Never Broken (Lisa Jamison: Book 2) by Lori Duffy Foster

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ Titles, Level Best Books

Date of publication: April 12th, 2022

Series: Lisa Jamison

A Dead Man’s Eyes—Book 1 (review here)

Never Broken—Book 2

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Goodreads Synopsis:

The near corpse of a stranger had no idea where he’d been, how long he’d been there or who had kept him captive. But one thing intrigued journalist Lisa Jamison even more than his story: recent memories of a woman named Chandra Bower.

Seven years had passed since Chandra disappeared from Seneca Springs without a trace. Police investigators still compared DNA records whenever an unidentified body appeared, hoping to at least bring her family closure. Lisa still chased down leads from desperate family and friends, being careful to hide her investigations from an editor who thought she’d become obsessed with a woman who was clearly dead.

But this man had just seen her, sewing designer clothes in a dark, filthy basement with about twenty other men and women under horrifically inhumane conditions. And the sweatshop workers all had one thing in common: All were people of color.

A split-second decision to help the man takes Lisa on a race against time. His captors want him back, there is evidence someone on the police force might be involved and the man knows that if he were recaptured, they would torture him until he revealed the names of the two people who helped him escape: Lisa Jamison and Chandra Bower.

Lisa promised her teenage daughter she would stay away from the dangerous stories ever since her job had nearly gotten them both killed two years before. But she no longer has a choice. She must keep the stranger hidden while she gathers enough evidence to turn the case over to city police or the FBI. At least three lives—her own, the stranger’s and Chandra’s—depend on it.

First Line:

Lisa Jamison knew she should be taking in her surroundings, the worn brick buildings with shard-lined windows; graffiti so old the slang was almost retro; the stench from the nearby creek, which many of the deserted factories had used as their own waste dumps for decades; the cigarette butts; the crushed beer cans; the McDonald’s cups; the occasional used condom or syringe.

never broken by lori duffy foster

When the author approached me to read/review Never Broken, I had to think about it. When she emailed me, I was very behind in reading and reviews. But, I have a thing where if I start a series, I will finish it. That and the blurb, which interested me, were ultimately the main reasons I decided to accept the invite. I am glad that I did.

Never Broken had an exciting plotline. This book takes place two years after the events of A Dead Man’s Eyes. Lisa is a journalist covering a story in a very seedy area (that is about to be revitalized) when she discovers a sick man hiding in the back seat of her car. Saul tells Lisa an interesting story about illegal sweatshops and the mysterious people who run them. But her attention is caught he mentions the name of an African American woman who had disappeared years earlier. Deciding to investigate, Lisa needs the help of Dorothy to keep Saul safe. What Lisa finds during her investigation shakes her to her core. Can she oust the sweatshop owners and save the workers, including Chandra? Or will she have to choose between her job and her family?

Never Broken is book 2 in the Lisa Jamison series. Readers can read this book as a standalone. But, I do suggest reading book 1 to understand Lisa’s backstory. It is gone over, very briefly, in Never Broken, but it is more in-depth in book 1.

The main thing that I liked about Never Broken was that the author was able to take me into how investigative journalist does their job. I had a rough idea of how they did their job. But, I never knew how much work went into it. A good majority of the book was Lisa chasing down leads, casing the neighborhood where she thinks Saul came from and talking to the people in the community. I also didn’t realize how dangerous it could be. At one point, Lisa got run down by a car because she was coming close to where the sweatshop was. That sent chills up my spine and made me thankful that I didn’t pursue my high school dream of being a reporter.

I loved Lisa in this book. She was quick on her feet, and her intuition was incredible (chefs kiss here). She was also still a devoted mother, and when things started to get hairy, her first thoughts were of her daughter and how to keep her safe. She was also human. The horror and pity she felt when she first saw Saul was palpable. I also got why she didn’t trust anyone she worked with. She was almost killed by a fellow reporter, one she considered her friend, and she didn’t trust anyone other than her editor. So, I got why she was hesitant to bring Frank with her on interviews.

What do I say about Saul? He was a wonderful human being. The strength (mental and physical) that he showed throughout the book was terrific. Of course, he was damaged. Wouldn’t you be if you were forced to work in a basement and treated as less than a human? I loved seeing him open up to Dorothy and begin the healing he needed.

Dorothy was the other main character in Never Broken. She was mentioned a few times in the first book but never was made into much of a character. Well, in this book, she was one of the main characters. My heart broke when she realized she felt so protective of Saul because of an unspeakable loss she had experienced years earlier. Saul reminded her of her son. She was also a bad b*tch who wouldn’t give up Saul, no matter what.

The secondary characters fleshed out this book. They brought an extra depth to the storyline (not that it needed it). I was disappointed that Lisa’s daughter was brought down to a secondary character. She had no place in this story (other than helping Dorothy with Saul a few times). But, as the book went on, I got it.

The mystery angle was terrific. I was genuinely kept on edge about who was the sweatshop owner and who was behind Lisa’s assaults. The author did throw out some red herrings throughout the book. I thought I figured it out when an arrest was made. Then the twist came, and I was like, “Wait, what?

The suspense angle was also excellent. I wanted to know if Saul would make it. I also wanted to know if Lisa would figure out where the sweatshop was and who was operating it. The author did a superb job of keeping me glued to the book.

The end of Never Broken was a bit anti-climatic. The author wrapped up the storylines in a way that satisfied me. She also showed the aftermath of everything that had happened. I did like that Lisa got a little bit of happiness at the very end, and I wonder if that will morph into something for book 3.

I would recommend Never Broken for anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and no sexual situations. There are also scenes of modern-day slavery, a forced abortion, and talk of rape.

The Storyteller’s Throne by Jocelyn Bates

The Storyteller's Throne

2 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles

Date of publication: April 24th, 2018

Genre: New Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Where you can find The Storyteller’s Throne: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Grace was born a storyteller with a beautifully brilliant mind. Trauma twisted her reality into a tale of darkness. Now, at eighteen, Grace has found herself on the shores of a shadow world created to heal a generation. A world whose purpose is to release our emotions from the bonds of youth.

But she is not alone. It’s a world inhabited by others, those working on their own hearts and one other like herself. An amazing and yet afflicted empath and musician by the name of Kai that Grace feels inexplicably drawn to.

Will she be able to handle the suppressed memories of her youth? Accept the vulnerability necessary to explore her own heart and that of another? Fulfill the true purpose it seems she is destined to serve?

Come along with Grace as she learns to uncover her past, harness her gift, open her heart to love and embrace her future.

My review:

I was intrigued when I read the blurb for The Storyteller’s Throne. A woman, scarred by traumatic events that happened in her life, finds herself in a world that can help her heal. It caught my interest. I wanted to know how this world would help her heal. I also wanted to know who Kai was and why Grace had such a connection to him. So I decided to read the book. For the most part, I liked the book. But it was the direction the book took towards the end that made me go “WTH” and give it the rating I did.

Grace’s story disturbed me. She was raped by someone when she was 6 years old. I didn’t like having to read about a 6-year-old being raped. I understood why the author chose to have Grace react the way she did to the rape. Her unresolved feelings led her down a road of self-harm. But once she got into the Shadow Lands, she was forced to face and accept what she went through. But, then her story took a turn that I didn’t expect. Her romance with Kai wasn’t expected as was her traveling into the future. I will get into that later in the review. I couldn’t connect with her.

I felt bad for Kai. His story was different from Grace’s but it was also similar. Kai didn’t speak. He could speak but chose not too. He chose to speak through his music. His entire life, he had been compared to his older brothers and fell short. Falling into addiction, Kai ends up in The Shadow Lands the same time as Grace. I would have loved it if the author kept his character on that path. Instead, he went down a path where he fell in love with Grace. It almost seemed like an obsessive love, to be honest. He was more relatable to than Grace but I still didn’t have a connection.

I would have been fine with the book if it hadn’t gone into an anti-medication rant. Then Grace went into the future. There the adults were medicating themselves and the kids to keep them easy to manage. But the minute that mental health medication was blamed for the kids being zombies, I went “Oh no. This book didn’t go there.” That affected my rating.

Also, I didn’t like that there was Instalove. Instalove is fine in some books but in this one, no. I couldn’t with this book. I also couldn’t deal with Grace and Kai having sex. While I understand that it was healing, it didn’t do it for me.

The end of The Storyteller’s Throne confused me. I am not going to get into it but there were several situations that made me go “What!!” and “How on earth did she not know that?” and “Well, chaos didn’t happen, so now what“. None of the storylines were wrapped up. Which either was an oversight or the author is planning a book 2. I was left unsatisfied with the ending.

I gave The Storyteller’s Throne a 2-star rating. I could not connect with any of the characters. I would have been OK with the book if it hadn’t turned into an anti-medication rant. And there was Instalove.

I would give The Storyteller’s Throne an Older Teen rating. There is sex. There is violence. There is mild language. There are triggers. There are child rape, self-harm, and drug use. Also, there is a strong anti-medication for mental illness in the last half of the book. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would not reread The Storyteller’s Throne. I also would not recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Storyteller’s Throne.

All opinions stated in this review of The Storyteller’s Throne are mine.

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

Have you read The Storyteller’s Throne?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

A Nanny for Harry by Sylvia Mulholland

A Nanny for Harry by [Mulholland, Sylvia]

2.5 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Member’s Titles

Date of publication: April 1st, 2018

Genre: Parenting, Families, Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

Where you can find A Nanny for Harry: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Kali Miller hasn’t even given birth to baby Harry when doctor-husband Matt ‘helpfully’ hires a live-in nanny. Britta is svelte, blonde and beguiling, and Swedish enough to make any new mother insecure, especially one who looks and feels as ginormous post-delivery as she did the day before. But a nanny means Kali can go back to work at her law firm where she is desperate to make partner. The Millers’ seaside house will be nice and clean; their meals healthy and fresh, and Harry well looked after. It’s the only option, really, for career women like Kali.

But Britta’s idea of cooking is fiskpinnar (fish sticks) in the microwave. She leaves blonde hairballs between the sofa cushions and has cute, broken-English convos with Matt, leaving the dirty diapers and other chores for Kali. The only thing Britta has in common with those super-nannies that all Kali’s friends seem to have is that she’ll probably never quit. And of course, Harry adores her!

As Kali’s life becomes increasingly frenetic —not helped by a disgruntled client out to get her for a deal gone bad—she starts losing her grip on reality. The top brass at her firm now views her more as a potential liability, than partnership material. And Matt seems to have some mysterious ‘history’ with Harry’s nanny. Just who is this Britta Edvardsson? And what does she want with Matt… and little Harry?

My review:

Kali is a lawyer who is about to have her first baby. Her husband is a doctor who works crazy hours. After giving birth to Harry, Kali starts doing walk-throughs at the local daycares. What she sees doesn’t work for her and she mentions to Matt that it would be nice to have a live-in nanny. A few days later, he surprises her with Britta. Britta is slim, blonde and beautiful. That alone makes Kali insecure. But, she needs the help and allows her to stay. Kali thinks that with Britta there, the house would be clean, chores would be done and meals would be cooked along with the baby being looked after. Well, that was a dream. The only thing that Britta does is look after Harry. Everything else is left for Kali when she gets off work. Things come to a head when Kali suspects that there is more to Matt and Britta’s relationship than what he says. Will Kali get the truth from Matt? Or will their relationship implode?

I got the impression, from the blurb, that this book was going to be some sort of mystery/thriller. Instead, what I got was a book about how communication is good in a relationship and how assuming things always bites you in the butt. The blurb is not a great reflection on what this book is about.

At the beginning of the book, I felt bad for Kali. I remember those last weeks before I delivered my youngest child. I was miserable and swollen. I was snappy and emotional. I got it and sympathized with her. But, as the book went on, my sympathy started to turn to annoyance. Instead of taking charge, she wallowed in pity. She wanted a different nanny. Other than complaining about it, she did nothing. She complained about Britta not cleaning or cooking. She could have made it clear that it was part of her job. She didn’t talk to Matt when she had suspicions. Instead, she stewed on them. In turn, she made life miserable for everyone in that house. It carried over to her work and she made some serious mistakes. Instead of taking the blame for that, she kept blaming her home life for her mistakes. By the end of the book, I was frustrated and wanted to smack her.

My sympathy lay with Britta. That poor girl. Kali put her through the wringer. Of course, since Kali couldn’t speak Swedish, Britta was calling her a few choice names to her face. Which made me laugh. I didn’t blame Britta. She was living with a woman who didn’t like or trust her. If I were her, I wouldn’t have gone back. I would have given Kali the two-finger salute.

I couldn’t believe the lack of communication between Matt and Kali. I didn’t like seeing their relationship go downhill because they didn’t talk. But, to be fair, the times that Kali did try to talk to Matt about what was going on, he shut her down. I thought Matt was a bit of a jerk. His comment in the delivery room along with what happened at the end of the book sealed the deal for me.

The storyline about Kali and her job added nothing to the story except how stressed she was. I started getting stressed out when reading what was going on with work.

The end of A Nanny for Harry was your typical ending. But it didn’t ring true to me. I didn’t get that Kali could be so accepting about Britta. I mean, she didn’t like her the entire book. The sudden acceptance of her didn’t sit well with me. I couldn’t understand how Matt never mentioned certain things from his past and his relationship with Britta.

The author did a great job at wrapping up all the storylines. There was nothing left hanging. There were also there were no dropped storylines. I thought that the Kali and Britta storyline had good bones to it. If the author went the way I thought she was going to, this book would have gotten a higher rating from me. I also felt that the characters weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been.

I gave A Nanny for Harry a 2.5-star rating. The book was wonderfully written but I couldn’t get into it. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. The one thing that I liked about this book was that it did show that life after having a child isn’t always perfect.

I would give A Nanny for Harry an Adult rating. There is no sex (imagine that!!). There is mild violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would not reread A Nanny for Harry. I also would not recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Sylvia Mulholland, Independent Book Publisher’s, and Member’s Titles for allowing me to read and review A Nanny for Harry.

All opinions are stated in this review of A Nanny for Harry are mine.

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

Have you read A Nanny for Harry?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy: Book 1) by Mikayla Elliot

Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy, #1)

3.5 Stars

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association, Member’s’ Titles

Date of publication: July 31st, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, New Adult

Where you can find Snow: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Series: Black Ice Trilogy

Snow – Book 1

Blizzard – Book 2

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Taken from all she has ever known and loved, Neva finds herself swept into a world of vampires where she learns she will determine their future. Yet she quickly discovers she is the target of a vampire, Zachariah, seeking to stop her from altering the vampire lineage. She must decide which path she will take while trying to protect the family she left behind and discovering a past she cannot escape.

My review:

When I started reading this book, I thought that it was going to be a vampire Snow White type of book. I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. If I paid more attention to the blurb, I would have seen that.  Oh well.

I don’t understand how Snow was labeled as a young adult novel. Neva, the main character, was married. If I were to guess at her age, I would put her in her early to mid-’20s. I thought that his book was better suited for the NA genre than YA. But that’s me. Someone else could have a different take on it. Which is a wonderful thing about writing reviews. No one’s opinions are wrong. Unless you didn’t read the book and give your opinion, then I don’t pay attention to those reviews.

I liked the plot of Snow. I thought that it was original. Neva is brought into the vampire world when her life was almost taken in an attack. She is thrust into the middle of a conspiracy that will leave everyone reeling. Can Neva bring Zachariah to his knees and save the vampire lineage? Or will she become a pawn in an ancient war?

I liked Neva but I found her whiny for most of the book. Yes, she had a terrible shock when she was turned. It would have been a huge shock for anyone. Even after Thedryk explained why she was turned and who she was, she still whined about it. She didn’t understand the danger she was in. For an adult, she didn’t act like one. I did like that she wised up during the last half of the book. Seeing what happened to her family shocked her into wising up.

I didn’t think that Zachariah wasn’t that bad of a guy for most of the book. Yes, he didn’t like Neva and yes, he was only with Eliza because he cared about the power. The author showed a 100% different side to him when he was interacting with his adopted daughter. He cared for them. I honestly don’t think that he is going to be as bad as he was made out to be. I do think it is awful what he did in the last half of the book. But it didn’t go with what the author showed. I wonder if there is more to his story and if it will be revealed in book 2.

I loved what the author did with the vampires in this book. While these vampires need human blood, they don’t need it that often. They can eat regular food but it doesn’t do anything for them. Not everyone can be turned into a vampire, though. The author explained that people can be turned into vampires have a special aura. The vampires can see it but can only turn if they have permission from the Council. If someone is turned who doesn’t have the special aura, they become something out of a nightmare. The author also had the vampires have a special gift. Some are stronger than others but everyone has it.

There is even a science fiction angle of Snow. There is a vampire that can open portals into different dimensions. It is explained more thoroughly in the book. I found it fascinating and wished that it has been added sooner in the book.

The end of Snow was action packed and moved very fast. What happened to Zachariah, he deserved it. But it was the end of the book that made me go what. First with the introduction of a famous fictional character. Then it was who was introduced in the very last pages of the book. It is that revelation that makes me excited to read the next book in the series.

What I liked about Snow:

A) How the vampires were portrayed

B) Neva’s storyline

C) The science fiction angle

What I disliked about Snow:

A) Neva. She was a whine bag for most of the book

B) Zachariah. I was on the fence with him for most of the book. But the ending events turned me

C) What happened to Neva’s family

I would give Snow an Older Teen rating. There is no sex or sexual situations. There is violence. There is no language.

I would reread Snow. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Snow.

All opinions stated in this review of Snow are mine.

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

The Schoharie by Diane M. Johnson

The Schoharie

3 Stars

Publisher: BookBaby, Independent Book Publishers Association, Members’ Titles

Date of publication: October 5th, 2017

Genre: General Fiction, Horror

Trigger Warning: Talk of Rape, Domestic Abuse

Where you can find The Schoharie: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Thirty years ago a major Thruway bridge was built across a small creek near the town of Fort Hunter, New York. It had its problems with construction delays and local protests, but it was built and it was strong.

Thirty years later the bridge collapses when spring floods transform the meager creek into a raging torrent. The collapse takes several lives and almost includes the life of Aaron Bonner, volunteer firefighter, who swears he saw a vengeful Indian spirit take the bridge down. He just needs to convince Sheriff Ben Harrigan that the same Indian spirit seeks more vengeance. But the sheriff knows that Aaron is just like his father, who tried to sabotage the bridge when it was first built, while in the throes of a mental breakdown. Has Aaron gone crazy? Or does the sheriff have something to hide?

A near death experience triggers Aaron’s sensitivity to supernatural forces at work in the town of Fort Hunter. But his father’s history of mental instability makes Aaron doubt his own sanity. He confides in Sheriff Harrigan, the father of his girlfriend, in a moment of desperation– but memories are long in small towns like Fort Hunter, and the sheriff remembers well Joe Bonner’s attempt to sabotage the original construction of the bridge. He was there. And it was his fault.

Harrigan knows the town isn’t being attacked by an Indian spirit seeking revenge. He knows Aaron is suffering from the same mental illness as his father. But when other things begin to happen– things that can’t be explained by a man experiencing a nervous breakdown– the sheriff must come to terms with his own role in Joe Bonner’s mental collapse in order to save himself, his daughter’s boyfriend and the rest of the town.

My review:

I shouldn’t be allowed to read NetGalley’s Read Now emails after a certain time of night. Because I end up requesting books that I would not read. I wake up the next day with buyer’s remorse and a bad feeling about the book. In a lot of those cases, my bad feelings and/or buyer’s remorse aren’t warranted. But in this case, my feelings were right. I could not get into this book. I wanted to but there was a disconnect. I couldn’t get into the plot or connect with any of the main characters. The only one I connected with was the villain and even then, my connection wasn’t strong.

The Schoharie is loosely based on a real-life event. On April 5th, 1987, The Schoharie Creek Bridge collapsed, killing 10 people. The author nailed it with the description of the bridge collapse and the vehicles that went over. But, my fault with the story wasn’t with that. It was with the story intertwined with the collapse and the events that happened afterward.

Aaron Bonner fell flat in my eyes. I did feel pity for him when his backstory was explained. He had to deal with what his father did. When he started having the same mental issues that his father did, I wasn’t surprised when people started whispering behind his back. The only ones that wanted to help him were Will and Barbara. They knew that more was going on than Aaron having a mental breakdown.

I didn’t like Sheriff Ben Harrigan. His dislike for Aaron was obvious. I was led to believe he didn’t like Aaron because Aaron was dating Ben’s daughter, Sara…who was still married. Instead, it was revealed, later in the book, that Ben felt guilty for Aaron’s father’s death. I wish that it had been stated clearly in the beginning. I also didn’t like him because he refused to see that his daughter was married to an abusive man. Up until the middle of the book, he kept pushing for her to stay with him. WTF? He did redeem himself slightly at the end of the book when he set things in motion to help Aaron but still. Too much harm had been done.

I did think that the author did a great job with the paranormal aspect of the book. I liked that Aaron’s being able to hear dead people (Six Sense anyone???) was used in a way that helped. I liked that Will Cuddy decided to help Aaron prepare for a battle with the Indian sorcerer/warrior.

I figured out who was controlling the Indian sorcerer pretty early in the book. I also wasn’t surprised to see that this person was responsible for what happened to Aaron’s parents. What got me, was that all this started because Aaron’s father was walking across this person’s land. Made me shake my head in disbelief.

The end of The Schoharie was pretty typical for a book like this. The author did do a great job of wrapping up all the storylines. But it was the end of the book that gave me the chills.

What I liked about The Schoharie:

A) loosely based on a real-life event.

B) paranormal aspect of the book was fantastic

C) Native American mysticism was great

What I disliked about The Schoharie:

A) Aaron Bonner’s flat character

B) Ben Harrigan. Just didn’t like him

C) The bad guy. He came across as a petty man

I would give The Schoharie an Adult rating. While there is no sex (just kissing), there is graphic violence and language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in The Schoharie. They are domestic violence and talk of rape. If you are triggered by any of these, then I suggest not to read the book.

I am on the fence about recommending The Schoharie to family and friends. If I did, I would let them know about the triggers. I am also on the fence about rereading this book. I would be willing to read other books by the author, though.

I would like to thank BookBaby, Independent Book Publisher’s Association, Member’s Titles and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Schoharie

All opinions stated in this review of The Schoharie are mine.

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

Road of the Lost: Book One of the Judges Cycle by Aidan Russell

3 Stars

Publisher: 13Thirty Books, Independent Book Publishers Association, Members Titles

Date of publication: January 11, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Number of pages: 241

Where you can find Road of the Lost: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Ancient evils awaken.

The glades overflow with blood.

If the forest dies, the world will burn.

“Road of the Lost is a thrilling fantasy adventure with action and humor…” – San Francisco Book Review.

“Road of the Lost is a fast-paced fantasy with an RPG feel… I really enjoyed the jocular, brotherly bickering of the two knights… This was a fun fantasy read.” – Manhattan Book Review

Reslo wants nothing more than to be home in time for supper, but ancient evils want to drown his forest homeland in blood. An outsider from birth, he is at last given an opportunity to serve alongside his people and save their mother forest. But if he thought fighting against the cruel Dark Elves and their Ogre allies would test his endurance, Reslo must also keep alive two bungling, novice knights from a foreign kingdom on a quest to find their lost champion.

Fresh from squirehood, Jerah and Gratas are tasked to find the missing knight and the holy sword entrusted to them. If they perish, their kingdom’s armies will march, and war will be unavoidable.

Road of the Lost is an epic-quest fantasy that features wise-cracking characters pitted against world-shattering adversity. The pages are filled with an abundance of intense, vivid, and consuming action. If you like classic fantasy with gritty combat and captivating heroes, then you’ll love this book!

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Road of the Lost: Book One of the Judges Cycle by Aidan Russell”

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”

7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner

7th Grade Revolution

Title: 7th Grade Revolution

Author: Liana Gardner

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Member’s Titles

Date of publication: October 24th, 2017

Genre: History, Middle Grade

Number of pages: 301

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find 7th Grade Revolution: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):


Inspired by True Events

Dennis Alexander: Washington Academy Middle School promises to be another in the long line of boring schools he has been expelled from. 

Rhonda Snodgrass: Although trained from childhood in survival tactics, she tries to stay off the radar of the “cool” kids who think she’s weird. 

7th grade turns out to be anything but normal when teachers announce the students’ bloodless revolution succeeded and they are now in charge. After conducting a secret-ballot vote on policy, the 7th graders emerge to find the school evacuated and the FBI lurking outside with the task of unearthing a treasure of national importance. 

The students’ mission is clear—discover the treasure before the FBI locks down the building. Dennis and Rhonda lead the revolt and must work together to follow century-old clues left by a crazy Revolutionary War buff. 

To stay one step ahead of the FBI, they must delve into history and amass an arsenal to defend their school … because this is WAR! 

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner”

Serene (A Dr. Rachel E. Color-Me-Mystery: Book 1) by Jim Musgrave

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Member’s Titles

Date of publication: July 17th, 2016

Part of a series: Yes

Which series: Dr. Rachel E. Color-Me-Mystery

Serene – Book 1

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

This is the mystery that establishes Dr. Rachel Edelstein as a sleuth with a super-power. Raised on an ashram in California, she is molested by Guru Bhagwan Sharma, but he pays for her college education after her parents are found dead inside a lab working on a secret experiment called “Serene.”

While working as a psychiatrist in the Israeli Army, she treats two IDF soldiers who had also been members of the Omshanti ashram back home. When they are murdered in a strangely anti-Semitic way, and no DNA evidence can be found, she decides to resign her commission and return to California to try to solve the murders.

After she teams up with another Jewish psychiatrist, Dr. Jacob Stein, who attends the same Kaballah study group, she is recruited by a scientist who worked with her parents on Serene. Dr. Joshua Lawrence implants the beta test device in her brain, but instead of allowing her to control her own libido, she is able to see the sex traumas of others.

This is the first mystery in a series that features illustrations that can be colored by the reader. Watch for more Dr. Rachel Edelstein and Dr. Jacob Stein Techno-Mysteries.

My review:

I was intrigued by the premise of this book. It is part adult coloring book and part mystery. I made the mistake of leaving my Kindle on with one of the pictures up, and my 11-year-old had a look. She had no clue what it was but still.

If I had the paperback (or even hardcover) of the book, I would have been coloring in those pictures. They looked fun to color and did go with the story.

The story, itself was also decent. In the beginning, it was all over the place, which is something I hate in a book. Once I got past Rachel’s backstory, the story progressed. The author did an excellent job keeping who the bad guy a mystery until the end.

Rachel had overcome a lot in this book. Her parents moved her to a commune when she was 10. She was chosen as a “bride of passion” and raped when she was 12. Then her parents died. That’s a lot for a kid, and Rachel has issues. She returns to the commune after two IDF soldiers are murdered in horrific ways. She agrees to become the beta tester for a project that her parents were working on when they died.

I won’t say much about the book after that point. I will say that it is full of androids, bizarre sexual practices, and one woman who is looking for answers.

I did like that the Kabbalah was mentioned here. Rachel was a student of it, and the author did get into some of what it is about, but not enough. I wished that he did because I find it fascinating.

The end of the book was a surprise. I wasn’t expecting the killer to be who it was. I am pretty good at figuring out mysteries, and this one I didn’t and it still chafes at me.

How many stars will I give Serene? 4

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes but with a warning about the coloring book pages.

Age range: Adult

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

The Girl from the Sea by Shalini Boland

The Girl From The Sea: A gripping psychological thriller with a heart-pounding twist by [Boland, Shalini]

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Member’s Titles

Date of publication: June 9th, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

‘I can’t remember anything. Not even my own name.’

When Mia James is washed up on a beautiful, sun-drenched beach she has no idea who she is or what happened to her. She doesn’t even recognise her own face – until a man comes forward claiming to be her boyfriend and providing her with an identity.

As Mia tries to adjust to the perfect life she was living before her accident, she quickly realises that something is wrong. Why is everyone around her lying to her? What don’t they want her to remember?

My review:

Mia is found half-drowned on the beach by a good Samaritan. When she is at the hospital, she finds out that she has retrograde amnesia. After the police put her face on the news with a “Do you know this woman,” her boyfriend shows up to identify her. She is released into his custody.

This is where the book gets excellent. Mia starts remembering bits and pieces of what happened to her. She is seeing the specter of an angry, blonde woman and thinks that she is hallucinating. As she regains her memories, she realizes that not everything is what it seems.

I don’t like stories about amnesia, but this one had me hooked. The mystery behind the accident was written so skillfully that I had no clue what happened until the end.

Mia didn’t click with me. I don’t know why there was such a disconnect, but there was.

Let’s speak about the end, but I won’t be ruining anything for anyone. It had to have been the best ending in a mystery that I have EVER read. There are two twists that were huge. The final pages of the book, let’s say, stalker.

How many stars will I give The Girl From the Sea? 4

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Adult

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