chapter book is a collector’s dream containing page after page of lavish artwork. It contains nearly 100 pages of story text by Sybrina Durant and the same number of pages of magnificent water-color illustrations by Dasguptarts. This book, written by Sybrina Durant and illustrated by Dasguptarts, offers readers a visual feast of over forty beautiful water-color pictures that each span two pages. Forty-two – easy to digest two-page chapters are chock full of adventurous and entertaining morsels. This illustrated book will become a favorite of teen and older fantasy readers.  A companion coloring/ character description book is also available at any online bookstore. 

My review:

I didn’t know that The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM was a children’s fantasy book. Don’t give me that look. I know that it is pretty obvious from looking at the cover that it is. Here’s the deal. I am used to reading and reviewing adult fantasy (among other things). When I was approached to review The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM, I assumed that it was a children’s fantasy. I also based that on the blurb, which I didn’t read all the way. I was excited because I haven’t read a good adult fantasy with unicorn’s…ever. Saying that I was surprised when I started reading was an understatement. But, the more I read the book, the more I started to enjoy it. By the end of the book, I loved the book and was glad that I read the book.

There are three plotlines to The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM. The first storyline is about Blue and the prophecy that he is fated to fulfill (even if he didn’t have a metal horn). The second storyline follows the tribe of metal horns as they race to the Muzika Woods to meet up with Blue. The third storyline is about the evil wizard, Magh and his obsession with wiping out the unicorns. All the storylines were very well written. I got invested in each one. I will admit, it did take me longer to warm up to the metal horns (except for Ghel) because of the way they treated Blue.

I felt bad for Blue during the first half of the book. He didn’t feel that he belongs to the tribe because his horn was made of leather instead of metal. He wasn’t treated badly but he was made to feel that he wasn’t as good as the rest of the tribe. I understood why he took off after Alumina explained exactly what his prophecy was and what he needed to do. He wanted to be accepted.

The tribe’s journey to Musika Woods was more danger-filled than Blue’s. They also realized, with the help of Ghel, that Blue was more important to the tribe than any of them would admit.

While Magh was a very bad and evil person, I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. He didn’t ask to be bad and evil. When it was revealed what happened to him, my heart broke. For both Magh and the unicorns.

I am not going to go into the last half of the book or what Alumina told Blue in the beginning. I will say this. The end of the book was fantastic. The author was able to bring all the storylines together and merge them flawlessly. It was also action-packed. Now onto what Alumina told Blue. It factors hugely into the ending. HUGELY. The end of the book made my heart happy.

I am not going to do a What I Liked/What I Disliked. If I did, I would be giving away the ending and some major spoilers. My suggestion, go read the book. It won’t disappoint.

I would give The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM a Child rating. There is violence but it is very mild. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is no language. I will say that I would use discretion if you are going to read this book to a younger (under 5) child. There are some frightening scenes that could scare a younger child.

There are no trigger warnings in The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM.

I would recommend The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM to family and friends. This is a book that I would read and I would feel comfortable reading to my children.

I would like to thank the publishers for allowing me to read and review The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM.

All opinions stated in this review of The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM are mine

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

Be Careful What You Joust For (Pentavia: Book 1) by Ryan Hauge and Ivy Smoak

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4 Stars

Publisher: 

Date of publication: April 17th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy,  Young Adult

Series: Pentavia

Be Careful What You Joust For – Book 1

Where you can find Be Careful What You Joust For: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The fiercest knights in the realm are coming together to compete in the Joust for Arwin’s Lance, a tournament that will divide even the closest alliances. The winner alone will have the power to start or prevent a war from unfolding across the peaceful lands of Pentavia.

House Hornbolt, a prominent family that desires peace above all else, is hosting the tournament. The Hornbolt’s have always been strict followers of tradition. The firstborn son wears the armor of a knight. The second takes the priestly Oath of Arwin. And the daughters get married off to the most eligible suitors.

The eldest son is the favorite to win the tournament. But the rest of the Hornbolts aren’t as eager to follow the paths laid out for them. What if the second born wants to be a knight too? And what if the eldest daughter just gave her heart to a common thief?

Customs are meant to be broken. But that’s not all that threatens to shatter House Hornbolt, not when a secret deeper than the late king’s grave is unearthed right before the joust.

The fate of Pentavia hangs in the balance as war becomes imminent. And the scales are about to tip.

One wrong move and everything could fall to pieces.

My review:

I can’t even begin to describe how I felt when reading Be Careful What You Joust For. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me reading this book. One page I would be laughing at Terric’s horn dog lusting for Bella. Then the next page, I would be on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to Bastian. I came to care for Selina, Oriana, Marcus, Garrion, Nesta, and Isolda.

I loved the medieval feel of this book. But what I liked also is that the author had shades of steampunk thrown in there. From the talk of airships to how Isolda dressed when going to manage her brothels, I ate it up. What I also liked about this book is that while it was set in a medieval type land, the kids did not talk like it. They talked like regular modern-day tween/teenagers. Awesome was used quite a bit. Again, it was refreshing because I hadn’t been expecting that.

Except for Selina and Nesta, each member of the Hornbolt family had their own individual plotlines. Isolda is trying to figure out who assassinated her father years ago. Marcus’s was about the tournament coming up and his preparation for it. Garrion was also about the tournament and keeping Isolda’s brother, Reavus, from ruining it. Oriana’s focuses on a love triangle that she finds herself in the middle of. Terric’s is his unhappiness with becoming a priest and his planning to run away to become a knight. All these storylines merge at the end of the book in a way that left me shocked.

The world building that Be Careful What You Joust For was insanely good. Each layer that was peeled back revealed another, more complex layer was revealed.

I am not going to lie and say that I loved every single character. I didn’t. But that is what I enjoyed the most about this book. The characters were all flawed in some way. I could relate to them and their struggles. I could also relate to the faults that they had that made me not like them.

The end of the book shocked me. I was blindsided by it. Actually, I got a little angry because what I had in my head wasn’t what I was reading. But having slept on it, I can say that I thought it was brilliant of the authors to end it the way they did. Not only did they not resolve any of the plotlines but new ones were started right before the book ended. It is safe to say that there will be a book 2 and I can’t wait to read it.

What I liked about Be Careful What You Joust For:

A) The medieval/steampunk feel of the book

B) The world building

C) The end of the book

What I disliked about Be Careful What You Joust For:

A) The end of the book

B) Terric (going with not liking every character).

C) Rixin (again going with not liking every character)

I would give Be Careful What You Joust For a rating of Young Teen. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is a couple of kissing scenes but nothing racy. There is no language. There is violence but it is not graphic. I would suggest that no one under the age of 13 read this book.

There are no triggers in Be Careful What You Joust For.

I would recommend Be Careful What You Joust For to family and friends. I would also reread this book and plan on reading book 2.

I would like to thank the publishers for allowing me to read and review Be Careful What You Joust For.

All opinions stated in this review of Be Careful What You Joust For are mine.

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

Bashert by Herb Freed

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3 Stars

Publisher: Bellrock Press

Date of publication: February 14th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Bashert: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Would you recognize your soul’s complement in another? Beyond the bliss of actually finding your soul mate, there is a belief that the universe hinges on predetermined people finding their other half, their bashert, to maintain cosmic balance. In BASHERT author, screenwriter, director, and former rabbi Herb Freed immerses us in the heady intoxication and thunderous losses of what it really means to be bashert.

Dan Sobol and Marion Gladstone meet by chance at a screenwriter’s event in Los Angeles. He’s a rabbi turned director known for his cinematic television commercials; she’s a writer and film editor who is recovering from a tabloid-headline screaming Hollywood divorce. From the moment Marion hears Dan’s voice, she knows–and so does he. It’s bashert.

But when did the course of true love ever run smooth? Dan and Marion are soon partners in business as well as life, traveling the world to create movies. He directs, she writes and edits, and life becomes an amazing adventure–until Cancun. There, among the ruins of the Mayan civilization, Marion has an eerie premonition that has the potential to change everything.

Drawing upon his own personal experience, Freed spins a tale unflinching in its examination of life, but weaving along the edge of magical realism. From the bright lights of Hollywood to Mexico, Israel, Paris and the dreamy exhilaration of Jamaica, BASHERT is a love story about transcending life, loss and the boundaries we mistakenly place on our lives and our hearts.

My Review:

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Bashert. See, I had gotten an email from NetGalley with their Read Nows. I kinda did a book nerd’s version of drunken Amazon shopping. Except I wasn’t drinking and it wasn’t Amazon. I thought that I had downloaded a book that at its best would bore me to sleep. At its worse, it would completely bore me. I fell somewhere in the middle with Bashert.

I had a hard time following Bashert’s plotline. The book kept jumping from past to present to past. It confused the ever-living out of me. I ended up rereading chapters to understand exactly what was going on. Now keeping what I wrote in mind, I thought that the plotline was original. I  wished I could have followed it better.

What intrigued me about this book was that the author didn’t gloss over Dan and Marion’s bad times. He let us know that love wasn’t all sunshine and roses. That there will be dark and turbulent days. It is up to the people to get through them. Which Dan and Marion did. They faced life’s greatest challenges together. Dan always supported Marion and vice versa.

I liked Dan and I got his skepticism when Molly told him that she had talked to Marion. But the more the events in Jamaica unrolled, the more his skepticism was chipped away.

The end of the book confused me. I ended up reading the last chapter a few times and I couldn’t figure out what the author wanted us to think. Not going to get into it but I thought one thing. When I read it out loud to my SO, with a quick briefing on the book, he thought another. I guess we could both be right.

What I liked about Bashert:

A) The locations the book was set in

B) The storyline

C) Dan and Marion’s love story, the good and bad

What I disliked about Bashert:

A) Plot hard to follow

B) Jamaica. With everything going on, the whole festival storyline added to me not being able to follow the book.

C) The end of the book

I would give Bashert a rating of Older Teen. There is language. There are sex and sexual situations. The sex/sexual situations are very vague. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in the book. They would be: Drug use

I am on the fence about recommending this book to family and friends. I would let them know the plotline and let them make their own decision. I would give them a heads up about the trigger warning.

I am on the fence about rereading this book. On one hand, I want to because I find the whole concept of Bashert fascinating. On the other hand, I don’t because the book confused me too much.

I would like to thank Bellrock Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Bashert.

All opinions stated in this review of Bashert are mine.

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

Do you believe in true love like Bashert was describing? Why or why not?

Can you read a book where the plotline is hard to follow? Why or why not?

Confusing endings? A deal breaker when it comes to reading anything by the author again? Why or why not?

Blood Type (Blood Type: Book 1) by K.A. Linde

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5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: April 24th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Fantasy

Series: Blood Type

Blood Type – Book 1

Blood Match – Book 2

Blood Cure – Book 3

Where you can find Blood Type: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A startling new vision of paranormal romance: When a human ventures into the world of vampires—a decadent milieu of blood-bonds and betrayal—she discovers that not all is what it seems.

For Reyna Carpenter, giving up her body isn’t a choice. It’s survival.

In a civilization laid waste by poverty and desperation, Reyna accepts a high-paying position with the wealthy and hungry vampire elite. Her new job is as the live-in blood escort for the intimidating, demanding, and devilishly handsome Beckham Anderson. He’s everything she expected from a vampire, except for one thing—he won’t feed off her.

Reyna soon discovers that behind Beckham’s brooding, wicked façade lies a unique and complex man. And that, in a dark and divided world, she is more valuable than she ever would have believed.

For with each passing night, Reyna can’t shake the sensation that it’s Beckham who’s afraid of her.

Note: Reyna and Beckham’s story continues in Blood Match.

My review:

When I saw that this book was up for review on NetGalley, I almost passed it by. But something about the blurb caught my attention and made me look twice. I thought it was going to be your typical Twilight knockoff. Not only am I glad that I requested (and got) the book, I am glad that my assumption was so wrong. This book is nothing like the Twilight knockoff. NOTHING like it. So don’t expect a book like that. Expect something that is much darker and grittier. These vampires don’t glitter.

Blood Type takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Vampires came out to the humans years before, sending the world into a tailspin. After the dust settled, the vampires had taken over the world. People were left fighting for food, shelter, and jobs. Reyna grew up during that time and is struggling to survive in the new world the vampires created. Her way out is to become a blood escort. Someone who lets the vampires feed off of her in exchange for money. But, she gets chosen to test out a new role. A role as a live-in escort. Her sponsor is the VP of the escort company, Beckham Anderson. As heat and lust sparks between Beckham and Reyna, she can’t feel that there is something off. Something that she doesn’t know about. Something that could make or break her world if she finds out.

Like I mentioned above, this book was gritty. It was not written to make you think that vampires where nice people who happened to want to drink your blood. Nope, these vampires were evil. Even if they had good intentions, like Beckham. I loved it!!! It was a refreshing read and different from other vampire books. I was not bored reading it.

I felt bad for Reyna. She tried everything in her power to get out of where she was staying. The escort service was her last resort. She didn’t want to be known as a blood whore. She was ashamed of it. I did get a laugh out of her wardrobe and her reaction to it. What was running through my head was Julia Roberts wardrobe before Richard Greer picked her up in Pretty Woman. Except Reyna had the opposite reaction.

I couldn’t get a feel on Beckham until almost the end of the book. Normally, that bothers me but in this case, it only added to how much I like the book. He is a vampire. I shouldn’t be able to read him like a book. I should have to work, like Reyna did, to see what he was like underneath. It wasn’t until the bombing that I even began to understand him. I loved it!!!

The sexual tension in Blood Type was through the roof. Reyna and Beckham do not actually have sex until towards the end of the book. I thought that the author did a great job keeping the sexual tension up until then. When they finally had sex, it was explosive. I swear my Kindle’s screen fogged up a few times.

The end of the book was insane. Not going to get into it, but I was not expecting what happened. There is a cliffhanger. I don’t like cliffhangers but this one made me eager to read book 2.

What I liked about Blood Type:

A) Vampires were what I thought they should be. Not glittery freaks.

B) Reyna and Beckham’s sexual tension

C) The plotline

What I dislike about Blood Type:

A) Reyna being forced into being a blood escort

B) The other live in blood escorts. They annoyed me

C) The judgey peeps that Reyna met

I would give Blood Type a rating of Adult. There is explicit sex, explicit violence, and language. This is a book that no one under the age of 21 should be reading.

I wouldn’t give this book any trigger warnings.

I would recommend Blood Type to family and friends. I would give a warning about the sex, violence, and language. This is a book that I would reread. This is also a series that I am going to enjoy reading.

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

All opinions stated in this review of Blood Type are mine.

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

Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris

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4 Stars

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing LLC

Date of publication: January 2nd, 2018

Genre: Suspense, Women’s Fiction, Psychological Thriller

Where you can find Everything She Lost: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

After suffering a mental breakdown that nearly destroyed her marriage, Nina Taylor works hard to maintain her tenuous hold on sanity and be a good mother to her two young daughters. Despite her best efforts, she questions the possibility of a full recovery. 

Single mom Deja Johnson struggles to overcome her troubled past and raise her young son. But her friendship with Nina brings more complications. What Deja is hiding could not only destroy relationships but endanger lives. 

One traumatic night threatens to shatter Nina’s mind. With Deja’s help, she strives to maintain her mental balance. But as events spiral out of control, the women must find out if Nina is losing her sanity or if someone is plotting against her. 

My review:

When I was approached by Alessandra Harris to review Everything She Lost, my interest was caught. I enjoy reading psychological thrillers. I like being put on edge about events that happen in the book. I like having my theories about what is happening to the main character being proven wrong. Everything She Lost had and I enjoyed it.

Everything She Lost’s main plotline was centered around Nina’s mental illness and her recovery. I have read other books where the main character has a mental illness but it has been glossed over. Or it was miraculously cured. Or forgotten about. Nina’s recovery was written about realistically. She was taking baby steps. For most of the book, it was one step forward, two steps back. Just like in real life and I loved it. It made the book feel more realistic to me. I did feel bad for her during that struggle. The only one that supported her was her father. Her husband was a jerk and her BFF was even a bigger jerk.

I thought Nina’s backstory was heartbreaking. I do wish that her brother’s illness had been addressed up front. That would have helped me with understanding what Nina was going through. Her devastation when he died led to her making some rash decisions. One which included her marriage to Rodney.

Speaking of Rodney, I couldn’t stand him. He was such an opportunist and a pig. He was going to divorce Nina when her breakdown occurred. Then he kicked her out of her house until the money ran out. They got back together but he treated her like a flipping child. To be having an affair with Deja was the final straw for me. I wanted to kick him where the sun doesn’t shine. He was a great father but that was the only thing I liked about him. So yeah, I didn’t like him.

My feelings for Deja were complex. She was a strong woman who had overcome some pretty awful things in her life to get to where she was now. She wasn’t afraid to use her body or her sexuality to get what she wanted or what her boss wanted. I liked her for that. But I didn’t like that she was being blackmailed by her ex to do something that she didn’t want to do. She also didn’t want to have a relationship with Rodney after getting to know Nina better. Even with everything that happened later in the book, she felt awful for doing it.

I loved the storyline about who was stalking Nina. I thought the author did a great job at keeping who it was and why they were doing it under wraps. I did figure out part of it about halfway through the book. But the other half of it, I was surprised by.

I wish that Damien had been introduced earlier on in the book. I also wish that he factored more at the end of the book. But, I got what I wanted in the epilogue…haha.

The end of the book was one that kept me on my toes. Everything was revealed and what happened after the revelations shocked me. I loved the epilogue. Talk about a perfect ending to the book!!

What I liked about Everything She Lost:

A) Strong female characters

B) Great plotlines

C) The correct usage of Nina’s mental illness

What I disliked about Everything She Lost:

A) Rodney. I couldn’t stand him

B) I wish her brother’s illness had been addressed earlier (why he committed suicide).

C) No Damien until almost the end of the book

I would give Everything She Lost an Adult rating. There is sex. Not graphic sex but it is vague enough to understand what is going on. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 21.

There are trigger warnings for Everything She Lost. They would be Child sexual abuse, teenage prostitution, domestic violence, mental illness, suicide (talk of it nothing was described), bullying, and talk of alcoholism. If you are triggered by any of these, please do not read the book.

I would recommend Everything She Lost to family and friends. I would include a warning about the triggers and what they are. This is a book that I will reread.

I would like to thank Alessandra Harris and Red Adept Publishing for allowing me to read and review Everything She Lost.

All opinions stated in this review of Everything She Lost are mine.

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

Do you like Psychological Thrillers? Why?

Do you feel that mental health in most books are swept under the rug?

Strong female characters that straddle the line between good and bad? What do you think about them?

Let me know!!

R + J Sucks (The Complete Saga): A Paranormal Shakespeare Retelling by Ann Hunter

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4 Stars

Publisher: Aisling House, LLC

Date of publication: September 1st, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Where you can find R + J Sucks: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Teenagers. Romance. Vampires. 

Get all three books in one go with this complete set of R+J Sucks, and save 50% off. 

R+J v.1: When immortality is the be all, end all of Capulet family, can Juliet escape her ancestry to live happily ever after? 
A boy from the wrong side of the tracks, Romeo is forbidden to cross into Capulet territory, but how long can he resist when all that beckons him is gold and prosperity? Will he realize in time that all that wealth was amassed in blood, or will he sway to Juliet’s overpowering natural charisma? 

R+J v.2: The Capulets have plans for Juliet, a rare natural-born vampire. She must marry Paris and continue the bloodline. But how can she when she’s fallen for a human? Such a love is forbidden, and her cousin Tybalt is sure to “discourage” Romeo Montague. Unsettled by this unholy union, the Montagues are ready to defend their family and Romeo’s soul. 

R+J v.3: With Romeo facing his entire family being hunted by the vampire Royal Guard, it’s up to him and Juliet to fight for their happiness. Fearing the downfall and disgrace of her own family, Juliet must choose love or immortality. Will the Montagues save themselves from the wrath of the Capulets? Or will Paris ensure the downfall of Romeo and his clan? 

Two households, both of great dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge breaks new mutiny, and civil blood makes civil hands unclean….

My Review:

I am a huge Shakespeare fan. I have read his plays more than once. Among my favorite plays are Romeo and Juliet. Something about forbidden love that ends tragically gets me. I have watched a fantastic rendition of Romeo and Juliet. It is Romeo + Juliet, starring Clare Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a written take on that play that I liked until R + J sucks.

I enjoyed reading this book. The author did a great job of keeping true to the original play while putting her own original spin on it. It never crossed me, before reading this book that Juliet could be a vampire or that Romeo could be a poor Latino boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Right away, that grabbed my attention.

Romeo made me laugh. Right from the beginning, when he was told to get lost by a girl that he had dated. He would do anything for his family. Then he met Juliet and everything spiraled out of control. He should have listened to Father Laurence and stayed away. But, no, he didn’t (typical teenage boy) and man, the fall out from that was awful.

I did like Juliet. I could understand why she left her house unchaperoned. In her way, she was rebelling against her parents and the marriage that they were forcing upon her. I think her commonsense took a leave of absence. I couldn’t believe that she would lead a human into a house full of vampires and then keep him there!! I did a facepalm with that. The fall out from her actions was as bad as Romeo’s.

The secondary characters gave depth to the story. I did like that all the secondary characters in the play were written into the story. I also liked that the parents were given first names and personalities to match their characters. Romeo’s mother lived up to her name, as did Juliet’s mother. Actually, Juliet’s mother more than lived up to her name. What a cold, calculating woman.

I do wish more insight was given into how a natural-born vampire comes into existence. The very barest of explanation was given.

These books are also serial novels. I am not a fan of those and I avoid them at all cost. But, if they are compiled into one book, then I will read them.

The end of the book was interesting. I was surprised at the end of the book. Not what I was expecting.

What I liked about R + J Sucks:

A) Great take on Romeo and Juliet

B) Relatable characters

C) Interesting end to the book.

What I disliked about R + J Sucks:

A) Juliet’s mother.

B) Little insight into what a natural-born vampire was

C) Serial novel.

I would give R + J Sucks a rating of Older Teen. There is mild violence. There is mild language. But, there are no sexual situations. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings in R + J Sucks.

I would reread R + J Sucks. This is a book that I would recommend to family and friends.

I would like to thank Ann Hunter for allowing me to read and review R + J Sucks.

All opinions stated in this review of R + J Sucks are mine.

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