book review · Non ARC · Self published

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!!!

ARC · NetGalley · Self published

Limits by Susie Tate

Limits

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!!!

Alban Lake Publishing · ARC · book review · Del Ray · Forever · Grand Central Publishing · Loveswept · NetGalley · Non ARC · Polis Books · Random House Publishing Group · Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine · Self published · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press

WWW Wednesday: October 17th, 2018

 

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What’s going on with me this past week:

A whole bunch.

Personal: I am currently not on speaking terms with my across the street neighbor. Miss B decided that she was not going to turn in ANY of her homework. Which resulted in her failing two classes and be close to failing her other two. So, I had a meeting with her teachers this morning to see what we could do about it. Michael swept through the area, canceling Miss R’s field trip to the apple orchard and causing flash flood warnings. Mr. Z had a field trip to the local science center the day Michael swept through. I need to say this “I hate rain!!!

Reading: I have fallen behind with reviews and reading. Not by much and I hope to catch up over the weekend. I finally read Limits and it is a tear jerker. You definitely need a box of Kleenex when reading this book. It was totally not what I thought it was going to be.


What I am currently reading:

The Corner of Holly and Ivy: A feel-good Christmas romance

click on the picture for Amazon link

Sometimes love is just around the corner . . .

With her dreams of being a wedding dress designer suddenly over, Arianna Bell isn’t expecting a holly jolly Christmas. Instead, her heart feels about three sizes too small. That is until her high school sweetheart Connor Gallagher returns to town and she finds his mere presence still makes her pulse race. But just when she starts dreaming of kissing under the mistletoe, he announces that he will be her opponent in the upcoming mayoral race….

Hot-shot attorney Connor Gallagher has something to prove. He’s tired of playing runner-up to his high-achieving brothers. So when the opportunity to enter the campaign comes up, he takes it. Even if it means running against the only woman he’s ever loved. But with a little help from Harmony Harbor’s local matchmakers and a lot of holiday cheer, Connor and Arianna may just get the happy ever after they both deserve.


What I finished reading:

Limits

Click on the picture for Amazon link

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 encountered 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?

This book is a full-length contemporary romance of approximately 90,000 words with no cliffhanger and its own HEA. 


What I am reading next (click on the pictures for Amazon links):

Until We Are Free (Until #1)

Nyl Jayms is tasked with kidnaping the Elder princess, to force her brother, the king, to negotiate with humans. The alternative is a war that could lead to the annihilation of both humans and Elders.

A Rider Council faction, led by Nyl’s father, is opposed to any negotiations. They will do anything, including sabotaging his assignment, to trigger a war.

Nyl and his team have to outsmart the king’s elite Royal Guard, to get to the princess, and somehow stay one step ahead of the faction opposed to negotiations. Everyone will be forced to re-evaluate ideology they were raised with, as an impending war looms ever closer.

Join these elite rebel warriors on a journey of war, betrayal, and political scheming, in Until We Are Free. In this debut novel from TM Blayte, faces of friends, family, allies and enemies will blur. Loyalties will be tested, until the determination to be free becomes the only thing that matters. After all, does one person’s freedom mean another person’s oppression?

Big Stick (Aces Hockey, #7)

A brooding hockey hunk learns to embrace life—and love—from a single mom who takes the world one puck at a time.

Big move . . . Jodie’s motto is “Don’t wait for the perfect moment – take the moment and make it perfect.” And that’s just what she decides to do when she moves to Chicago with her two-year-old daughter. Now all Jodie needs is a place to live, and her best friend’s boyfriend has just the answer.

Big stick . . . Nick Balachov has zero interest in socializing, partying, or flirting right now. It’s not that he doesn’t like women. He loves them. It’s just that hockey, casual hookups, and hanging out at home are enough for him these days. Now Nick has a big problem – because the woman living in his empty coach house is a major distraction.

Big deal? The more Nick tries to keep his distance, the more Jodie needs him – around the house, that is. First he helps with the snowstorm, then the power outage. Nick even finds himself trying to impress her little girl. What the hell is wrong with him? Jodie represents everything Nick doesn’t want. But maybe she’s just what he needs. . . .

Sleepover

A brand-new contemporary romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Head Over Heels.

Elle and Sawyer just look so happy. Which is, of course, exactly how they end up.

But it’s not an easy trip.

It was just supposed to be once.

It was just supposed to be sex.

But now they’re next-door neighbors. And before they can put up their fences—or defenses—their eight-year-old sons have forged an unstoppable friendship.

They’re still reeling—Elle, from a Facebook message she was never supposed to see, Sawyer, from the kind of death it’s hard to live through. A relationship seems like a terrible idea. So they make a deal. One more blazing hot night, at Elle’s ex-husband’s wedding.

You know, because the “just once” thing has worked out so well for them …

Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold, #2)

An action-packed, compelling historical fantasy, from the pen of an award-winning author

The battle-scarred warrior princess Bluebell, heir to her father’s throne, is rumoured to be unkillable. So when she learns of a sword wrought specifically to slay her by the fearsome raven king, Hakon, she sets out on a journey to find it before it finds her. The sword is rumoured to be in the possession of one of her four younger sisters. But which one? Scattered as they are across the kingdoms, she sets out on a journey to find them.

Her four sisters all have their own paths to tread, the gifted magician Ash is on a journey to find a dragon that could determine her destiny. The beautiful, unhappy Rose has left her undermagician Aunt and is speeding to the aid of her daughter, Rowan, who has been lost to her. Ivy, sold into marriage for the sake of an alliance, is now set to become the ruling Duchess of Seacaster with the imminent death of her much older and sick husband, and the power-hungry Willow is raising her infant child as a potential trimartyr king and training to be a warrior for the fanatical religious order Maava.

From wild rocky coastline to granite-topped tors, from bustling harbours to echoing ghost towns, from halls of kings to ancient primal woodlands, this story follows five sisters upon whose actions kingdoms will rise and fall.

Dragonfire (Dark Kings, #14)

Passion burns hot in Dragonfire, the next Dark Kings novel from New York Times bestseller Donna Grant. 

It was a soul-deep longing, one that got into his bones and settled there, sending whispers of desire through him. The need, the hunger, grew tenfold with every breath. . . .

As a Dragon King, Roman is sworn to protect all mortals–even though they no longer believe in dragons. But deep in the Carpathian Mountains, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious gypsy who possesses the power to see into his very soul. To reignite the fire in his heart. And to help him find the long-lost sword that could save the dragons forever…

Sabina remembers the stories her grandmother told her. Legends of dragons and kings, fire and ice. And she’s never forgotten the dark prophecy that filled her ancestors with fear–a fate they tried to prevent by stealing a Dragon King’s sword. Sabina knows that helping Roman is dangerous. He is a dragon betrayed, and more powerful than any man. He could destroy her in a single fiery embrace. But how can she resist the longing in his eyes–or the feelings in her heart–when their destinies are bound by desire?

What About Us (Panic, #4)

Irresistible beats and tantalizing bodies heat up the night at South Beach’s most scandalous new club.

Alex: I hate doing business in clubs. Especially one like Duality. I’m here to seal a deal, not indulge in whatever hedonistic illusion they’re selling. Until, through all the skin and sex on display, I see her. Helen Blackwood. The girl who once filled my youthful fantasies, whose name is now synonymous with pain. Her father’s lies destroyed my family, leaving me with nothing to lose. And yet I can’t deny my electric response to her touch . . . or my urge to protect her when I see the bruise on her face.

Helen: Growing up, life prepared me for society galas and powerful men, not minimum-wage jobs or drunk exes with anger issues. But I’m a survivor. So here I am, practically naked, serving drinks at a Miami nightclub. I don’t mind the stares. Apparently, Alex Archer does. After twelve years, we aren’t exactly friends, but money is something we both understand. Something he knows I need. I’ll be his personal assistant, even if it means working with the man I hate . . . and the man I still want.

No cheating. No cliffhangers. And no dress code.

Black Diamond Fall

From the acclaimed author of CLARA’S HEART and CLOUDLAND comes a rich, literary mystery based and united by two real events that occurred at Middlebury College; the disappearance of a student during winter break; and the vandalism of the Robert Frost Homestead located on one of the outer campuses.

Luc Flanders has just finished playing a game of pond hockey with his college roommates when he realizes he has lost something precious and goes back to the ice to find it. He never returns, and the police department in Middlebury, Vermont are divided in their assessment of what may have happened to him. Some feel that Flanders left on his own accord and is deliberately out of touch. Others, including detectives Nick Jenkins and Helen Kennedy, suspect that harm may have come to him. As the search for Luc Flanders widens and intensifies, suspicions about several different people, including his Middlebury College roommates and ex-girlfriend arise. Unfortunately, Sam Solomon an older man with whom Luc has been having a secret relationship, cannot prove his whereabouts during the hours when the younger man may have disappeared and Solomon, too, comes under suspicion.

BLACK DIAMOND FALL is at once a lush, evocative literary novel, a portrait of love between a younger and older man, and a riveting mystery that could only come from the mind of acclaimed writer Joseph Olshan.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

book review · Non ARC · Self published

Throwback Thursday: September 20th 2018

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This week’s Throwback Thursday is a paranormal romance:

 

My Lady Vampire - Book One (My Lady Vampire, #1)

click on the picture for Goodreads link.

She’s everything a man could want, with fiery hair and midnight eyes. The only thing she’s missing is a soul. Beneath her sexual allure is a storm of shadowed desire, where her touch inflames, and her kiss? It’s death. When she mistakenly leaves one young man barely alive, it leads to a life-affirming passion – and the first battle of good against evil. It won’t be the last either…

Where you can find My Lady Vampire: Well this is a first. The book is no longer in publication.


Have you read My Lady Vampire?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

book review · Non ARC · Self published

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.

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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

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.

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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**

book review · NetGalley · Non ARC · Self published

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**

book review · Non ARC · Self published

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**