Windy City Ruins (The Talisman Series: Book 3) by Brett Salter

First Line:

Rome could feel his stomach jumping around as the plane touched down at La Guardia airport in New York City.

windy city ruins by brett salter

Windy City Ruins is the 3rd book in The Talisman Series. While the author gives a quick rundown of the previous books at the beginning of this one, I would strongly recommend reading the previous books first.

Windy City Ruins takes place immediately after the events of Riders of Fire and Ice. Rome, Julian, and Mr. Jones are in New York City to meet with Mr. Jones’s mysterious friend, Beacon. Beacon has some intel, but they are not easy to find. Beacon tasks the boys (and Mrs. Case and Mr. Jones) with a riddle and a time to meet them. Their journey takes them to the closed-off torch of The Statue of Liberty and a big surprise. But, Beacon’s identity is the least of their problems. Something dangerous is stalking them, and it will take everyone (Beacon, Camela, Krysta, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Case, and the boys) to face the danger. Will they be able to beat that threat, and what will it cost them??

I was very excited to read Windy City Ruins. Why? Well, I have become invested in the series. I need to know what will happen to Rome, Julian, and their allies/friends. Plus, I find the worldbuilding and lore fascinating in this book. The author mixes different mythologies seamlessly.

Rome and Julian are still learning about their bonding. But, since they didn’t perform the Synergy correctly, they can’t use their bond to their advantage. I found that fascinating. Seeing Camela and Krysta’s bond (as well as the mark that it left on Krysta) made me wonder how the boys would be if/when they bond correctly.

As in the other books, dragons and talismans figure hugely in the plot. Wind dragons and earth dragons are discovered. I will admit that I wasn’t sure about the wind dragons. But as the book went on, they proved just how loyal and brave they were. The earth dragon scared me. Nothing could shake that thing. It was a freaking tank!

I liked that the author gave the Darkfiends more exposure in the book. I play ESO, and while I was reading this book, I was in Blackwood. One boss fight was a minotaur with firepower (it was more of a shaman, but still). That is how I imagined the minotaur from the main battle scene. I called my SO over to show/tell him about the minotaur that came out of the portal and how it looked like the one in my game. He could have cared less….lol.

I was a little irritated with Julian’s father. Especially when certain things came out at the end of the book (with the fight between the boys and Jericho/Clay). I was very frustrated with him. He caused too much harm that has reverberated throughout the book, and I feel that it will continue into the next one.

I was shocked at the events at the end of the book. Mainly by what happened with Nocturne and the boys. I was not expecting what happened to happen. But in a way, I was also happy that it did. It meant that the boys could do things right and hopefully take down the Tyrant King.

I would recommend Windy City Ruins to anyone over the age of 13. It is a clean book (no sex, no kissing). There is mild violence and very mild language.

Temptation Trails Part 1 (Temptation Trails: Book 1) by B. Truly

Temptation Trials Part I

3 Stars

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Date of publication: June 3rd, 2017

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: 319

Series: Temptation Trials

Temptation Trials – Book 1

Temptation Trials Part II – Book 2

Where you can find Temptation Trials Part I: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

The Bachelorettes Meet Wild Things 

Part I of Temptation Trials

Will you be Tempted? Will Love save your Soul?

One nation under his reign.
Cardinal sins of man-caused humanity to pay the price. Cali Nasser grew up in a world succeeding World War III. The aftermath forced the world dictatorship that she must now live in. A new Regime arose from the ashes. They demanded obedience and cooperation from every citizen, even in matters of the heart.

One domain … One accord … One nation. In Cali’s eyes, the moral code revolves around a twisted plot for control.
It used to sicken Cali how people would allow the Regime to test their love through the Temptation Trials. That is until she met Kincade. Cali’s entire point of view changes when she falls for him. She struggles with herself, debating if she should challenge the government’s law of arranged marriage.

Cali’s childhood friend, Stefani, always kept a positive perspective about their lives until she was threatened with the same dilemma, at odds over the man she loves.

Now Cali and Stefani face a desperate choice—submit to the Regime’s will, or fight for what they value most—love. Although lust, mistaken for love, could lead to damnation. Do they give up on love or sign up for the Temptation Trials, a reality TV show where every temptation is laid before them?
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Can love save their souls?
Rated Mature 18 +
Adult, Dystopian Romance with sensuality, sexual content, and love triangles.

Trigger Warning: drug use

Continue reading “Temptation Trails Part 1 (Temptation Trails: Book 1) by B. Truly”

Creed (Fallen Angel’s MC: Book 1) by Erin Trejo

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Date of publication: February 3rd, 2016

Genre: Romance

Series: Fallen Angel’s MC

Creed – Book 1

Tank – Book 2

Ryker – Book 3

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Creed doesn’t have his life mapped out but he knows he has a family in Jason and Jada, his neighbors. They always accepted him for who he was. One fatal mistake takes his best friend Jason away from him. Leaving his sister Jada behind to pick herself up, Creed seeks solace in her. Jada gives in to her feelings for Creed to only have them crushed when he leaves. Creed moves on with his life, which isn’t the best life possible. He finds a new family with the Fallen Angel’s Motorcycle Club. They become the family he lost. Taking risks, he doesn’t care about his life anymore until Jada falls into his clubhouse one fateful night. After he learns her involvement with a rival, Creed wants her safe but he knows he can never be the man she needs. Will he save himself and Jada? Or will they both lose everything forever?

My review: 

The man on the cover of this book is good-looking. I sat at my desk for 10 mins, drooling over him. I have a thing for muscular, tat’d bad guys. I usually don’t comment on the cover of books I review but this one I had to.

What I loved about this book was that there was no InstaLove or InstaLust. Jada and Creed have been in lust/love with each other since they were teenagers. Creed didn’t exactly hide his wanting Jada from anyone. The only one holding him back was Jason, Jada’s twin brother and Creed’s best friend. Jason asked Creed not to hook up with Jada (even though they both wanted to). There is a horrible accident where Jason dies. After the funeral, Creed and Jada do hook up on the roof of her house and then left right afterward.

The author does fast forward a year, and Creed has turned into an enforcer for an MC. He doesn’t give a flying flapjack about anything or anyone. Jason’s death has affected him greatly. Then there is a fast forward four years from Jason’s death, and Creed is the same. He uses the club’s Angel chasers for sex but doesn’t have a connection with them or anyone. He is still hung up on Jada.

Then, bam, Jada is back in the picture. She is the old lady to Kenny, a member of the Shadows Heat MC (storyline #2). She is beaten daily, uses god knows what drugs, prostitutes and is forced to have sex with other brothers. She is also drugged up all the time (Kenny shoots her up). She is a hot mess. The night she meets up with Creed again, she is at the Fallen Angel’s clubhouse with her friend.

Creed about flips a lid when he sees her again, but he can’t get her to stay with him. The next time they meet up, Jada is in the hospital after ODing, and Creed is there after being shot. Creed busts both of them out and so begins their relationship again.

While the sex was hot, I read those scenes shuddering. Jada was a prostitute who had sex with many men, and she does it bareback with Creed. All the time. I am not a prude but jeez.

Jada and Creed’s relationship also moved very fast too. But, as I said above, these two have been lusting after each other since they were teenagers. So I wasn’t surprised when they started doing the dirty almost right away.

Kenny isn’t happy that Jada left him (and his club) and has taken up with Creed and his club. There was a twist that was revealed mid-book that I didn’t see coming. I also didn’t understand Sharp doing a 180 during the book after the twist was revealed. The ending of the book surprised me. I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen.

How many stars will I give Creed: 3

Why: While I really liked the book, I really couldn’t move past the violence and the swearing. Like I said above, I am not a prude at all, but when every other word out of both Jada and Creed’s mouth is “effing”, it just drags the book down. I found myself skimming some of the dialogue because of that.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes but with a warning about the explicit sex and graphic violence.

Age range: Adult

Why: Language, Sex, Violence

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

Into Aether (The Trinity Key: Book 1) by L.M. Fry

Into Aether: A Teen Steampunk Novel (The Trinity Key Trilogy of the Aether Series Book 1) by [Fry, L.M.]

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Date of Publication: March 26th, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Series: The Trinity Key

The Obsidian Star—Book 0.5

Into Aether – Book 1

Escape Aether – Book 2 (review here)

Save Aether – Book 3 (review here)

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

Colorado teen Theodora (Theo) will do anything to find her missing mom, including travel into the hidden and mysterious Victorian subculture of Aether. She takes a ride with airship pirates to a floating island full of strange automatons and even stranger people.
After a century-old feud reignites, she uncovers the alarming truth about her family’s past. Finding her mother is more important than ever.

Ahhhhh…..steampunk!!!! Ahhhhh……Celtic mythology. Ahhhh…..a mix of both!!!

As you can see, I was pumped about reading a steampunk/Celtic mythology novel. Super duper pumped about reading this book, and it didn’t let me down.

Theodora (or Theo as she liked to be called) was the perfect heroine, and I loved her. She was the perfect combination of sass, sarcasm, angst, and innocence all rolled into one. I liked that she didn’t even blink when strange things started to happen to her. That whole cross-country flight/train ride/airship ride/floating island would have freaked me out. But not her, and I admired that.

The steampunk part of the book didn’t happen until halfway through. I was in nerd heaven after that. Automans, half machine/half human people, odd way of talking, a freaking AIRSHIP!!!

The romance aspect was cute too. Theo was hilarious in fighting her feelings for Victor, and when she gave in, well, I laughed. It was cute.

The Danu storyline was also great, along with the Order storyline. Lazarus was a creep, and he got what he deserved.

The ending was a surprise to me. It was not a cliffhanger, but it left the book open for another.

I would recommend Into Aether to anyone over 13. There is no sex, minimal violence, and mild language.

If you enjoyed reading Into Aether, you will enjoy reading these books:

Skin Trade (Jake Brogan Series: Book 2) by Michael K. Murphy

Publisher: Michael K. Murphy

Date of publication: July 20th, 2016

Series: Jake Brogan

Deadbeat – Book 1 (review here)

Skin Trade – Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jake Brogan, retired U. S. Army Special Forces, is hunting for his daughter’s killer. But in the course of his search, he stumbles upon a mother whose daughter has been kidnapped by a ring of human traffickers, and their tentacles reach all the way to Washington, D. C. Jake agrees to detour from his search in order to help recover the missing girl. They don’t know it yet, but the traffickers have just messed with the wrong person.

Back in February, I reviewed Deadbeat and loved it. When I got contacted by the author to review Skintrade, I was excited about reading it.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Jake was his usual badass self and was continuing his search for Donnie. While he was in Nashville, he meets Heather. He finds out that her daughter was kidnapped by human traffickers. Jake decides to look for Kelsey after hearing that the local cops aren’t squatting about it. That sets in motion a series of events proving his badass.

I have a bit of a book crush on Jake. This guy is unflippingbelievable, and in my eyes, he walks on water. He is the total package for a book crush. Who else can walk away from being captured by mercenaries and turn it around on them? Jake can!!!

There was very little of Randy in the book, but that’s OK. I dealt with it. I did get to meet Grey and Russ (hopefully, there will be more Randy in his next book!!!).

The ending of the book was perfect. I must say that everyone got what was coming to them. EVERYONE got what they deserved.

I would recommend Skin Trade to anyone over 21. There are sexual situations and violence.

New Dawn by Andrew J. Morgan

New Dawn by [Morgan, Andrew J.]

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Date published: February 16, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | AbeBooks | Alibris | IndieBound | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

When you’re 200 trillion miles from home . . .
With mankind on the brink of economic collapse, a population growing at an unmanageable rate and a limited supply of natural resources, there is only one place we can look to for our future . . . the stars. A deep space mining tug is sent to a planet codenamed New Dawn to begin a mission to relocate humanity.

. . . the only person you can trust . . . is you
The mission falls into chaos when a crewmember dies unexpectedly. Geologist Jake Brooks must keep his wits about him to uncover what really happened—but are the confines of the ship clouding his judgment? Is there really a sinister motive behind the death—and the mission—or is he letting his mind get the better of him? What really awaits him on New Dawn? He must push on to reveal the truth, no matter who or what stands in his way . . .

Please note: New Dawn is not a hard sci-fi novel.

Before I start my review, I will let you guys know that I am switching up my review style again. The list of 3 things I liked/disliked will be here, but I will write the review instead of putting up the 3 things. My style of reviewing is always evolving.

Now saying that, here is the review:

I loved the storyline. You have a crew on a deep space mining ship that will survey a planet that could be habitable and be a new Earth. Then the unthinkable happens, and a crew member is murdered. Who do you trust, and better yet, who do you believe?

I got into this book. You couldn’t help but like and sympathize with Jake when all hell breaks out on the ship after the first death. You are on this tiny vessel with crewmates; someone could be a killer. And the tension comes through the book when the body count goes up to 3. I did feel bad for Jake because the team was torn apart, and mentally, it was tough on him.

I wasn’t too keen on the almost-love story. To be honest, that part could have been left out. I could have done without reading about Jake’s attraction to a certain Dr.

The relationships between the different characters were tangible. You couldn’t help but root for them all (even the bad guys, as weird as that sounds).

The ending was great and on spot for this book. There was a twist that I kinda saw coming. Enough hints were dropped, but it took me by surprise.

3 Things I liked about New Dawn:

  1. The storyline
  2. Jake
  3. The ending

3 Things that I disliked about New Dawn:

  1. The almost love story between Jake and the ship’s Dr
  2. Sadie’s death
  3. Jason

I would recommend New Dawn to anyone over 16. There is no sex, minimal violence, and language.

If you enjoyed reading The New Dawn, you will enjoy reading these books:

Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat: Book 1) by Zoe Kalo

Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat Book 1) by [Kalo, Zoe]

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Date of publication: June 15th, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mythology, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Demons, Egypt, Shapeshifters, Magic

Series: Cult of the Cat

Korian and Lucy: A Cult of the Cat Short Story—Book 0.5

Korian and Lucy A Cult of the Cat Short Story—Book 0.6

Daughter of the Sun—Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Goodreads synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.

But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.

Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self and a horrifying destiny.

This was a different book, but I enjoyed reading it. I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but I enjoy reading YA books. I have read some good books in that genre. Anyways, back to the subject.

This is a different book. Egyptian mythology is used in the book. Which is great. The author did a fantastic job explaining the different gods/goddesses. I can count on one hand how many books I liked that used Egyptian mythology as a major plotline, and this book is one of them.

Of course, being the first book of a series, it left more questions than answers. I wouldn’t say I liked that the grandmother died after Trinity arrived on the island. It left so many unanswered questions, and I will admit, I got frustrated.

The book did lag a little for a few chapters but then picked up the pace for the explosive ending. There are hints in the book about who the villain was, but I picked it up early, which wasn’t surprising. Still, the ending was a shock.

If you enjoyed reading Daughter of the Sun, you will enjoy reading these books:

Waterkill by Mark Donovan

Waterkill (Dave Henson Series) by [Donovan, Mark]

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Date of publication: October 3rd, 2015

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Technothriller

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Goodreads synopsis:

“Waterkill” Weaves Nanoscience and Cult Religious Terrorism into a Major Threat to Western Civilization

With the mysterious outbreak of a deadly disease in a Yemeni village, followed by an increase in terrorist chatter after the crash of a small airplane in eastern Alaska, CEO Dr. Dave Henson and colleague Ron Blackwell of NSurv Inc. are tapped by the Department of Homeland Security to locate the aircraft wreckage and its suspected deadly contents.

While Henson and Blackwell are in the eastern mountains of Alaska helping the U.S. Border Patrol locate the missing aircraft and its contents, Dave’s wife, internationally-known journalist Dana Cogswell, goes missing while covering another sudden and suspicious epidemic in a small town in Germany.

Dave races from Alaska to Germany to rescue Dana and ends up on a quest to the Middle East to find her. Along the way, he learns of a shocking betrayal of friendship and that the path to Dana ultimately leads to the terrorist leader behind the deadly outbreaks.

Waterkill was a fantastic book to read. It draws you in from the first chapter and keeps you turning those pages to discover what will happen. I read this book in 2 nights, going to bed early one night to read it.

I liked that there was a ton of action. The author was straightforward about who the terrorists and the good guys were. I also liked the science angle of it too. Nanoscience fascinates me too.

This book scared me on so many levels too. Because it makes you think and wonder, “Are the terrorists doing this same thing?” and “If so, will our country be able to stop it like in the book.”

I did like the unexpected curve that the author threw into the mix. Again, it made me think, “What if.

If you enjoyed reading Waterkill, you will enjoy reading these books:

Deadbeat by Michael K. Murphy

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Date of publication: January 17th, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Jake Brogan, retired Army Special Forces, is hell bent on finding the murderer of his daughter, Chrissy, when he encounters a young woman in strikingly similar circumstances to those of his precious daughter. The young woman’s vicious drug dealing ex-husband is determined to kill her and her daughter. Does Jake continue to pursue his daughter’s killer, or stay and help the defenseless mother and child?

My review:

All I have to say is, “Wow.” This book was fantastic. It grabs you right from the beginning and doesn’t let go of you until the end. I couldn’t put the book down. It took me two nights of reading to finish it!!

Jake Brogan’s character was well-written and very developed. He comes across as a very damaged person. The book explains why he is like that. And his best friend, Randy; everyone needs a Randy. I also think everyone needs a Jake in their life.

The only issues I ever had with the book were some spelling/grammar issues. Also, the author switched from character to character in the same chapter; there was no notice. I advise putting up stars (like these:*****) between the different POVs. For example, we went from Jake’s to Buddy’s POV in one chapter. It took me rereading the chapter to realize that.