From Fame to Ruin: A Romantic Thriller Standalone Novel by Jina S. Bazzar

Book Cover

Publisher: Self Published

Date of Publication: December 21st 2021

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

What if surviving a murder attempt, a heartbreak, and the loss of the family business wasn’t the hardest thing you ever faced?

Carol is the sole heir to a broken empire, Ricardo the newest celebrity in the rock world.
When they came together, their fire blazed. When their past caught up, they were left burned, scorched to the ground.

When a psychopath decides its payback time, Carol is faced with an impossible choice – save her son or sell her life.

Ricardo wants nothing to do with the woman who played him for a fool but finds himself moored by circumstances, half-truths, and memories of the past.
They say time can heal anything. So far, time’s brought nothing but complications.

This is a standalone romantic thriller told in alternating timelines and points of view. Warnings include character overdose and mentions of child abuse.

First Line:

Lurking under the shadow of a tree and the mouth of a nearby alleyway, they watched.

from fame to ruin: a romantic thriller standalone novel by jina s bazzar

When I read the blurb for From Fame to Ruin, the book caught my interest. I love reading romance and suspense, so when I get a book that combines them, I usually read them. So, it was a given that I would read From Fame to Ruin, and oh boy, am I glad I did!!

From Fame to Ruin is the story of Ricardo and Carol. They met at Heathrow Airport, and after their flight to Rio is canceled, they spend a passion-filled weekend together. When they land in Rio, Carol’s fiance (well wannabe) meets her and destroys whatever relationship was forming between them. Fast forward four years later. Carol’s almost 3-year-old son is kidnapped when he is out with his nanny. The kidnappers are demanding a ransom that Carol cannot afford. But she knows who can. She approaches Ricardo for the money, and after that, all hell breaks loose. Who kidnapped Gabe, and will he come back alive? Will Carol and Ricardo forgive past hurts and move forward with their lives? And why has the kidnapper targeted Carol?

From Fame to Ruin is a fast-paced book that starts off running and doesn’t stop. I am glad that it is fast-paced because any other pacing wouldn’t have done the book justice. There is no lag which I was very thankful for.

From Fame to Ruin goes back and forth in the timeline before merging towards the end of the book. The author was able to seamlessly go from 4 years ago to the present with no hiccup. I was very pleasantly surprised. She also clarified if you were in the present or the past at the start of each chapter. So there was no confusion about if you were in the past or the present.

I liked Carol, but man, she grated on my nerves during parts of the book. I understood why she was so upset with Ricardo. I would have been too. But her hatred was over much during crucial parts of the book. I wanted to reach into the book, shake her and say, “Dudette, just let him help.”

I liked Ricardo too. But, I felt that he jumped to conclusions and assumed things way too fast. I get that his past relationship hurt him but still. And I did want to smack his face for what he said and did to Carol at the music studio. Unfreakingcalled for.

The real MVP in the book is Otto. I hope that he gets his HEA in another book!! The talk he gave to both Carol and Ricardo was fantastic, and I wished he had done it way earlier in the book.

As the author warned in the blurb, there is child abuse in the book’s first half. The author didn’t go into how Gabe was abused, but she described the aftermath. My heart broke for him, and I will admit, I cried.

I did figure out two of the people who were involved in the kidnapping. The third, though, was random. I honestly thought it was going to be another person (who was mentioned in the book).

The end of From Fame to Ruin was action-packed. The author was able to tie everything together and give an insight into why a very powerful man protected Carol. And the epilogue was one of the cutest that I have read to date!!!

I would recommend From Fame to Ruin to anyone over the age of 21. There are sexual situations (actual sex is not described), violence, and language.

Intertwined: A Biker’s Tale by Andrew Hartman

Book Cover

Publisher: Self Published

Date of publication: August 1st, 2021

Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

When a young man’s world is turned upside down, some things become clear and others blurred. Jacob Schitz’s plain life in Florida quickly erupts into a series of drastic events as he navigates young adulthood and a bleak future. When the biker gang, The Panteras, enters his life as a third obstacle, he will begin to truly understand himself and the violent world of underground crime as their paths become intertwined.

First Line:

Jacob walked into the room; it was dark. Pitch black, the staircase was hard to walk down.

intertwined: A biker’s tale by Andrew Hartman

I will let you all in on a secret: I love reading biker books, well, mainly romances, but still. I also like to read young adult. So, when I read the blurb for this book, I thought I had hit the jackpot. I was super excited to read it.

Intertwined starts slow, but after a couple of chapters, it morphs into a fast-paced book. There is a slight lag towards the middle of the book, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of it.

Intertwined had an exciting plotline. Two college kids, out on a bucket list adventure, get mixed up with a biker gang. The biker gang quickly assumes that the kids are out to get them since they keep showing up in the same area. Will the kids be able to outsmart the biker gang? Or will they become their victims?

Like I mentioned above, I enjoy reading books about bikers. Something about that lifestyle intrigues me. The author did a great job of showing the inner workings of a biker gang. Willow came across as a paranoid leader willing to do whatever it takes to protect his gang. That aspect of the book enthralled me.

I wasn’t too sure how to feel about Jacob at first. He came across as too needy. But, as the book went on and I began to understand what he had gone through and what he was going through, I started to like him. He had an inner strength that shone throughout the book. I wish that he was a little more upfront with people about what was going on with him. It would have saved a lot of trouble further on in the book.

There is a lot of violence in Intertwined. I wasn’t surprised at the level of violence, but if you don’t like it, this might not be the book for you.

The end of Intertwined was bittersweet. I was surprised at what happened and what a certain someone did. Talk about a selfless act!! The author also left the book on a cliffhanger, so I will assume that there will be a book 2.

I would recommend Intertwined: A Biker’s Tale for anyone over the age of 21. There is violence, drug use, alcohol use, and language.

Look for Me Under the Rainbow by Bernard Jan

Look for Me Under the Rainbow: A Novella by [Jan, Bernard]

5 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Date of publication: April 15th, 2018

Genre: Middle Grade

Where you can find Look For Me Under the Rainbow: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Sometimes all you need is a big heart and burning desire.

Danny, a curious harp seal pup, has soft white fur and black innocent eyes. Helen is an environmentalist and member of a young activist crew of the Rainbow Warriors. Their mission is to save animals.

As winter turns into spring, a new generation of seal pups comes to life. A few weeks later, the killing begins. Against a spectacular backdrop of ice and snow, Helen prepares to look horrific human cruelty in the face.

I do not doubt I have a big heart and burning desire, but is that enough for a person to become a Rainbow Warrior, or is there something better? Something only some of us manage to turn into what we have long missed—humanity.

In the race against time and clubs, will Helen save Danny before the hunt begins and the ice turns red?

Though written for younger readers, Look for Me Under the Rainbow will appeal to anyone who cherishes our beautiful planet and wishes to protect its treasures.

Buy this book by Bernard Jan, the author of A World Without Color, and experience another emotional journey.

First Line:

What is man, Mom?

Look for Me Under the Rainbow by Bernard Jan

My Review:

When I read the blurb for Look for Me Under the Rainbow, it caught my interest. I wasn’t expecting the feelings that this book evoked. I felt everything from joy to horror to sadness.

I will admit, I went into Look for Me Under the Rainbow with a certain mindset. I thought that it was going to be a children’s book about a young seal pup named Danny and his adventures. Well, that isn’t the case. Instead, I got a book that showed exactly how hard a harp seal’s life is and the dangers they face.

Danny was a great main character. His curiosity and innocence were what I expected from a harp seal pup. The questions he asked were what I expected a child to ask. But, like all children, Danny disobeys his mother, and there are consequences.

The harp seal pups slaughter was horrifying. I had thought that clubbing them to death had ended. The other horrors that the author described (being skinned alive and left to die) made me sick to my stomach. I kept thinking to myself, “How is that humane??? They are babies!!!” I cannot believe that this is allowed. That is when my horror turned to outrage.

The author also showed what the seals went through if they survived the slaughter. Everything from natural enemies (killer whales and polar bears) to human-made hazards (oil spills to nets left floating in the ocean). It was heartbreaking.

I liked that the author showed that people are trying to do the right thing. The Rainbow Warriors and Helen tried to stop the slaughter. How they did it was smart. I wouldn’t have thought to do that!! But those activists are only a small handful of people. More people need to help.

Look for Me Under the Rainbow is a short book, actually a novella. Marketed towards children, I was a little iffy about the age range on this. I decided on Tween because I felt that the younger kids could be traumatized by the descriptions of the seal pup slaughter.

The end of Look for Me Under the Rainbow wasn’t a happy one. But it wasn’t a sad one either. It was an eye opening one.

I would give Look for Me Under the Rainbow a Tween rating. There is no sex. There is no language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 10 read this book.

I would reread Look for Me Under the Rainbow. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by [GARAI, Indrajit]

4 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Date of publication: March 18th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction, Young Adult

Where you can find The Bridge of Little Jeremy: Amazon

Book synopsis:

Jeremy’s mother is about to go to prison for their debt to the State. He is trying everything within his means to save her, but his options are running out fast. 

Then Jeremy discovers a treasure under Paris. 

This discovery may save his mother, but it doesn’t come for free. And he has to ride over several obstacles for his plan to work. 

Meanwhile, something else is limiting his time…

First Line:

The noise in the attic wakes me again.

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai

My Review:

The Bridge of Little Jeremy is one of those books that stick with you long after you’ve read it. After I finished it, I found myself thinking hard about what happened. This book struck me. As the mother of an 11 and 13-year-old, I could imagine my son or daughter having the adventures that Jeremy did.

The characters in The Bridge of Little Jeremy were wonderfully written; they were multi-layered. Each time a layer was exposed, there was another one underneath. Even towards the end of the book, when everything was wrapping up, the characters were still surprising me.

I enjoyed that The Bridge of Little Jeremy touched upon many issues that affect people present day. I liked seeing that good and the bad that came out of it. Some of the issues that were touched upon were single parenthood, health care, inheritance tax, the pros and cons of using social media, and unearthing family secrets. All those made this book a fantastic read.

Jeremy was an interesting character to read. He tried to help his mother with the inheritance tax. His heart condition limited how much he could help and get around. So, when he found that painting, he thought that it could help. It had been damaged by water and Jeremy thought he could restore it. His main focus from the middle of the book on was helping his mother. It became an obsession with him.

The end of The Bridge of Little Jeremy took me by surprise. I was not expecting what happened to happen. There was some foreshadowing but still, did not expect it. The very last chapter gave me chills.

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

I would reread The Bridge of Little Jeremy. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Zero by Jacob Whaler

Zero (The Fringe Collection Book 1) by [Whaler, Jacob]

5 Stars

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: December 2nd, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find Zero: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

He won the election. He ended democracy. He built a wall of glass 1,000 meters high. Now, 150 years later, his descendants have infinite wealth and control the Sanctuary, a high-tech paradise for the rich where money equals rank.

She’s from the slum. She has no money or rank. She vows to tear down the wall and end the nightmare.

Her weapon? Zero.

My review:

Alix has spent her entire life in The Fringe. She has spent her entire life looking in at the rich while struggling to survive. With the help of her friends and spurred on by the injustices done to her people, Alix is going to start a revolution. But, the question is, can she pull it off? Or will she become another of President Quinn’s casualties?

Link is the best of the best. He is the youngest Patrol Commander in the history of The Sanctuary. In a society where money equals rank, Link is fast approaching the top. He is dating President Quinn’s daughter. He is happy. That is until Alix arrives with her talk of injustice and suppression. Ordered by President Quinn to find and kill Alix, Link has to go to The Fringe to find her. Will, what he sees and experiences while there change his mind? Or is he still focused on being at the top?

Zero caught my attention when I first saw it. What intrigued me about this book was that I could see it happening. The middle class is fast disappearing. There is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. We are becoming more and more dependent on technology. I had no problem imaging the series of events that went down 150 years earlier actually happening in the world today.

I felt Alix’s frustration at what was going on in The Fringe. She was seeing children dying from a disease that has no cure. She has seen friends damaged from doing time in the brain lab. She has seen the effects of working in the chem labs. She was sick of it and she was going to do something about it. I enjoyed reading her character. I connected with her and rooted for her.

I didn’t like Link at first. He was too focused on his rank and money to be likable. Also, I thought he was almost to gung-ho. But then he met President Quinn and a lightbulb went off. I understood why he was the way he was. For a lack of better words, he drank the Kool-Aid like the rest of the people in The Sanctuary. The talk he had with President Quinn rocked his world. It also made him want to wipe Alix off the face of the Earth. I started to like him when he was in The Fringe and saw what was being done with to the people. He saw the brain labs, the chem plants, the pits of toxic waste. He couldn’t deny it.

The secondary characters made this book. From the Presidents daughter to Merf, they added an extra depth to the book. My favorite character was Merf. He lived in the Mesh and was able to do things with it that no one else was able to do. He made me smile every time he showed up in the book. Plus, he created Zero. Which was pretty awesome unto itself.

Zero is a fast read. What I liked about that is that the author wasted no time in getting the book going. The first chapter is Link being woken up to alarms and Alix making her speech. It didn’t slow down until the last chapter. I loved it!!

President Quinn creeped me out. The more he appeared in the book, the more he creeped me out. He was also unhinged and that became more and more clear as the book went on. Knowing all that, I was still surprised by what he did. And on live TV too!!

The end of the book was fulfilling. Fulfilling isn’t a term that I use much when describing the end of the book. I liked seeing how everything turned out. I liked seeing that Zero was able to do what it was programmed to do. I liked seeing the healing that went on also. It made me happy and I was left with no questions about anything.

I gave Zero a 5-star rating. This is a fast-paced, well-written science fiction book. I was able to connect with the main characters. I got involved with the plotlines. I had nothing to complain about (which is amazing).

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

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

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Zero.

All opinions stated in this review of Zero are mine.

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

Have you read Zero?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Foam On The Crest Of Waves by Silke Stein

Foam On The Crest Of Waves

4 Stars

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: November 25th, 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Where you can find Foam On The Crest Of Waves: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Can facing the past transform the present?

In a small fishing town on the Mendocino coast, the tides of time have washed over rumors and suspicions, yet the members of a maimed family still struggle to cope with their memories.

A broken woman, refusing to let go of her vanished husband.
Her widowed brother, clinging to the shatters of the life he loved.
His delusional daughter, planning to turn mermaid on her fifteenth birthday.

But when a young man realizes he made a mistake, secrets start emerging from the deep. Will they bring further grief, or possibly redemption?

My review:

Abalone has never recovered from the death of her mother. Becoming selectively mute, Abby communicates with gestures and through her jewelry/artwork. Because she won’t talk, Abby hasn’t let on that she plans on turning into a mermaid on her 15th birthday. She believes that her mother is alive, living with the mermaids and wants Abby to join her. Jeremy is Abby’s father. For the past 7 years, he has been in a fog of grief, only coming out to somewhat deal with Abby’s issues. He is jolted out of his fog by a series of events. He is forced to face that his wife wasn’t who he thought she was. Devastated by the disappearance of her husband, Gina has thrown herself into helping Jeremy and Abby. But, Gina knows a secret. A secret that could devastate Jeremy and Abby if they found out. Lief somehow has gotten himself into abalone smuggling without knowing how. His secret passion singing and he has a voice that rivals professionals. Lief has developed a stalker like interest in Abby after she assaults him. What will happen on Abby’s 15th birthday? Can this family survive the secrets? Or will Abby be lost to the mermaids?

Foam on the Crest of Waves is a very loose retelling of The Little Mermaid. The more accurate description would be a reverse telling of The Little Mermaid. What I liked about this book was that the author ran with the retelling. She took that fable and put her own twist on it. I also liked that she followed the original Hans Christian Andersen tale. She did mention the Disney retelling several times during the book. The mural was a huge homage to it. But the bones of the story was the original story.

There was one point in the book where I had several “WTH” moments. I didn’t understand how Lief’s parents didn’t know what he was up to. Didn’t they want to know where he was getting the extra money from? How did they not know about his amazing voice? He had to of sang when he was younger. Abby was 15, why was she allowed to wander all over the place? At one point in the book, she took a train out-of-town and she spent the night in the woods. Jeremy and Gina didn’t notice that she was gone. That drove me nuts.

The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was how it went back and forth in time. One moment I would be reading about Gina and her struggles post-accident, then I would be reading about her life pre-accident. No warning about the change in time periods. It happened. It drove me absolutely nuts.

The plotline involving Abby was broke my heart. She believed that she would turn into a mermaid on her 15th birthday. I liked how the author chose to have Abby doubt if that was going to happen. I liked how what happened the night that Fern died was leaked. It kept me guessing. But the truth of what happened was a shocked the heck out of me. I wasn’t expecting that.

Lief’s storyline was very well written also. He was so conflicted about what he should do with his life. Abby assaulting him made him think about what he was doing with his life. The scene in the woods was the turning point for him. I was afraid for him, considering what Abby was thinking when they were in the water towards the end of the book.

Jeremy was broken. Fern’s death destroyed him. Abby was the only thing that kept him going. But, as the book went on, it seemed like Fern played fast and loose with him. The news he got about Abby the night Fern died was heartbreaking. I did want to know what the DNA test results were, though. It was never mentioned again.

I did like Gina and felt awful for her. I couldn’t imagine not knowing what happened to my husband for 7 years. And the secret that she carried was soul eating. Do I think that she should have told Jeremy sooner? Yes but then the book wouldn’t have played out the way it did.

The end of the book was amazing. I loved how the author brought all the storylines together. It was perfect. The epilogue was great also. But I did worry about Abby. Her final scene bothered me. It made me think that nothing changed with her.

I gave Foam On The Crest Of Waves a 4-star rating. This book was a wonderful retelling of The Little Mermaid. I connected with each character. The plotlines were all very well written. The only thing I didn’t like was how it went back and forth in time. Other than that, a wonderful book.

I would give Foam On The Crest Of Waves an Adult rating. There is sex but it is not graphic. There is language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be the death of a parent, death of a spouse, cheating, traumatic accident, and talk of suicide. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Foam On The Crest Of Waves. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Foam On The Crest Of Waves.

All opinions stated in this review of Foam On The Crest Of Waves are mine.

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

Have you read Foam On The Crest Of Waves?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves

Lakes of Mars

4 Stars

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: September 4th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find Lakes of Mars: Goodreads (will update as soon as it is available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble)

Goodreads synopsis:

Aaron Sheridan doesn’t want to live anymore. His entire family had just died in a shuttle crash and he’d been the one flying it. Unable to deal with the guilt, he signs up for the Fleet expecting a fatal deployment to the Rim War, but instead ends up at their most prestigious command school, Corinth Station.

Initially, he’s detached from the brutality of his instructors and the Machiavellian tactics of the other students there, but after he sticks up for his only friend he makes himself a target of the most feared cadet on the station, Caelus Erik. Unsure of whom to trust and worried that anything he does will make others on his flight team targets as well, Aaron retreats deeper and deeper inside himself. However, when he discovers that officer training is not the station’s only purpose, it becomes increasingly clear that risking everything is the safest thing he can do.

Contains: Strong language and some violence

My review:

I am not sure how this book ended up in my TBR. I couldn’t find the email from the author/publisher requesting a review. I also couldn’t find it on my NetGalley shelf. So mysterious. So very mysterious. But it ended up on my Kindle, I am glad that it did because it was a great read!!

Aaron is determined to kill himself. After a shuttle crash that killed his family (he was flying), he doesn’t have a reason to live. He figures the best way to do that is to sign up for the Fleet and be deployed to the Rim War. That doesn’t happen. Instead, he is sent to renown command school. The school was like nothing he had ever seen. Aaron is soon questioning everything as plots and schemes are uncovered. Unsure of who he can trust, he withdraws into himself. During that time, Aaron discovers that the station serves a double purpose. Gathering the few people he can trust, Aaron decides that he needs to risk everything to expose what is going on.

I felt bad for Aaron. The guilt he was living with was unbearable. He needed someone, other than his best friend, to tell him that the accident wasn’t his fault. And therapy. He needed tons of that. As the book went on, I did question if he was reading into things wrong. The author did a fantastic job at making me, the reader, question Aaron’s sanity. I did think that he was losing it at one point in the book. His dreams were creepy. It was after Sebastian’s death that I stopped questioning Aaron’s sanity. I then started questioning what the heck was going on at that station. I also felt that he showed true courage at the end of the book.

I loved the science fiction angle of the Lake of Mars. I had no issue imagining Mars being terraformed or people colonizing it. Same with Saturn. I was fascinated with what was going on in the station and where the other cadets were from. Even the lessons taught were fascinating. Why? Because I had no issue picturing it actually happening.

What I didn’t care for was the violence exhibited in the book. Aaron and the other cadet whaled on each other. That played a big part of Aaron’s distrust of everyone. How can you trust people who turn on you? Even the instructors were in on it.

There is drug use in this book also. I was a little disturbed at how easily the kids in the book were able to get drugs and use them. The adults running the station turned their heads or contributed to it. There was an explanation about why the adults didn’t do anything and it disgusted me. Talk about self-serving.

The end of the book was insane and bloody. I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen when the shuttle landed. I also wasn’t expecting what was revealed when things were out in the open. My mouth dropped. Talk about a plot twist. It came out of nowhere. I was as stunned as Aaron was. I am hoping that the author will be writing a book 2. The end of the book made me think that.

I gave Lake of Mars a 4-star rating. This was a well-written book with relatable characters. I did have an issue with the violence in the book as well as the drug use. But other than that, I enjoyed reading the book.

I would give Lake of Mars an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is some quick kissing scenes but nothing that raised my eyebrows. There is violence. Some of it graphic. There is language. There are trigger warnings. They are drug use, extreme violence, the death of parents. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Lake of Mars. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a mention of the triggers.

I would like to thank the mysterious person who put this book on my Kindle for allowing me to read and review Lakes of Mars.

All opinions stated in this review of Lakes of Mars are mine.

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

Have you read Lakes of Mars?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Limits by Susie Tate


4 Stars

Publisher: Susie Tate

Date of publication: April 5th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Limits: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

For as long as she can remember Millie has had her limits. Staying within them keeps her isolated, safe; helps her to cope. Why then have they started to feel so stifling? Why is her loneliness starting to rival her fears?

When she watches him she wishes she could be normal; she wishes she could be like the people he interacts with so seamlessly. Pavlos Martakis is her complete and total opposite: physically intimidating, likable, naturally attractive, extremely confident, sexually promiscuous: the most uninhibited, charming, outgoing and free person she has ever met in her life. He fascinates Millie; thrills and intimidates her in equal measure.

But, as the culprit behind the invention of her nickname Nuclear Winter, Millie knows that if Pav feels anything for her it is more than likely contempt. Cold, boring, robotic: that is how the rest of the hospital sees her. So she can safely watch him from afar. He would never notice her … would he?

My review:

When I saw the blurb for Limits, I was immediately intrigued. I was eager to read it. Unfortunately, life happened and I kept pushing Limits off to read. When I was finally able to read it, I was blown away. This book is so much more than what the blurb said it was going to be. I wasn’t expecting how much it made me cry. I ugly cried for about 90% of the book.

Limits is Millie’s story. Millie works in the radiology department of a busy hospital in EnglandMillie has isolated herself from all but a few of the staff. Her cold demeanor has earned her the nickname of “Nuclear Winter“. Pavlos is a newcomer to the hospital. He is everything that Millie isn’t. Outgoing, funny and people like him. He has heard of Nuclear Winter but has never met her. Until her friend’s engagement party. He is fascinated by Millie. He wants to know why she is so standoffish, why she keeps everyone at arm’s length. As he gets to know Millie, he realizes that she is anything but cold. Something happened to her to shape her into the anxiety-ridden, self-harming person that she became. And he wants to know what. Can he handle the truth? Can Millie finally let down her guard to trust Pav?

Millie broke my heart. I wanted to reach through the book and hug her. And also slap her parents for putting her through what they did as a child. Her social anxiety and panic attacks left her unable to connect to anyone outside of 3 people. Well 4, if you count her relationship with her psychologist. The nicknames that she got at work hurt her. What got me mad was that people didn’t even try to hide their contempt for her. That burnt me up. I loved seeing her working to be able to go out into the real world and interact with people. Her relationship with Pav paved the way with that. By the end of the book, I was crying happy tears for her. She deserved every bit of happiness that she got.

I didn’t like Pav at the beginning of the book. I found that he was as rude as the other people in the hospital when it came to Millie. When he asked her to present at the Grand Round, he was told no. He pressured her to do it and she did. And look what happened to her. Seeing her have an extreme panic attack finally clued him in that something wasn’t right with her. If he had only listened to Don. It was from that point on that I started to like him, though. He realized that he screwed up and he owned it. He also got to know Millie. He realized that behind her façade was a woman who deserved every good thing that happened to her. And he was determined to make that happen. I don’t know how he held it together when he saw how Millie’s parents treated her. I would have said a lot more than what he did. By the end of the book, he realized what his mistake (read the book!!) was going to cost Millie and swooped in to rescue her. Well, him and Gammy. That’s when I loved him.

I detested Millie’s parents. I wanted to go into the book and drop kick both of them. They screwed Millie up so bad it wasn’t even funny. Because her father who he was, they were able to pay off children’s services, fire and rehire nannies and get teachers fired when abuse was mentioned. It made me see red. Then they wonder why Millie didn’t have anything to do with them. Also, to hang her grandmother over Millie’s head like they did was awful. I was glad when they both got what they deserved. The end of the book, though, did tug at my heartstrings. Not going to say what but her father realized what he was missing all these years.

The other secondary characters were wonderful and fleshed out the plot. I did think that the sudden change from disliking to liking Millie was a little much. Not everyone had to like her. Other than that, they were wonderful. I loved the strippers. They brought some much-needed humor into the book.!!

The first major plotline in Limits was Millie, her struggle with social anxiety and panic attacks and what was the cause of them. I liked how the author introduced them into the book. I also liked that the author didn’t gloss over them or make them go away once Pav was in the picture. She showed what it was like to live with panic attacks. She showed what it was like to live with social anxiety. She showed that some people need therapy to help with their issues and guess what, its OK. She showed the ugly, nasty side and I love her for it.

The second major plotline was Millie and Pav’s relationship. Pav had to work extra to show Millie that he cared for her. Millie had to work on letting Pav in and trusting him. There were mistakes made. Their relationship wasn’t perfect but they made it work. And I loved reading that. Like I said above, Millie deserved every bit of happiness that she got.

As with the secondary characters, the secondary plotlines did their jobs and kept the book going. From Millie’s Gammy to her parents’ political bid to the book club, they all added to the main storylines.

There is NO Instalove in this book. Pav and Millie’s relationship started with them being at odds with each other. The author had them build a friendship and then a relationship. I loved it!!! Of course, they had sex. There was sexual attraction but a big deal wasn’t made of it. Same with the sex scenes. When Pav and Millie had sex, it wasn’t graphic and sweet.

The romance angle of the book was understated until almost the end of the book. It was so understated that I almost missed it. But it was there.

The end of Limits was great. I loved that Millie’s parents got what was coming to them. I would have cheered but it was 11:30pm and everyone was sleeping so I did a fist pump instead. The epilogues (there were two) were fantastic. What happened in the first epilogue should have happened a long time ago. The second epilogue was bittersweet.

I gave Limits a 4-star rating. This book will tug at your heartstrings and it will make you cry while reading it. So, read with Kleenex or tissues nearby. The characters were relatable and I came to care for all but two of them.

I would give Limits an Adult rating. There is sex but it is not graphic. There is mild violence. There is language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book. There are trigger warning that comes with this book. They are anxiety, panic attacks, emotional abuse, child abuse.

I would reread Limits. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a note about the trigger warnings.

I would like to thank Susie Tate and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Limits.

All opinions stated in this review of Limits are mine.

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

Have you read Limits?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

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:

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











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**