Of Fear and Faith (Death and Destiny Trilogy: Book 1) by N.D. Jones

Of Fear and Faith [Death and Destiny Trilogy 1] (BookStrand Publishing Mainstream) by [Jones, N. D.]

Date of publication: December 12th,2014

Publisher: BookStrand Publishing

Where the book can be found: Amazon | Barnes and Nobles

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy

Series: Death and Destiny Trilogy

Book Synopsis:

A thriller of a paranormal romance with mystery, mythology, and suspense.

Before trust and love can take hold, grow solid roots, and blossom into a reality larger than self, fear must be conquered and faith embraced. Yet fear of an ancient prophecy, of burning magical power, and a broken heart, Sanura Williams, psychology professor, is unprepared when Special Agent Assefa Berber enters her life, hunting a preternatural serial killer. Assefa’s intelligent, chocolate eyes and intoxicating aura signature stirs her fire spirit but frightens the woman. 
 

 In a world where all is not as it seems, Sanura and Assefa must battle the gods’ first creations – vile predators who threaten the safety of humans. Each confrontation, each bloody clash, will bring Sanura and Assefa closer to fulfilling the prophecy of being the Fire Witch and Cat of Legend – the ones who will save humanity from the Water Witch of Legend. Death, godly magic, and physical attraction draw Sanura and Assefa to each other, but fear and faith will determine their destiny.

My review:

3 things I liked about Of Fear and Faith: 

  1. The characters. While I loved all the characters, Assefa and Sanura were my favorites. I liked that the author didn’t reveal everything about Assefa until midway through the book. Little hints here and there that kept you guessing but when she did reveal it, it was HUGE!!!
  2. New paranormal monsters. For some reason, this got me excited (I know, no life here). Usually, in these types of books, the author trots out your typical monster. Usually, a rogue vamp or were animals. But not here. Oh no, there are sirensRaven Mockerand Adze (I included the links in case people were wondering what they were). I was THRILLED about this. (again, no life here).
  3. The sex scenes. Talk about hot, hot, hot!!! The chemistry between Sanura and Assefa was out of this world and it translated to epic hot sex.

3 things I didn’t like about Of Fear and Faith:

  1. Sanura’s ex. He was a creep and came off as unpleasant. Not going to say too much about him. You need to read the book!!!
  2. Mike. He was so unpleasant at the beginning of the story that I couldn’t like him.
  3. Sanura’s reaction to Assefa’s big secret. Again, not going to give anything away but I felt that she was being a little over the top with her reaction.

How many stars will I give Of Fear and Faith? 5

Why? This was a very well written, well researched paranormal romance. You can’t help but get attached to the characters (even the not so nice ones!!!) and the sex scenes were out of this world.

Would I reread it? Yes

Would I recommend it to family and friends? Yes

Age level: Adult

Why? Very descriptive sex scenes and violence

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

The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker

The Ones by [Sweren-Becker, Daniel]

Date of publication: September 6, 2016

Where the book can be found: Amazon.

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Imprint

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Book synopsis:

We are not all created equal.

Seventeen-year-old Cody and her boyfriend, James, were two of the lucky ones randomly selected before birth to receive genetic engineering.

Known as the Ones, this one percent of the population is healthy, beautiful, and talented…and to some that’s not fair. Mounting fear and jealousy of the Ones’ success leads to the creation of the Equality Movement, which quickly gains enough political traction to demote Cody, James, and others like them to second-class citizens.

Cody knows even before the brick smashes through her window that it’s going to be bad. As their school, the American government, and even family and friends turn against them, Cody begins to believe they have no other choice but to protect their own. She draws closer to a group of radical Ones led by the passionate and fevered Kai, and James begins to question just how far she is willing to go for the cause…

Themes of justice, discrimination and terrorism mix with actual science to create a frightening version of our near future in Daniel Sweren-Becker’s pulse-pounding thriller.

My review:

3 things I liked about The Ones:

  1. Cody and James sweet romance. I am glad that the author spent the time to make their romance innocent and sweet. In the midst of their world going crazy, it was normal. And I loved it!!
  2. How realistic the plot was…for the most part. Take out the kids being genetically modified, insert current events and it makes it even more sinister to read.
  3. The family relationships showed in the book. The relationship James has with his family is so different than the one Cody has with her mother. It is sad. I would rather have a parent who wasn’t physically around than one who wasn’t there emotionally.

3 things I didn’t like about The Ones:

  1. James’s parents. I couldn’t stand them and I don’t know if the author wrote them to be unlikeable or not. They both rubbed me the wrong way. I know that the loss of a child does things to you. 
  2. The Equality Movement. They kinda remind me of the Nazi’s in a way. Their solution to what they think is a problem is to….well, you need to read the book. But I am serious when the group reminds me of the Nazi’s. Everything they stand for is wrong and unfortunately, they are gaining in power
  3. Kai’s group of friends. Kai and Taryn rubbed me the wrong way from the first time I met them. And the way the set about doing things. I don’t believe him for a minute about certain events that took place. Then Cody gets dragged even more into it and  it became a cluster.

How many stars will I give The Ones? 4 1/2

Why? The Ones was a very well written dystopian book. It had complex characters, a great romance and a couple of subplots that the author wrapped up about halfway through the book. I did get a little turned off by the torture chapters but I also understand that it is integral to the plot. The author also did a great job setting up for book 2.

Will I read it again? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range: Teen on up

Why? This was a very clean book. No sex (a few kisses were the most that were described) and no graphic violence.

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

Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

Afterward: A Novel by [Mathieu, Jennifer]

Date of publication: September 20th, 2016

Sites where the book can be found: Amazon

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Roaring Book Press

Genre: Young Adult

Book synopsis:

A tragic kidnapping leads to an unlikely friendship in this novel about finding light in the midst of darkness from the author of The Truth About Alice.

When Caroline’s little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can’t help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can’t see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend–and their best option just might be each other.

My review:

3 things I liked about Afterward:

  1. Ethan, Caroline and Dylan’s characters. I loved each of them and my heart broke for all 3 of them. They each handled the trauma of the kidnapping in different ways. We saw how Dylan handled his trauma through the eyes of Caroline.
  2. The storyline itself. Be ready for tears, starting from the first page. This was a hard book to read but I couldn’t help but be drawn into it. I felt that the author did a great job all around with the whole story.
  3. The ending. The book couldn’t have ended in a better way. Not going to give up the ending but it was powerful. It shows how much a person can heal in a year after a traumatic event.

3 things I disliked about Afterward:

  1. Caroline’s parents. OMG, I couldn’t stand reading about them whenever they came up. They blamed her for Dylan’s disappearance. They didn’t notice that she is hurting and taking it out by doing self-destructive things. They don’t get the help for Dylan that he needs after he is returned. I get that 75% of parents out there are like this. I get that the author wrote them to be the polar opposites of Ethan’s parents. They got under my skin big time. I wanted to smack her mom at one point in the book.
  2. Ethan’s flashbacks and anxiety attacks. I cried at his first flashback. Like put the book down and sobbed. And cried with each flashback that was revealed to his therapist. I cried at his anxiety attacks. Because as a person with moderate anxiety, I can tell you that what the author wrote was true. I had to do breathing exercises because his attacks were starting to trigger mine.
  3. When Ethan remembers his years of sexual abuse. That is something that you never like to read and I thought the author did a wonderful job of alluding to it. It was so tastefully done and wasn’t graphic at all.

There are a few links that the author included in her author’s note. They are:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The National Sexual Assault Hotline

RAINN

Autism Speaks

How many stars will I give Afterward? 5

Why? It was a beautifully written book about what happens after a child is found when kidnapped. Told from two different perspectives (the victim and a family member of the other kidnapped boy), it also tells the tale of two broken people finding each other and helping each other heal.

Would I reread it? Yes

Would I recommend it to family and friends? Yes

Age Range: Teen on up

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

Blood Tide (Aquarius Rising: Book 2) by Brian Burt

Blood Tide by [Burt, Brian]

Publisher: Double Dragon eBooks

Date of publication: August 7, 2015

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Book synopsis:

Megalops is an Aquarian, a human-dolphin hybrid who lives in one of the many reef-cities that thrive beneath the waves on an Earth ravaged by climate change. Some of the Humans who cling to the barren lands blame Aquarius for their plight and unleashed the Medusa Plague that entombed Megalops’s wife and daughter in stone. Tormented by that loss, Megalops dedicates everything to avenging his murdered family, no matter what the cost. He unleashes a Vendetta Virus as cruel and lethal as the Medusa Plague, a bio-weapon that transforms living Humans into Aquarian corpses.  Ocypode — one of the heroes who stopped the Medusa Plague — and his band of Human and Aquarian allies battle desperate odds to prevent Megalops from committing an act of genocide that will escalate into global conflict, dragging the Earth’s other humanoid species into the chaos. War demands sacrifice. If Mother Earth and Mother Ocean wage war against each other, will anyone survive?

My review:
 
This book is definitely not a standalone book. To understand what is going on you need to read the first book. While the author does explain in the 2nd book, it is not as detailed as the first one. I will include the link to the 1st book at the end of my review.
 
Now saying that I loved this book. Megalops does the unthinkable and the way it was written was so believable (of a dystopian/sci-fi book). Could you live with being the only member of your family alive plus being a survivor of a genocide without having some mental issues? I mean, he had to look up at his wife and daughter frozen on the Juno water tower. That’s enough to drive anyone insane.
 
But it doesn’t excuse what happens next and to be honest, that scene was gross. I get that it was a reverse birth and him doing that was crucial to the plot but still.
 
I loved that more time was given to Ocypode and Sapiens. I really liked their characters. I liked that Ocypode was instrumental in helping the Aquarian species.
 
There were a couple of twists in the book. One huge and the other not so huge. I called the not so huge one about halfway through the book. The huge one, though, did take me aback some and it did set up the 3rd book perfectly.
 
How many stars will I give Blood Tide? 3
 
Why? While it was a great 2nd book, I felt that more should have been explained about the Redeemers (mainly the ones that were pacifist and not wanting to kill everything), the other colonies AND the other humanoid lifeforms that were met by Ocypode. The ending also seemed a little forced, like the author had to make a deadline.
 
Will I recommend it to family and friends? Yes but with a warning to read the 1st book before reading this one
 
Will, I reread it? Yes
 
Age range? Adult on up. There are scenes of extreme violence and one suicide.
 
Where can I find this book? Amazon
 
Other books in series:  Aquarius Rising
 

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

Infomancy (Centenal Cycle: Book 1) by Malka Older

Infomocracy: Book One of the Centenal Cycle by [Older, Malka]

Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor.com

Date of publication: June 7th, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Book synopsis: 

It’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.

With power comes corruption. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party and get a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?

Infomocracy is Malka Older’s debut novel.

My review:

Imagine that one day, all the world governments decided to end all war and switch to a global government. And now, instead of countries and states, there are governments, each with their own rules. Now, imagine every 10 years, you have to vote for a new government. One of the local level and one on a global level. Also imagine that all the information is controlled by an all-encompassing search engine and is filtered to you.

Confusing, huh?

Well, it was confusing to read, to be honest. The backstory wasn’t explained until the middle of the book. Which wasn’t helpful because I kept thinking to myself “WTH” every chapter. But when it was explained, it made more sense. If the author had explained it better, in the beginning, there wouldn’t have been any confusion.

There was a huge pet peeve of mine in the book. The author did not give any warning when jumping from character to character. It got confusing at times.

Now saying all that, I did like the base storyline. It was good and I did like the chemistry between Ken and Mishima.

I did feel that the book was rushed in places and that some storylines that should have been delved into more. But that’s my opinion.

With the way that the book ended, I could see a 2nd book being written. Again, too many loose ends that weren’t tied up.

How many stars will I give Infomancy? 3 1/2

Why? While it was a great story, it jumped all over the place and I felt that there were too many sub-stories going on. Also, the backstory should have been explained at the beginning instead of the middle of the book.

Will I reread Infomancy? Maybe

Will I recommend it to family and friends? If they like cyberpunk stories, yes. Other than that, no.

Age range: Adult on up. There are sexual content and some violence.

Where to buy: Amazon

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

**Here**Deception Island (The Legionnaires: Book 1) by Brynn Kelly

Deception Island: An action-packed romantic suspense novel (The Legionnaires Book 1) by [Kelly, Brynn]

Publisher: Harlequin (US & Canada), HQN

Date of publication: May 31st, 2016

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller

Series: The Legionnaires

Book synopsis:

Rafe Angelito thought he was done with the demons from his past—until his son is kidnapped. Blackmailed into abducting an American heiress, the French Foreign Legionnaire soon finds himself trapped in paradise with a woman who’s nothing he expects…and
everything he desires. But when he uncovers her own dark secret, Rafe realizes he’s made a critical mistake—one that could cost him everything.  

Playing body double for a spoiled socialite was supposed to be Holly Ryan’s ticket to freedom. But when she’s snatched off her yacht by a tall, dark and dangerous stranger, the not-quite-reformed con artist will make a desperate play to turn her captor from enemy to ally, by any means necessary.  

Yet as scorching days melt into sultry nights, Holly is drawn to the mysterious capitaine, with his unexpected sense of honor and his searing touch. When they’re double-crossed, they’ll have to risk trusting each other in ways they never imagined…because in this deadly game of deception, it’s their lives—and hearts—on the line.

My review:

Oh my Lord, was this book good!!! Everything about it was gold. From Rafe’s background as a child soldier to Holly’s prison incarceration to the circumstances leading up to Rafe kidnapping Holly, it kept me reading until the book was finished. I finished this book in one sitting.

When I read a Harlequin book, I expect a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am“. I expect a novel with a hero who thinks he is a god, a heroine who can’t see beyond herself, lukewarm sex scenes and an insipid plot. Not with this book. The twists and turns of the plot, not knowing where it will take you, was fantastic. The sex scenes were HOT, HOT, HOT and did not take away from the plot at all.

As for the story, it sucks you in. For those of you who are parents, you know you would do ANYTHING to get your child back. Which is what Rafe does after finding out that his son is kidnapped by a person out of his past. The more you learn about Rafe and his past, the more your heart bleeds for him.

Holly’s story is as tragic but they don’t get into it until they are on the island. The only thing we know about her is that she is an ex-con. Who was approached by an US senator to impersonate his daughter on a sailing trip around the world. What the author reveals along the way explains why Holly is the way she is and again, it is heartbreaking.

I do like that the author chose child soldiers and human sex trafficking as subplots for the books. Both are heartbreaking and both need to be stopped. Look for links at the end of the review to see what you can do to help end both.

There is a huge twist at the end that took me by surprise. Like majorly huge and the author did a great job at not even dropping a freaking hint about it!!! Put it this way, I put the book down and said “Whoa” after the twist was revealed. That’s how big it was.

The ending was perfect. To be honest, if it ended any other way, I would have been disappointed.

How many stars will I give Deception Island? 5

Why? This book sucks you in from the first page and doesn’t let you go. You can’t help but get emotionally entangled in the characters lives. It is beautifully written and doesn’t skimp on the terrors that Rafe and Holly had to had to endure in their past and present. Plus the love story was really good too…lol.

Would I reread it? Yes

Would I recommend it to family and friends? Yes

Age Range? Adult only. Like I said above, the sex scenes are intense. Also, there are scenes of rape and extreme violence.

Where to find the book: Amazon 

Barnes and Nobles

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

In The Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite: Book 3) by Robert Dugoni

In the Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite Book 3) by [Dugoni, Robert]

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Date of publication: May 17th, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Suspense, Contemporary, Detective, Adult

Series: Tracy Crosswhite Series

The Academy—Book 0.25

Third Watch—Book 0.5

My Sister’s Grave—Book 1

Her Final Breath—Book 2

In the Clearing—Book 3

The Trapped Girl—Book 4

Close to Home—Book 5

A Steep Price—Book 6

A Cold Trail—Book 7

In Her Tracks—Book 8

The Last Line—Book 8.5

What She Found—Book 9

Purchase Links: Amazon |Audible

Goodreads synopsis:

Detective Tracy Crosswhite has a skill, and a soft spot, for tackling unsolved crimes. Having lost her own sister to murder at a young age, Tracy has dedicated her career to bringing justice and closure to the families and friends of victims of crime.

So when Jenny, a former police academy classmate, and protégé, asks Tracy to help solve a cold case that involves the suspicious suicide of a Native American high school girl forty years earlier, Tracy agrees. Following up on evidence Jenny’s detective father collected when he was the investigating deputy, Tracy probes one small town’s memory and finds dark, well-concealed secrets hidden within the community’s fabric. Can Tracy uphold the promise she’s made to the dead girl’s family and deliver the truth of what happened to their daughter? Or will she become the next victim?


My review:

Want a book that you can devour in one sitting? Then read In The Clearing. I was glued to this book and couldn’t put it down.

The storyline and sub storyline was fantastic. The author did a great job alternating between the cold case and the one that Tracy was working on. He did a fantastic job going between past and present and between different personas. That is something that I have issues with when reading books like this and the author nailed it. Also, the way he brought both cases together, in the end, was chilling. I actually got goosebumps from reading it.

I did figure out who killed Kimi about halfway through the book. It wasn’t like the author was hiding it. There were enough red herrings and what seemed like dead ends that when it was revealed, I was shocked. But there is a major twist that I didn’t see coming.

What surprised me the most about this book is that even though it is part of a series, you could read it alone. I do not read books out-of-order because sometimes characters intertwine from one book to another. Not this one. What goes on in the previous books stays in the previous books.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Faithful: A Novel by [Hoffman, Alice]

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date of publication: Feburary 9th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary, Magical Realism, Coming of Age, New York

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |Apple Books |WorldCat

Goodreads synopsis:

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.


My review:

I cried reading this book. Me, who is unemotional as a rock, cried while reading this book. The heartbreak that is portrayed is mind-numbing. But what rose from the ashes….well that was something special.

The writing was fantastic. I love a story where it draws you in and makes you feel for the character and this one does. I felt for Shelby. She was broken and she managed to piece herself together. Not perfect but perfect for her right then.

The ending wasn’t what I was expecting but it went well with the book.

First Mission Paris: In the City of Lights by Leone R. Giuliani

Book Cover

Publisher: 

Date of publication: March 22, 2016

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

When the news about a stolen list of Europol’s crucial undercover agents hits the global black market, the agency’s top man Enrico Moretti is sent to Paris to retrieve the list, minimize the damage and capture the traitor. Cliché? Maybe… But this young Italian isn’t James Bond – he doesn’t know much about fighting, chasing, or killing. But he knows something about seducing. And gambling. And drinking. And being a former police negotiator, most of all: storytelling. So when he gets a proper cover story, unlimited amount of money to spend in the City of Lights, and teams up with a beautiful but dangerous black-haired girl and tough guys from Balkan’s underground, his lifetime mission can begin…

If you consider the world of super-spy heroes too fictional and deep foreign policy studies too boring, but you do love mystery, thriller, and suspense, you’ll read this novel in one night – with a sip of wine and a midnight saxophone. Just let this vagabond show you around – let him be your travel guide, maybe a whole new Paris will emerge. And who knows, if you end up improving your poker strategy, learn something useful about practical police psychology or increase your ability to talk your way out of trouble when necessary, you won’t blame him for that.


My review:

This book reminded me of a James Bond novel. Except Enrico Moretti wasn’t James Bond. Well, he wasn’t anything but a playboy.

I did enjoy reading this book. The whole spy storyline was fascinating to me. I grew up on James Bond and every time I read a spy novel, Sean Connery’s face comes to mind. Haha.

It was a very fast-paced book with twists and turns around every page. I did like that Enrico was a player/horndog. I did like that he got served by The Black Cat. But, he got the job done and in grand fashion.

The ending of the book was great. The twist that was there I didn’t see coming (and I am good at figuring them out).

Predators of Eden (Horizon Alpha: Book 1) by D.W. Vogel

Horizon Alpha: Predators of Eden by [Vogel, D. W.]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of Publication: May 19, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Dinosaurs, Adventure, Young Adult, Space Opera, Action, Thriller

Series: Horizon Alpha

High Wire—Book 0.5

Predators of Eden—Book 1

Transport Seventeen—Book 2

Homecoming—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |B&N |Kobo |Google Play

Goodreads synopsis:

We never would have come here if we’d known.

Two hundred years ago, the great Ark Horizon Alpha escaped a doomed Earth and went searching for a new home. The passengers landed on Teu Ceti e expecting paradise, but instead, they discovered a planet stuck in its own version of the cretaceous period. The humans’ one defense against the dinosaurs ravaging the planet is an electric fence, built from the remains of the shuttles that brought them there.

But Eden’s base has only days of power left.

With most of the adult men dead, rookie soldier Caleb Wilde and his unit of teenage boys leave the electric fences of Eden in search of a reactor core lost deep in the jungle.

The last remnant of the human race waits behind the electric fence for their return. The dinosaurs wait, too–for the electricity to die and the feast to begin.


My review:

This book was fantastic!!! I don’t like sci-fi with dinosaurs in the book. The one book that I read that used them as antagonists went WAY overboard. It killed my enthusiasm for reading any books of the same.

Well, I am happy to say that this book has righted the wrongs of the other book. From the beginning, when Caleb tells about what happened to Earth, the 2 centuries of traveling throughout space and the accident that fragmented the population of the spaceship onto the new planet (Teu Ceti), and the frightening discovery that the new settlers made, drew me right into the story.

The author makes you feel the excitement and dread of Caleb going on his first mission. Then the terror of the crash and the exhaustion of trekking cross-country to Eden base and losing unit members to the dinosaurs. I actually had nightmares about the descriptions of the T Rex and the other dinosaurs.

I will say that I loved the 2 twists in the story. One, I should have seen coming from a mile away, I am good at guessing things like that, but I didn’t. The other one, near the end of the book, well, to be honest, it made me want to cry. Very poignant.