Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow’s Quest by Antony Gregwood

Mirrored Kingdoms: The Shadow's Quest

4 Stars

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: October 16th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse

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

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

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

My review:

Image result for meme of medieval england

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for gif white horses

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

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

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

Image result for fantasy warrior meme

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

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

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

b

e

l

i

k

e

t

h

i

s

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

Image result for cliffhanger gif

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

A) Engaging plotline

B) Matthew’s character growth

C) Great world building

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

A) Matthew’s backstory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Cyprus Papers by C.W. Bordener

The Cyprus Papers

2 Stars

Publisher: C.W. Bordener

Date of publication: November 11th, 2017

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find The Cyprus Papers: Amazon 

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

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

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

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

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

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

My review:

Image result for spy gif

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

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

Image result for nope memes

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

Image result for toxic gif

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

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

Image result for Yawn Meme

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

What I liked about The Cyprus Papers:

A) Strong female character

B) I guess that’s it

C) Yup, pretty sure about that

What I disliked about The Cyprus Papers:

A) Failed to keep my attention

B) Couldn’t connect with the main characters

C) Plot fizzled towards the end of the book

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

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

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

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

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

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

StarToucher by C.J Odle

Startoucher

4 Stars

Publisher: Startoucher Ltd

Date of publication: February 17th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find StarToucher: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Will humanity survive being judged in a galactic court?
New Age Sci-Fi, a mystical and spiritual novel.

After 3.8 billion years, the alien creators of life on Earth return to evaluate the results of their experiment. One species is found to be an extreme danger to itself and others – Humanity. Evidence for the continuation of the species hangs by a thread. 

Jake Connolly, talented up and coming LA lawyer, has a hidden psychic side long suppressed. When a series of intense visionary experiences threaten to derail his life, he is dragged unwillingly towards mysterious events deep in the Mojave Desert. What he discovers there changes him forever, and will affect the lives of everyone on the planet. 

As the world watches its destiny unfold, humanity is forced to fight for its survival in a galactic court and justify its existence to far superior beings. 

My review:

I like science fiction. Something about aliens, space crafts, and the human race fascinates me. I would like to think that if aliens decided to come to Earth, there would be no mass riots or calls to shoot them down. But I am a realist. I know that people, as a whole, do not deal with things like that rationally. There would be mass riots. The leaders of all the countries would try to blow it out of the sky. When I got the request to review StarToucher, I did think that it would be one of those types of books. Even after I read the blurb. But, I was surprised. StarToucher is nothing that I thought it would be.

StarToucher’s storyline was original and a fresh look at how humanity began. I liked the fact that humanity began as an experiment and was monitored by aliens for centuries. I liked that the aliens found that humanity was an extreme danger to themselves and others in the galaxy. So the creators (I likened them to scientists) have a trial to see if humanity should be erased or allowed to continue.

The author did a great job of showcasing everything that is going on in the modern-day. He showed that humanity was doing so much harm to the Earth that its creators had to jump in to stop it. I loved it!!

The main character of StarToucher is a lawyer, Jake Connolly. I didn’t like him at first. He came across as cocky and way too sure of himself. As all lawyers do. When his visions started bothering him to the point he took a forced vacation, I started to see a different Jake. By the time he met Sarah and Genesis, he was almost there with the character transformation. By the time he was on the ship, he was transformed. I loved it. I love seeing a character change, for the better, in a book.

I thought that the author chose an eclectic group of people to represent the Earth. The President of the United States, the President of China, The Pope, a physicist, a philosopher, a shaman, a teenaged activist and a mother. A broad spectrum and each lived up to their stereotypes. I had to laugh because the President kept getting choked by the alien truth device. Typical politicians. Too bad there wasn’t one in real life…lol.

I am going to admit that I was surprised by the verdict and by what the aliens were going to do. I thought it was going to go the other way. I was also shocked by Jake, Sarah, and Genesis’s roles in that decision.

There is a twist in the plot towards the end. With what happened and what was revealed, I am hoping that there will be a book 2!!!

What I liked about StarToucher:

A) original storyline

B) great job of showcasing present-day issues

C) The eclectic group of people chosen to represent Earth

What I disliked about StarToucher:

A) POTUS. He couldn’t stop lying to aliens

B) Genesis. They blew the lid off of what was happening

C) Jake’s visions. My head hurt reading about them

I would give StarToucher an Older Teen rating. There are sexual situations but they are very vague. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings for StarToucher.

I would recommend StarToucher to family and friends. This is a book that I would reread.

I would like to thank the publisher for allowing me to read and review StarToucher.

All opinions stated in this review of StarToucher are mine.

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

The Hidden Face (Fifth Unmasking: Book 1) by S.C. Flynn

The Hidden Face (Fifth Unmasking #1)

5 Stars

Publisher: The Hive

Date of publication: November 25th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Fifth Unmasking

The Hidden Face – Book 1

Blood Riddle – Book 2 (expected publication date: June 30th, 2018)

Sands of Karna – Book 3 (expected publication date: February 23rd, 2019)

Where you can find The Hidden Face: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.

My Review:

I don’t even know where to begin with this review of The Hidden Face. The book is that good. What caught my attention when I was approached to review the book was the blurb. I didn’t even have to think about it. I wanted to read The Hidden Face. I need to read it. I am so glad I made the decision to accept the review request. This has to be one of the best fantasy books that I have read in a while.

The plotlines were great. A god that takes human form every 500 years and no one knows who it is until he/she is Unmasked? Yes!! That Unmasking starts ends the current era and starts a new one? Double yes. A hero who is trying to piece together clues left by his former mentor? Love it. A woman pretending to be a man so she can search for her father? Love it. An insane hunchback who might or might not be the bad guy (definitely a gray area there)? Yup. A priest, a beautiful woman and the king of a rival kingdom coming together to make sure that the prophecy goes in their favor? Definitely yes.

The characters, main and secondary, were all well written. They all had layers. For a secondary character to have layers is rare. In my experience, they are usually fillers between the scenes that feature the main characters. For the author to build up the secondary characters like that, I loved it. It made the book have more depth and be more realistic in my eyes.

The main characters were also all well-rounded and layered. Take, for instance, Perin the hunchback. At the beginning of the book, he is portrayed as nothing more than a killer working for Astolf, the High Priest. As the book went on, it is revealed that he is being used by Astolf. He became a tortured man who was firmly in a gray area. He killed, yes but he also protected. Once something about him was revealed, another layer appeared. It was that attention to detail that made this book so enjoyable for me to read.

I liked how the author kept the identity of who the Face was until the end of the book. Not only was who it was but where this person was living. Of course, the Face’s parentage was revealed. I wasn’t surprised at who the parents were. I do wonder how those people are going to figure into everything in the next book.

I liked Dayraven. I did think that he was the Face for 90% of the book. All the riddles that he solved seemed to point to it. When the real identity of the Face was revealed, I couldn’t help but wonder how he was going to factor into that person’s Unmasking.

I wonder the same thing about Sunniva. She was on her own personal quest to find out what happened to her father. When she found out, I wonder what will happen to her in book 2. I also wonder how she is going to factor into the Unmasking.

Astolf left me feeling unclean. I wanted to take a shower after reading his scenes. He was such an evil person. What he did to Emperor Calvo, Perin and countless others were awful. So I didn’t feel bad when what happened to him happened. I felt vindicated.

Dagon and Malombra were a couple made in Hell. Malombra was reportedly a beautiful woman who killed anyone who saw her face. She was also very talented with herbs and poisons. Dagon was the head of the Clovian Dynasty. He was a nasty man who wanted to destroy Emperor Calvo in the worse way. So when those two hooked up, I was disgusted. The things that they did to Sunniva and Dayraven were disgusting. But, I am curious to see what happens to them in book 2.

The end of The Hidden Face was fantastic. The author did a great job at ending some storylines. Other’s were left open to be pursued in book 2. The slight cliffhanger was perfect for the book. It was enough for me to want to read book 2.

What I liked about The Hidden Face:

A) Excellent world building

B) Excellent storylines

C) Excellent world building

What I disliked about The Hidden Face:

A) Astolf. He made me feel dirty

B) Dagon and Malombra. The power couple from Hell.

C) Perin. I disliked how he was treated throughout the book.

I would give The Hidden Face a rating of Older Teen. There is sex but it is not graphic. It is vague but you know what is going on. There is violence. Not so much graphic but the author got creative with how he killed off characters. The whole beehive scene made me shudder. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings in The Hidden Face.

I would recommend The Hidden Face to family and friends. This is a book that I will be rereading. I will also be reading the other books in the series when they come out.

I would like to thank S.C. Flynn for allowing me to read and review The Hidden Face.

All opinions stated in this review of The Hidden Face are mine.

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

 

Raiden Out the Storm (An-Off-the-Rails Ice Era Chronicle: 2:15 a.m.) by C.M. Moore

Raiden Out the Storm (An Off-The-Rails Ice Era Chronicle: 2:15 a.m.)

3 Stars

Publisher: Troll River Publications

Date of publication: April 10th, 2018

Genre: dystopia, LGBTQIA, fantasy

Series: An-Off-the-Rails Ice Era Chronicle: 2:15 a.m.

1:05 a.m. – Book 1

2:05 a.m. – Book 2

Raiden Out the Storm – Book 3

Grinding My Gears – Book 4

Trigger Warning: Rape (M/M), talk of past rape, and talk of past domestic violence

Where you can find Raiden Out the Storm: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In the kind of rough and tumble life they lead, Raiden knows there is no place for love…

Raiden refuses his connection to Ash Winsor. She’s mean. She insults him. And she carries a big gun. He won’t have her. He should get away from her, but how? As soon as they can find the man who tied their heartstrings together, they’ll go their separate ways. All they have to do is get to H.S.P.C. headquarters building and pay him off. Raiden hopes that once he’s free, he’ll be able to go back to trekking on the surface of the planet and sending money home to his dad. He should be able to forget all about Ash and her handsome shadow.

Love has kept Stone as Ash Winsor’s shadow for two years. He can’t bring himself to leave her even though the relationship is painful and going in circles. When he finds out that Ash is now tied to another man, Stone wants nothing more than to see Raiden gone. Together they will both follow King Winsor from train to train. Stone is hoping against hope that the rough and troubled harvester will one day choose him, and Raiden will no longer be at their side.

Lying has become as natural to Ashley Winsor as breathing. Ash had made sure Stone thinks she’s a man. She has also made sure Raiden doesn’t know how much she needs him. If Ash can just make the trek to the headquarters building, she will be free of the two men who want her more than anything. The only problem is, the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if she wants them gone.

My Review:

When Troll River Publishing approached me to review Raiden Out The Storm, I almost said no. At the time, I was 10 books behind for writing reviews and I was beginning to feel burnt out by writing reviews. I decided to accept the request when I saw the cover. For some odd reason, I liked it. It called to me. Fortunately for me, a small mini-vacation happened where I caught up on my reviews. I also restructured my review schedule so I wouldn’t fall behind.

What I didn’t know when I accepted was that Raiden Out The Storm was book 3 in a series. Each book is the same storyline but told from different perspectives. So, you can’t pick this book up and start reading it. You need to read the first two books to find out exactly what is going on. I was a bit lost reading. There were references to the other characters and situations that I didn’t get. It did take away from me enjoying the book.

Ash interested me. She was tough on the outside but sweet on the inside. When it was revealed why she had to become so tough, my heart broke. It was that incident that shaped her into becoming the unofficial leader of the harvesters. I thought her masquerading as a man interesting. She knew that she wouldn’t get the respect from the men she “ruled” over so she became a man. A man would be respected. A man would be feared.

I was surprised that she got away with being a man for as long as she did. If people had doubts, her guns and toughness silenced them. Only a select few people knew that she was a woman. Understandably, she was reluctant to let Raiden know her secret. Besides having magic connecting them, I was surprised that she revealed that she was a woman to him. Then slept with him almost right afterward.

Stone annoyed me. Mainly because he lived with Ash and didn’t pick up on the clues that she was a woman. She didn’t grow facial hair and her voice didn’t change. He was in love with Ash. But he was in love with King Windsor, the man. Not Ash the woman. I kind of wanted to smack him upside the head for not paying attention enough. Also, I didn’t like how he treated Raiden at first. Raiden was bound to Ash, against his will. He had no control over what was going to happen. Which made me aggravated because Stone acted like a jealous twit for most of the book.

I thought Raiden was a pushover. He did show some spirit at the beginning of the book but it kind of fizzled. When his ex-person (I don’t know how to classify that person) started bullying him, he stood there and took it. He didn’t attempt to fight that person even when they dropped him out in the woods, naked. He didn’t defend himself against Stone either. He acted like a doormat. Then, at the end of the book, he did a 180. I sat there and thought to myself “Where the hell did this come from“.

With all the faults of the book (because I didn’t read the first two), I would have been fine with Raiden Out The Storm. I liked the plotline and, for the most part, the characters. But, then I read the rape scene. Since I read books that are a little more gritty, I wasn’t that shocked about it. It was the after the rape that left a bad taste in my mouth. While the rapist expressed remorse, the victim kept saying it wasn’t rape, I wanted it. I got mad when I read that. That person said no quite a few times and the rapist ignored him. I agreed with Ash’s reaction when she found out. But then, everything was alright between the rapist and the victim. Even more sexual encounters. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It was like it never happened. It is that reason why I rated the book the way I did. Other than that, like I said above, I liked it.

The end of Raiden Out The Storm was different. The author did a great job of resolving the important storylines but he left the smaller ones open. The epilogue was good but I did wonder how Ash was going to do it and keep up her façade as a man.

What I liked about Raiden Out The Storm:

A) Intriguing storyline

B) Complex characters

C) Great world building

What I disliked about Raiden Out The Storm:

A) Not a standalone book. You need to read the other books before you read this one

B) Ash’s men. They annoyed me. She had more balls than they did.

C) The rape storyline. I don’t think that it needed to be in the book. It added nothing to it.

I would give Raiden Out The Storm an Adult rating. This is a book that I would recommend no one under the age of 21 read. There are explicit sex scenes. There is an explicit rape scene. There is explicit violence. There is explicit language.

There are triggers in Raiden Out The Storm. They would be: rape (M/M), talk of past rape, and talk of past domestic violence. If you are triggered by any of these, I suggest that you do not read this book.

I am on the fence about if I would recommend Raiden Out The Storm to family and friends. A warning about the triggers would be included if I did. I am on the fence if I would reread this book. But, I would read the other books in the series. I would also be open to reading anything else by the author.

Do you like to read books that have graphic scenes in them? Why or why not?

Picking up books mid-series? Like it or not?

I would like to thank Troll River Publication for allowing me to read and review Raiden Out The Storm.

All opinions stated in this review of Troll River Publication are mine.

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

When a Stranger Comes by Karen S. Bell

When a Stranger Comes...: A gripping psychological thriller

3 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: September 13th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Suspense, Paranormal

Where you can find When a Stranger Comes: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A GRIPPING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FOR FANS OF KING AND KOONTZ! 

Would you be willing to make a deal with the devil to have your hopes and dreams come true? 

Witnessing a lightening bolt on a sunny day, author Alexa Wainwright doesn’t realize she’s been transported to an alternate universe. Here, she meets media mogul and publisher King Blakemore who offers her a lucrative book contract that will guarantee her comeback. 

This publisher seems odd. This book deal is too good. Suddenly, the contract’s been signed. Now what can she do? 

Desperate to get her life back, Alexa devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence but to no avail. Can Alexa find her way out of this nightmare? 

Buy this book if you’re a reader who loves a page-turning, heart-stopping, psychological thriller with some magical realism thrown in. 

My review:

I like a book that gets under my skin. So when I read the blurb for When a Stranger Comes…, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, When a Stranger Comes… didn’t get under my skin. If anything, I was left confused by the end of the book. I was also left dissatisfied that the book didn’t get under my skin. A psychological thriller should do that to you. It didn’t for me.

I thought the plotline for When a Stranger Comes… was great. A writer is transported to an alternate realm without her knowledge. There, she achieves the fame and fortune that she wants, but for a price. When she realizes that she made a deal with the Devil, it is almost too late. She needs to find a way to get out of this nightmare. The whole making a deal with the Devil plotline is overused but the author put a fresh spin on it. It wasn’t until the end of the book that the plot started to go all over the place. It was almost like the author had a timeline and rushed through the ending.

I didn’t like Alexa. She rubbed me the wrong way. She overreacted to everything. She made up excuses about why she didn’t keep people close. She treated her assistant horribly. There were scenes where I was eyerolling so hard that I thought my eyes were going to get stuck. She did change, somewhat, during the last part of the book. But that did nothing to change my perception of her.

As weird as this is going to sound, I thought the Devil was a well-written character. He didn’t attempt to hide who he was or what he was doing. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I liked him but he was an enjoyable character to read.

It was the last part of the book that went off track for me.  If the author introduced the alternate universe and angel storyline sooner that I wouldn’t have been as confused.

The end of the book was interesting. I liked that the author chose to do what she did with Alexa. It made for some thinking after I was done with the book.

What I liked about When a Stranger Comes…:

A) Good storyline

B) the Devil

C) the end of the book

What I disliked about When a Stranger Comes…:

A) Left feeling confused by the end of the book

B) Book didn’t get under my skin

C) Alexa

I would give When a Stranger Comes…an Adult rating. There is sex. It is not explicit but Alexa has a lot of it. There is violence. There is language.

There are no trigger warnings with When a Stranger Comes

I am on the fence if I would read this book again. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends. I am open to reading other books by the author.

I would like to thank the publishers for allowing me to read and review When a Stranger Comes…

All opinions stated in this review of When a Stranger Comes…are mine.

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

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

Two Guns (Run Rabbit Run Book 2)

4 Stars

Publisher:

Date of publication: November 20th, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Run, Rabbit Run

Colossus – Book 1 (review here)

Two Guns – Book 2

Where you can find Two Guns: Amazon

Triggers: rape, assault, kidnapping, and stalking

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

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

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

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

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

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

My review:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I liked about Two Guns:

A) Fast moving storyline

B) Realistic look at police/FBI investigations

C) Avery

What I disliked about Two Guns:

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

B) Avery masquerading as a cop and no one knows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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