A Critical Tangent (Moonlight and Murder: Book 1) by Reily Garrett

A Critical Tangent: A Suspenseful Romantic Thriller (Moonlight and Murder Book 1) by [Garrett, Reily]

3.5 Stars (rounded up to 4 for major sites)

Publisher:

Date of publication: December 29th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Moonlight and Murder

A Critical Tangent—Book 1

Where you can find A Critical Tangent: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Enter world where ignorance and darkness mask chaos and deceit.

Keiki’s focus on designing drones shatters one morning when her prototype records the murder of her friend. Captured video detailed the masked killer’s promise to find his witness and finish the job.

Experience has given her good reason to not trust cops, especially when they come knocking on her door. Their suspicions narrow when her roommate disappears without a trace.

Conflicting evidence at a brutal crime scene leaves gossamer threads weaving a complicated web of lies and deceit. Every lead Detective Garnett finds steers the investigation to a deeper, darker network entangling Keiki in a labyrinth of cunning subterfuge.

Garnett is torn between following the letter of the law and protecting the witness determined to clear her name. Can he earn Keiki’s trust in time to save her life, or will a psychotic killer destroy the woman who has demolished his emotional barriers?


First Line:

“Aw, Keiki, if I could find the fun button in your brain, I’d switch it to permanent on.”

Critical Tangent by Reily Garrett

My Review:

When I read the blurb for A Critical Tangent, my attention was caught. I have read very few books where drones have been made part of the plotline. Add in that the drones were part of a murder mystery, and I knew I needed to read the book. Add that it is romantic suspense, and I would have been a fool to turn this book down.

A Critical Tangent had a fast-moving plotline. I like the fast-moving plotline in these genres. My only fault with a fast-moving plotline is that sometimes there are dropped plotlines/characters. I didn’t find that in A Critical Tangent. But I did find that there were some interesting facts (that kept coming up) that would have made for a fantastic secondary storyline. There was a tiny bit of lag towards the middle of the book, but the author was able to bring the book back on track with no trouble.

I was not too fond of Keiki during the first half of the book. She was vehemently anti-police, held back vital information about the case, and was just an overall pain in the bottom to Coyote and Noah during the investigation. I did start to like her in the second half of the book. She didn’t quite do a 180, but she came close.

I liked Noah. I liked that he was able to look at both sides of the case and was able to make decisions based on the facts. I liked that he dealt with Coyote’s insinuations with a sense of humor (at times). I was a little put off that he treated Keiki like she was a kid. By the way, he acted, I was expecting him to be considerably older than her. So, when his age was revealed, I was surprised.

The romance angle of the book was very slight. In hindsight, I am glad that the author wrote it that way. If Keiki and Noah’s romance had been written any other form or introduced sooner in the book, it would have taken away from the main story.

I do want to include a trigger warning. There is a harrowing scene where Keiki and Gabby are being held together. Gabby confesses to Keiki that she has been repeatedly raped and beaten for information. It is a raw scene, and it is made even more so by what happens after Keiki escapes. There are also a couple of smaller scenes where the kidnappers (and Porter) talk about raping Gabby. So, if that triggers you, I would suggest either not reading this book or entirely skipping those scenes.

I was confused by the main plotline at first. While I understood that someone was after Keiki and her drones, I didn’t understand why. Even the small chapter with Gabby and Porter didn’t explain anything. It wasn’t until the middle, when Porter explains everything to Keiki, that it finally made sense. I wish that explanation had come sooner.

I will say that the whole drone/Porter storyline was interesting. My attention was caught when the drone was used to attack Keiki at the Fun Run. I also liked that the author explained everything, down to how they were made. Now Porter did freak me out. He knew things he shouldn’t, and he was gunning for Keiki. I will say that he got what was coming for him.

The end of A Critical Tangent was excellent. The author did a good job wrapping up all of the storylines. I was excited to see how Keiki and Noah ended up. I was also excited when there was a hint as to who the next book was about.


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

I would reread A Critical Tangent. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

WWW Wednesday: January 8th, 2020

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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?


What I am currently reading:

The Vanishing Season (Ellery Hathaway, #1)

Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She’s an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.

When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.

Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he’s washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them…with a killer who can’t let go.


I recently finished reading:

Small-Town Family (Door County #2)

Reporter Dylan Smith comes to Sturgeon Falls to find his father. He has only one lead – charter boat captain Charlotte Burns.

After a rocky childhood and disastrous marriage, Charlotte is wary and guarded. The charming reporter sets off all her alarms, but she can’t resist him.

His questions point to Gus, who was like a father to Charlotte. Knowing this could destroy Gus’s marriage, Charlotte’s caught between her loyalty to Gus and her growing feelings for Dylan.

Families come in all shapes and forms. Can Dylan and Charlotte create the bonds that make a family? Or will secrets tear them apart?


What books I think I’ll read next:

No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway, #2)

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.

No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen’s heart-pounding second novel.

Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”

For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker.

Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer’s closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn’t quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job—stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone’s past but her own—a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.

The Other People

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or ‘the thin man’ as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it’s like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn’t seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they’re dead.

The Last Real Cowboy (Cold River Ranch, #3)

In Cold River, sometimes forbidden love is the sweetest of them all…

Perennial good girl Amanda Kittredge knows that her longtime crush on Brady Everett was never really supposed to go anywhere. But when Brady comes home to Cold River during Amanda’s first attempt at independence, well, who better to teach her about rebellion than her older brother’s bad-boy best friend?

Brady’s plans did not include being forced to work the family homestead for a year–and yet, here he is. And, to make matters worse, his best friend’s innocent little sister is making a menace of herself in the most grown-up, tempting ways. When Amanda begs Brady to teach her about men, he knows he should refuse. But could Brady’s greatest temptation be his salvation?

Jane Anonymous

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

Dark Alpha's Temptation

There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…

Carrying Death’s orders is my sole duty. I’ve never had reason to question her, even if I disagreed. But Kyra’s fierceness and willpower sheds light on my mission. She drives the darkness of my world away. The answers to the Others’ goals lie in her past. For Kyra, I will risk going against Death’s wishes. For her…I will battle the past and the future itself.

Scot Under the Covers (Wild Wicked Highlanders, #2)

When a resourceful English lady and a hot-blooded Highlander join forces to trick a scoundrel, every rule will be broken!

Miranda Harris is known for her charm, wit, and ability to solve any problem she encounters. But when her brother lands neck-deep in gambling debt to a crafty villain and Miranda is subsequently blackmailed into marrying him, she must enlist the help of the devil himself to save the family honor―and herself.

Devilishly handsome Highlander Aden MacTaggert knows next to nothing about the ways of the ton, but he most certainly knows his way around gaming halls and womens’ hearts. Still, Aden is not sure how he’ll manage to find a Sassenach bride in time to save his family’s inheritance. When his almost sister-in-law Miranda comes to him for assistance, he proposes a partnership: She will help him navigate London society and he’ll teach her everything about wagering…and winning back her freedom. The beautiful, clever lass intrigues Aden―but is she playing her own game, or are the sparks between them real? He is accustomed to risking his pocket. But betting on Miranda’s love is a game he can’t afford to lose. . .

Tucker (The McBrides of Texas #2; Eternity Springs #17)

Hope springs eternal in this enchanting Texas town.

Meet Gillian Thacker. Her business: Bliss Bridal Salon. Her passion: Weddings. Her own wedding: It’s complicated. Life isn’t turning out like she’d planned. The last thing she wants is for a real-life hero to ride to her rescue but when an unexpected event puts her entire future in Redemption, Texas, at risk. So what’s a broken-hearted bridal expert to do? Maybe a new set of survival skills is exactly what she needs…

Tucker McBride has been proud to call himself a U.S. Army Ranger. But now that his days of service are over, he’s decided to put his expertise to use by founding a wilderness skills training school. He sets up shop in Redemption, next to Bliss Bridal, and so begins life: Part Two. Marriage has been pretty low on his agenda, but as soon as he meets Gillian, Tucker can’t help but contemplate the ultimate challenge: Convincing the reluctant bride to take his hand and leap into the adventure of a lifetime. . .until death do they part.

The Impossible Castle (Guardian of the Realm Book 1)

Who (or what) is building a castle in the middle of nowhere?

For the young Guardian of Andoran’s Realm, it’s a real concern. People are relying on her. Okay, most of the populace don’t even know she exists, but it’s still her job to protect them. Well, one of her jobs. She’s also teaching martial arts and helping to raise her orphaned cousins. Life is complicated. Anyway, it’s her first real crisis, and she’s anxious to prove herself.

Fortunately, our powerful-but-inexperienced Guardian is not alone. She has friends she can rely on for help and advice, including some who are seasoned adventurers. Of course, they have their own issues to deal with, especially the one who’s half demon. But who doesn’t have problems?

If you’re looking for a sword & sorcery tale that’s decidedly different from the mainstream, then The Impossible Castle might be just what you’ve been looking for. Check it out now.

The God Game by Danny Tobey

The God Game: A Novel by [Tobey, Danny]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: January 7th, 2020

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find The God Game: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.


First Line:

The blue light of the computer screen was flickering on Charlie’s and Peter’s faces, making them look like astronauts lit by the cosmos.

The God Game by Danny Toby

My Review:

I know I start 99.9% of my reviews off like this, but the blurb caught my attention. I have read plenty of books that use gaming a part of their main plotline. I have also read plenty of books where a game is using people for its agenda. So, what was different about this blurb that caught my eye? It was the shiver of suspense that I got from reading it. I needed to know what the GOD game was and how it was played. I will say that this book did deliver on that shiver of suspense, and it added a massive dollop of thriller also.

The God Game’s plotline is super fast. The whole book takes place within a couple of weeks of Charlie and Peter starting the game. It was so fast that I did end up having to reread some chapters because I missed things. Usually, I would be annoyed by that. But in this case, I wasn’t.

The plot for The God Game centers around Charlie and his group of coding friends, “The Vindicators.Charlie and Peter discover The G.O.D. Game on the dark web. Charlie initially didn’t want to play the game, but Peter talked him into doing it. The G.O.D. Game is augmented reality and to play, The Vindicators got special glasses to play. The game was fun at first. Well, if you call breaking into the school and painting bloody pentagrams first. Since this was a morality based game, each good action was rewarded to Goldz or different prizes. But, each adverse action was rewarded with Blaxx. Get enough Blaxx and terrible things happen. The Vindicators soon find out that there is no getting out of The G.O.D. Game. But Charlie isn’t deterred. He and his friends (well minus Peter) are determined to quit the game. Even if that means someone dies.

There is so much that I want to say about this book. But doing so will end up with me giving away major spoilers. And it’s driving me nuts!! I will say that the author did a fantastic job of keeping me glued to my Kindle. I started reading this at breakfast (after dropping my six-year-old at school), and I was finished by 11 am. It was that good.


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

I would reread The God Game. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Wager for a Lady's Hand: A Lockhart Regency Romance by L.G. Rollins

Wager for a Lady's Hand: A Lockhart Sweet Regency Romance by [Rollins, L. G.]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: December 26th, 2019

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Wager for a Lady’s Hand: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Forced into a betrothal with an abusive man, the only way out might be to beat her fiancé at his own game.

Miss Marianne Twisden knows her best chance at a safe and happy life is to marry a kind man and leave her violent father behind. When her father signs papers betrothing her to Lord Cockell—a cruel and even more violent blackguard—Marianne is desperate for a way out. Her new fiancé gives her one: if Marianne discredits Lord Sheldon Lockhart, England’s newest barrister, Cockell will release her from the marriage contract.

Lord Sheldon Lockhart is determined to rid his neighborhood of Cockell—a man who preys on gamble-hooked gentlemen by loaning them far more money than they could ever hope to repay and then extracting it mercilessly. What he didn’t expect was to fall for Cockell’s most beautiful victim, Miss Marianne.

The seemingly simple game becomes complex when a deep, abiding affection grows between Marianne and Sheldon. It is made all the more perilous when Cockell refuses to play by the rules. Strategizing together, Marianne and Sheldon must think several steps ahead if they ever hope to out-play their opponent and have a shot at victory and their own happily ever after.


First Line:

Lord Sheldon Lockhart, second son of the Marquess of Rampart, would not allow himself to be distracted tonight.

Wager for a Lady’s Hand by L.G. Rollins

My Review:

When I got the invite to review Wager for a Lady’s Hand, I was intrigued. See, I have read several books by the author, but they were all steampunk/fantasy/dystopian/paranormal/romance based books. So, to see a historical romance by her caught my attention. When I read the blurb, I was all in to read this book. I am glad that I did because this was a wonderful historical romance.

The plotline for Wager for a Lady’s Hand was fast-paced and well written. The author didn’t allow for two many secondary storylines, and in turn, allowed for a book that flowed well. There was some slight lag towards the end of the book. But the author was quick to get the book back on track.

I loved Marianne. She dealt with a lot during the book. But she wasn’t one of those heroines who screamed and fainted when it started getting tough. Instead, she came up with solutions to her problems. Her father drinks too much and starts to become abusive? She drugs him. She didn’t want to be married to Lord Cockell? She tries to bargain with him. The list could go on and on.

I did think that Sheldon was a bit clueless during the first half of the book. Not that I didn’t like him, he just didn’t put two and two together when it came to Marianne. I mean, if the woman I was interested showed up with bruises around her neck and on her arms, I would make it my business to find out what is going on. Which he did but not until the second half of the book.

The romance involving Sheldon and Marianne was sweet. I loved watching them fall in love. Even when Marianne was at her lowest, Sheldon was there for her.

I also loved that it was a clean romance. There was one kiss between Marianne and Sheldon, and that was at the end. It was refreshing. Don’t get me wrong; I like a raunchy romance as much as the next person. But sometimes a book doesn’t need that. And this one was.

There were a couple of things that I didn’t like about Wager for a Lady’s Hand. The first was there was never any explanation about who was supplying Lord Cockell with all of his information. If the author had gone more into that, it would have made for an interesting side story.

The other thing I didn’t like about Wager for a Lady’s Hand was that it got repetitive. By repetitive, I mean that Sheldon’s case and Marianne’s blackmail was addressed a lot during the book. It got to a point where I started skimming over those parts when it happened.

The end of Wager for a Lady’s Hand. It did end in a HEA. But, the lead up to the HEA was fantastic. Honestly, I couldn’t have written a better ending.


I would give Wager for a Lady’s Hand an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is no language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Wager for a Lady’s Hand. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

Westering Women: A Novel by [Dallas, Sandra]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: January 7th, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction

Where you can find Westering Women: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of Prayers for Sale, an inspiring celebration of sisterhood on the perilous wagon-trail west

“If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?”

It’s February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting “eligible women” to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose.

So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it.

As Maggie gets to know the other women, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own.


First Line:

Hidden beneath her black umbrella, Maggie stood in the shelter of the church and stared at the woman reading the broadsheet.

Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

My Review:

When I read the plotline for Westering Women, I realized that I had read a few books about settlers immigrating to the western half of the country. Just on that, I decided to read Westering Women. While I am glad that I read Westering Women, I felt slightly disappointed by it too.

The plotline for Westering Women was medium paced. I didn’t mind it being medium paced. It was well suited for the book. But, I didn’t like the flow of the book. There were points where it lagged. But the author did a great job of getting the book back on track.

The characters in Westering Women made this book. In an age where women were considered weak, they showed the men exactly what they were made of. I loved it. I also loved the variety of women showcased here. From the preacher’s wife to the former prostitute to the unwed teen mother to the upper-class woman with her servant to the abused wife, they were all showed here. I loved seeing this group of women coming together and supporting each other. Whenever something happened to one of the group, they stood together. It did result in some unusual situations.

I am not sure how realistic life on the trail was portrayed, but it made for an exciting read. The views the men had were correct for the time.

I do want to include a trigger warning with this book. Several scenes put me on edge while reading it. There was a scene where a major character relived abuse, the death of her son, and the rape of her four-year-old daughter. There were several scenes of racism (one of the secondary characters was black). There were two scenes of attempted rape. There was a scene of a brutal fight after one of the women was brutally beaten. There was a scene where a child dies from drowning, and one dies from premature birth. I will admit these did affect my rating for the book.

The end of Westering Women broke my heart. I wasn’t expecting the death of one of the women on the train. I sobbed because that woman was one of my favorites. The epilogue also made me cry. But, at the same time, I was left feeling a little unfulfilled. I know it was because of that death.


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

I would reread Westering Women. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


#1

Things in Jars

#2

Westering Women

#3

Followers

#4

A Hundred Suns

#5

The Only Good Indians

#6

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

#7

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)

#8

Diamond City (Diamond City, #1)

#9

Foul Is Fair

#10

Jane Anonymous

Jesse, Jake & The Return of Antheia (Jesse and Jake: Book 2) by Ken John

Jesse, Jake & The Return of Antheia (Jesse & Jake Book 2) by [John, Ken]

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: August 11th, 2019

Genre: Middle Grade

Series: Jesse Winkler

Jesse & The Thinkers—Book 1 (review here)

Jesse, Jake, & The Return of Antheia—Book 2

Where you can find Jesse, Jake & The Return of Antheia: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

In this second instalment of the book series, Jake has earned his way onto the title, and rightly so. Jesse and Jake continue on their journey to save Thinkland from Zar’s invasion.

Some may wonder why they have taken it upon themselves to go up against Zar? But if they sit back and watch him invade Thinkland, Earthland will be next.

Will bravery be enough to take on the mighty Zar? Or will they fall deeper into his web?

The plot thickens as we follow Jesse and Jake on their extraordinary journey into the unknown.


First Line:

“My god, Mysterious, what have they done to you?”

Jesse, Jake, & The Return of Antheia by Ken John

My Review:

I was looking forward to reading Jesse, Jake, & The Return of Antheia. I wanted to read more about the adventures of Jake, Jesse, and the friends that they meet along the way. I was not disappointed in this book.

The plotline for Jesse, Jake, & The Return of Antheia was medium paced. There were some sections that I felt could have been trimmed (Zenden’s time with Ajahn is one). But overall, it was well written.

The characters in Jesse, Jake, & The Return of Antheia were well written. I loved seeing Jake get more attention in this book. I felt that Jake got pushed to the background in the first book. So, it was nice to see Jake made a focal point in this book. I got a better feel for his character and the decisions that he made. What I didn’t understand, and hopefully it will be explained in the next book is why Zar was so focused on him.

Speaking of Zar, I was torn about how I felt about him. I went into this book, thinking one thing. But, I came out on the other side, wondering how bad he was. He did make several good points about Thinkland and its issues (the highlanders and the lowlanders). And the way he treated Jake raised all sorts of questions. His interactions with Abyzou was interesting also. Again, it raised more questions than answers and hopefully will be answered in the next book.

There were some adult themes that the author did try to bring to a middle-grade level. Abyzou’s daughter’s death was a huge one. The author did a great job of explaining of how she died. My heart broke for Abyzou. Her world was shattered when her daughter was killed. There is a surprising connection between Abyzou, her daughter, and a friend of Jesse and Jake. I didn’t get it until Jesse relived Huli jing’s worst memory. Then it all made sense to me.

The plotline involving Antheia was woven into the plotline of Jesse and Jake searching for Zar. The author did take me by surprise at who Antheia was. I had a “Wait a minute” moment and had to reread that paragraph.

The end of Jesse, Jake, and the Return of Antheia was exciting. While Antheia’s plotline was ended, the main plotline was not. Instead, more questions were raised. I hope that they will be answered in Book 3!!


I would give Jesse, Jake, & the Return of Antheia a Tween rating. There is no sex. There is no language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 10 read this book.

I would reread Jesse, Jake, & the Return of Antheia. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**