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:

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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.

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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.

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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

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i

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e

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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**

Warriors (Mud, Rocks, and Trees: Book 4) by R.A. Denny

Warriors (Mud, Rocks, and Trees, #4)

4 Stars

Publisher: self-published

Date of publication: October 18th, 2017

Genre: fantasy, young adult, Christian fiction

Series: Mud Rocks and Trees

Refugees – Book 1 (review here)

Seekers – Book 2 (review here)

Captives – Book 3 (review here)

Warriors – Book 4

Visionaries – Book 5

Where you can find Warriors: Amazon | Barnes and Nobles

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Let the battle begin! The vast Tzoladian army clashes with the Karsonian confederation in the valley of Mt. Sarmos. But the stakes are higher than a mere fight for power between countries. As the cruel emperor intensifies his persecution of the “subhumans,” the three chosen youths make tough choices that will decide the fate of the world.

Amanki is a soldier fighting for an empire that wants him dead. After losing her freedom and her seal, Brina faces the ruthless leader of the Sparaggi tribes. Tuka is surrounded by intrigue. Plots of assassination abound. 

Thrown into circumstances they never would have chosen or even imagined, the teens must adapt or die. Have they forgotten their true mission?

My review:

When R.A. approached me to review Warriors, I was pretty stoked. I have loved every book in this series. Usually, I expect some sort of lull in a series. A book that isn’t up to par with the rest of the book. Not with this series. Each book has been fantastic and Warriors continues with the excellence.

Warriors picks up shortly after the events of Captives. Amanki is a foot soldier in the Tzoladian Army. Brina is a slave and is being used by the leader of the Sparaggi Tribe. Tuka is working for the emperor. He is also a spy for a local resistance group. Metlan is now the king of the Samalitans. He also holds Brina’s seal. Somehow, they all must meet up and bring the seals together.

Amanki is on the front lines of a war that he didn’t ask to be in. Fighting for an emperor that wants him dead. I liked that he still held on to his faith, even when events happened that made him question it. He grew in this book. He became more of a leader.

I was a little put off by Brina at the beginning of Warriors. There was a point in the book where I did question whether she was going to continue with her quest. She did redeem herself in my eyes after the battle when she aided Amanki. If she gets her seal back from Metlan, what it will do. If Amanki’s can call a leviathan, then what will hers call?? I also figured out what was going to happen between her and Metlan before it happened.

Tuka had it rough. He was spying on the emperor for a group of rebels within the palace. He was being pressured to assassinate the emperor because he was the closest to him. He also was supposed to help Burlem find out who ordered the killing of the women and children of his tribe. At one point, I didn’t know what was going to happen to him. I thought that he was going to do one thing and ended up doing another. Put it this way, I am glad that he met Samuel.

Metlan got on my nerves. I know that he had to prove that he was worthy of being a king but still. He played Brina. But, I am wondering if he did have feelings for her. And what he did was more of a political attempt to get the Karsonians to behave. Guess I’ll have to see. I am also wondering where Pergassi is and if she is still alive.

There are a couple of twists in the plot. One that I saw coming. One came out of left field. With the one I saw coming, the author dropped enough hints in the earlier books. So when Baskrod revealed it to Metlan, I wasn’t surprised. The other one, though, took me completely by surprise. I kick myself because I should have seen it coming.

The Christian element of the book was well written. Adon was discussed, praised and it was mentioned but it didn’t take over the book. Which is great for someone who wants to read a religious-themed but doesn’t want to feel it being forced down your throat.

I thought that the fantasy aspect of the book was very well written also. I love to read fantasy but I have found some of the books can be dull and repetitive. Warriors was a refreshing change from that.

The character and world building in this book were over the top. The author took an already great world/characters and added more depth to them. I am looking forward to seeing how much more she adds to the world/characters in the next book. I enjoy reading a book where I can picture the characters and the world. It makes it so much more interesting to read.

The end of Warriors was a mess. I won’t go into it other than to say it was sort of cliffhanger. But, things look to going in the right direction (finally!!) for Brina, Tuka, Amanki, and Metlan.

What I liked about Warriors:

A) Amazing world/character building

B) Fast paced original storyline

C) The plot twists

What I disliked about Warriors:

A) Metlan. Player going to play (cue in Taylor Swift here)

B) Pressure on Tuka.

C) The battle scene with Amanki and Kishar. And then the one with Amanki and Jacob

I was a bit torn on what rating to give Warriors. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to give it a Tween or a Young Teen rating. For the sake of the review, I would say Young Teen rating. There is violence. There is no sex but there is a couple of scenes where Metlan and Brina kiss. Again, nothing graphic. No language.

There are no trigger warnings in the book.

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

I would like to thank R.A. Denny for allowing me to read and review Warriors.

All opinions stated in this review of Warriors are mine.

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

The After War: The Complete Novel (The After War: Books 1-2) by Brandon Zenner

The After War: The Complete Novel

4 Stars

Publisher: Brandon Zenner

Date of publication: June 30th, 2017

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Number of pages: 445

POV: 3rd person

Series: The After War

To Alice – Book 1

Fire Horizons – Book 2

The After War: The Complete Novel – Books 1 & 2

Where you can find The After War: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Two years have passed since mankind faced extinction: Brain Rhodes and his cousin, Steven, are leaving the protection of their underground bunker for the first time, after a cataclysmic war and unrelenting disease ravaged the earth. On the other side of North America, young Simon Kalispell is leaving the safety and seclusion of his cabin deep in the woods, traveling with his aging canine companion, Winston. For individual reasons, these men are traveling east, where the fragmented lives of a small number of survivors will soon be decided by the choices of a corrupt few. 

Simon Kalispell and Brian Rhodes are not yet aware, but the strength that resides inside them will soon be tested, and destiny will call for their fates to be forever intertwined.

Trigger Warning: Attempted rape

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The Last Man (The Complete Trilogy) by Tobias Wade

The Fantasy Series of Enlightenment - COMPLETE TRILOGY: The Last Man by [Wade, Tobias]

Title: The Last Man

Author: Tobias Wade

Publisher: Self Published

Date of publication: May 27th, 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Number of pages: 646

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find The Last Man: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Embark upon the fantasy story of enlightenment through these seven surreal worlds. 

Test your bravery to pass the land of fear and pain. 
Resist temptations to pass the land of pleasure. 
Clear your mind to pass the land of illusion. 
Trust your heart to pass the land of love and loss. 
Keep your word to pass the land of truth and lies. 
Know yourself to pass the land of identity. 
Forsake the world to pass the land of attachments.

All the while pursuing a desperate course to the center of the Earth where a primordial force awaits its freedom with the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. 

An epic and insightful adventure filled with magic, monsters, dragons, betrayal, and transcendence!

Trigger Warning: None

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Closer (Closer Trilogy: Book 1) by M.C. Vann

Closer (Closer Trilogy, #1)

Title: Closer

Author: M.C. Vann

Publisher: Self Published

Date of publication: July 17th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 393

POV: 1st person

Series: Closer

Closer – Book 1

Forever – Book 2 (expected publication date: Fall 2017)

Together – Book 3 (expected publication date: 2018)

Where you can find Closer: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When Alexandria Summers (Ally) bumps into Henry Pearce during the Sunny Valley Tulip Festival, she never thought she’d see him again in her hometown, the Windy City. Despite several warnings telling her to stay away, Ally finds herself falling deeper for this strange man. But little did she know, their fated encounter is just the beginning of a larger scheme.

This beautiful man was flawed.

He was real … real in a sense that he was human after all.

Fragile. Pitiful. Lonely.

Henry was all of these things — elements that I never could imagine him having.

The more I got to know Henry, the more I realized how much of a mystery he was.

A dark, but beautiful mystery.

*** Trigger Warning: Intended for audiences 18 and older. Contains situations some readers might find objectionable. Ends on a cliffhanger. 
*** Book 1 of the Closer Trilogy, a Dark Romance

Trigger Warning: domestic violence

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FountainCorp Security: Diaries of a Space Marine by Watson Davis

FountainCorp Security: Diaries of a Space Marine

Title: FountainCorp Security

Author: Watson Davis

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: December 10th 2016

Number of pages: 259

Genre: Science Fiction

POV: 1st and 3rd person

Where you can find FountainCorp Security: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Interplanetary Terrorism, Corporate Backstabbing, and Nanotech Zombies! 

Dorothea, decorated veteran of the Martian Marines and paroled war-criminal, has a new job using her old skills, but her first mission takes off on the wrong foot. In a zombie-infested station, every mistake can be your last.

In this military sci-fi romp across the solar system, Watson Davis weaves a tale of intrigue and terror with guns and blasters blazing.

Buy this book and start reading the Diaries of a Space Marine series today!

Trigger Warning: None

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