The Diseased (Paige Hanson: Book 1) by S. M. Thomas

Publisher: A.R. Hurne Publishing

Date of publication: September 2nd, 2022

Genre: Dystopia, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Series: Paige Hanson

The Diseased—Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo

Goodreads Synopsis:

Where is your husband?

Since waking up from the accident Dr Paige Hanson has been asked that question over and over. By the hospital staff, by her mother in law and by Government officials.

As she struggles to grasp the wisps of memory returning to her Paige learns that there’s more at stake than Leo’s whereabouts.

Turning towards the teachings of the one person she swore never to become she begins to realise that some questions are best left unanswered.


First Line:

“We were drowning. That’s the last thing I remember.”

The Diseased by S.M. Thomas

I like books that keep me guessing what will happen as I read. I also like books that do not fit into what you think a specific genre would be like (if that makes sense). But, most of all, I like books that suck me in, don’t let me go, and make me want more after the ending. Those reasons are precisely what The Diseased did to me as I read it.

The Diseased is the first book in the Paige Hanson series. And what a first book it was!! Seeing that it is the first book, I won’t tell you if you need to read the series first or if it is a standalone.

The Diseased is the story of Dr. Paige Hanson and the mystery of what happened to her husband the night their car drove into a lake. Paige has very fuzzy recollections of what happened and almost none of what led to the accident. Paige, a brilliant scientist, is released from the hospital only to be kept under surveillance at all times. What happened that night? What are Paige’s secrets? Paige realizes she isn’t the only one keeping secrets, but her secrets could kill her.

Paige was a highly complex character which, in my eyes, meant she was complicated to get to know and like. There were several different sides of Paige that were gradually introduced. They were: Paige the scientist; Paige the mother; Paige the wife; Paige the daughter-in-law; Paige the friend; and Paige the daughter/child. The author did a fantastic job of building up each side of Paige and then merging them towards the end of the book. At first, I wasn’t her biggest fan, but the author was able to change my mind about her during the book.

What surprised me the most about this book is that it doesn’t take place on Earth. Nope, the entire story takes place on a planet called Earth 2. There was a disaster on Earth 1, and a lottery was set up to select people to travel to Earth 2. Paige’s mother was one of those who had won the lottery. Nothing else was mentioned about the original Earth, except that it was burning. I figured everyone else died. The new planet was very similar to Earth 1, except there were already intelligent, human-like creatures who occupied it. Those creatures kindly allowed the settlers to build settlements. But, humans doing what they do best and started abusing the original lifeforms, which struck back. When the book begins (about 50 or so years after touching down), there is an uneasy peace. This information was told by Paige, remembering what her mother-in-law and mother had told her about her journey from Earth 1.

I wasn’t surprised by how the ruling government was. The original leaders of Earth 2 decided they didn’t want what happened on Earth 1 to happen again. They decided to remove the settlers’ customs and fundamental rights to make a more cohesive and obedient population. I was terrified and fascinated as I read this book.

I wish the author had gone more into Earth 2’s original occupants. All I knew was that they were human-like, could procreate with humans, and were pissed about what the settlers were doing. There was mention of an influential family with which Paige’s mother was involved, but that was it. Hopefully, in the next book, the author will explain more.

The mystery angle of The Diseased was well written. The author had a stranglehold on where Leo was and why they ended up in the lake. Her remembering those events was terrific and shed so much light on everything!!

The suspense and thriller angles of the book were just as well written. The author kept me in suspense about various plotlines (main and sub) that were going on throughout the book.

The storyline with Regina, Paige, and Franklin was very intense. As a mother, I could see both sides of the coin. I could see why Regina was pushing Paige to remember, and I could also see why Paige was protective of Franklin. Of course, a massive twist in that storyline took me by surprise. It made me rethink Regina (I was not too fond of her actions over most of the book).

The storyline with Paige, Leo, and the mystery of what happened that night was one of the most amazing ones I have read. The author kept me guessing about what happened to Leo and why Paige was driving. She let little details trickle down, gave slight hints, and got everything under wraps. So, when the author revealed everything, I was surprised.

The storyline with the pandemic and Paige hit a little too close to home for me. I did like seeing Paige’s process to develop a vaccine, but at the same time, I kept flashing back to quarantine.

The storyline with Paige and her mother was raw and difficult to read. It was tough to read because of Paige’s emotions. I could see how torn she was between wanting to have a relationship with her mother and, at the same time, she wanted to denounce her. I liked seeing her eventual realization that maybe her mother was on to something and waiting for her mother to do something at the trial.

The end of The Diseased was interesting. I was a little miffed that it ended on a cliffhanger, but it did its job!! I say that because of where Paige ended up and what she did after talking to her friends. I need to read book two and see where Paige goes next.

I would recommend The Diseased to anyone over 21. There are no overtly sexual scenes. But there is violence and language. There are scenes where a baby drowns, a man gets hanged, and another man is forced to denounce his sexuality.

Black Tide by K.C. Jones

Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire

Date of publication: May 31st, 2022

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Thriller, Dystopia, Speculative Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

It was just another day at the beach. Then the world ended.

Mike and Beth were strangers before the night of the meteor shower. Chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more.

Following their drunken and desperate one-night stand, the two discover the astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying.

When a lost car key leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for their car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.


First Line:

My mom once accused me of being a human car wreck, I laughed in her face when she said it.

Black Tide by K.C. Jones

Black Tide was the first in a series of books I had seen on other blogs that I wanted to read. So, like everyone else, I added it to Goodreads and prayed to the book gods that I got an invite. The book gods blessed me because I got every single book I had put on my Want to Read list. I was pretty stoked about getting it and couldn’t wait to read it. I am glad I did because this book scared the everliving out of me!!

Black Tide is a fast-moving horror story on the Oregon coast. Beth is a woman who has gone through a lot but is turning her life around. She is pet sitting for a wealthy couple and enjoying it. Then one night, she meets Mike. Mike owns the house next door and is a bit of a mystery. When Beth sees him drinking champagne on the deck of his house, she invites herself over. That turns into a drunken one-night stand with Beth having a strange, almost vivid dream and Mike witnessing a meteor shower like none he had seen before. When Beth wakes up, Mike is on the beach with Jake (the dog she is pet sitting), and Mike has disturbing news. There is no power, and he cannot get a hold of anyone over the phone. He also has a strange pod on the beach that turned up (along with several others). Deciding to leave and try to find a person of authority who knows what is going on, they drive until they find a bunch of people parked on the beach and the road. What happens next is almost unbelievable, and Beth drops the keys to the car in a rush to get out—stranded and with high tide coming in, Mike and Beth need to figure something out fast before they end up like the people with them on the beach. What happened on the beach? Will they get out? Will they find out what happened?

I very rarely get frightened by books. I lost the ability to do that when I read The Stand and It in middle school (I was a precocious reader). But this book scared the ever living out of me. But, at the same time, while I was scared to death, I also couldn’t put it down. I 100% attribute that to the author keeping me hooked and wanting to see if Mike, Beth, and Jake (along with another person who appears later in the book) would get out alive. I was left feeling breathless during certain scenes. The author also ramped up my anxiety.

I could relate to Beth on certain levels. Who hasn’t felt like a car accident waiting to happen during specific points in their life? Who hasn’t hit rock bottom and has to claw their way out? I know I have. I loved seeing her character grow. She went from being this self-absorbed drunk to a woman willing to do whatever it took to get out of her situation.

I wasn’t too sure about Mike when he was introduced. I kept feeling that he was hiding something (which he was, and it was very sad when it was revealed). But his character also transformed throughout Black Tide. He was pulled out of his depression and realized his life was worth living. I thought he was perfect for Beth, and he complimented her towards the end of the book.

The author very well wrote the horror angle of Black Tide. During the scenes in the car (while the tide was creeping in), I did get some Cujo-like vibes. That didn’t take away from how much I liked the book. Instead, it added to it. And as I said above, the author stoked my anxiety during pivotal scenes.

The science fiction angle of the book was well written also. I loved the imagination the author had with the aliens. They were so monstrous that I had no issue imagining them in my head (which added to my anxiety).

The end of Black Tide left me with conflicting emotions. I was upset over some things, but I understood why they happened. But at the same time, I was overjoyed over other things. I was also sad because of what they realized after leaving the beach. The book didn’t end with a HEA. Instead, without going much into it, I left the book feeling pessimistic about Beth and Mike’s future.

I would recommend Black Tide to anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and nongraphic sex/sexual situations.

The Paradise Tree (Pirates and Puritans: Book 3) by R.A. Denny

Publisher: Mesmeringa Press

Date of Publication: March 10th, 2022

Series: Pirates and Puritans

The Alchemy Thief—Book 1 (review here)

The Sultan’s Court—Book 2 (review here)

The Paradise Tree—Book 3

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopia, Time Travel

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome to Paradise. Daniel’s alchemy has hurtled them 112 years into the future where a mysterious tree-shaped structure rises into the Moroccan sky. Generations have passed, but a culture grounded in ancient Yoruba traditions has sprung up.

Peri must choose between trusting the friendly strangers she meets and following Ayoub, the terrorist-turned-pirate, into the unknown. She fights to keep her family together, but her faith is shaken. Nothing is as it seems.

Caught between two warring factions, the YUS with brain chips and the Natural Resistance Force, Peri must search within herself to discover what truly makes life worth living. How much is she willing to sacrifice for paradise?


First Line:

At the sound of the knock, Peri’s father was filled with both hope and dread.

the paradise tree by r.a. denny

I was surprised and excited when I got the invite to read/review The Paradise Tree. I wondered when the 3rd and final book would be published and was hoping that I would get the invite. I had also hyped this book up in my mind. Well, The Paradise Tree lived up to that hype. I loved reading it (even if it did scare me in some places).

The Paradise Tree is the 3rd book in the Pirates and Puritans series. Readers cannot read this book as a standalone. If you read the books out of order, you will be confused. It will help if you read The Alchemy Thief and The Sultan’s Court to understand Ayoub, Peri, Mya, and Daniel’s backstory.

The Paradise Tree was an exciting book to read. It starts almost immediately after the events of The Sultan’s Court. Peri, Daniel, Mya, and Ayoub have traveled 112 years into the future. Thinking it would be a sanctuary from the people they escaped from in the present, they soon find the future is much more dangerous. The group is separated, Ayoub trekking to the distant mountains and meeting a woman connected with a group called the NRF, and the other three being picked up by a group called the YUS. The group soon finds itself in a struggle between oppression and freedom.

There are 3; sometimes 4, POVs in The Paradise Tree. The main POVs are Ayoub and Peri’s, with Daniel breaking in occasionally and Mya having a chapter or two to flush out more of the YUS’s plotline. The alternating POVs gave great insight into how each faction worked. It also provided insight into how each society was (if that makes sense). Usually, I wouldn’t say I like it when the book constantly switches back and forth between numerous people, but in this case, it worked.

Ayoub had some character growth in The Paradise Tree. Mainly, it centered around his relationships with Salima and her children. He morphed from only caring about himself to accepting responsibility for her and her children. He also came to terms with everything that had happened to him as a child. But, the biggest surprise was when he went to rescue Peri and Daniel. I didn’t think he would do it, to be honest. But seeing Mya and hearing about what was going on in The Paradise Tree spurred him on.

I felt a connection with Peri during her storyline. She was a middle-aged woman who was introduced to new technology. I laughed out loud during the scenes when she learned how to control (and talk) with her chip. The whole broadcasting of her thoughts to others was hilarious. I also got her wanting to see Daniel and Mya and her devastation when she wasn’t allowed.

Daniel was the real MVP of the book. He got what was going on fairly early in the book, and he actively found ways to get around the chip. I had a feeling what happened to him was going to happen around the middle of the book, but I was still surprised.

The secondary character added depth to The Paradise Tree. Each character, no matter how small, was essential to the plotline.

The science fiction angle of The Paradise Tree was well written. Time travel was mentioned throughout the book, along with ball lighting. The author did a great job of explaining how time travel was commonplace.

The dystopia angle of The Paradise Tree was scary. I had no issue imagining our society inventing a chip that would allow inner thought speaking and that monitored our bodily needs. I could also see plastic surgery as painless as described. I can also see egg harvesting and having genetically modified children happening. But the scariest thing to me was the split in society (one who wants total control and the other free will). That is part of what made the book so enjoyable to read.

The author did wrap up almost all of the storylines during this book, even from previous books. One storyline was left open, and I am curious to see if the author writes books about it. It was nice to see karma happen to the main bad guy in the first two books. I had a feeling who the Oba was when Busi had Peri in her rooms.

The end of The Paradise Tree was a little bittersweet. I can’t go into why I say that, but I did get teary eyes during the last couple of chapters of the book.

I would recommend The Paradise Tree to anyone over 21. There are violence and sexual themes. There is no language.

The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: February 1st, 2022

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Suspense

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | iTunes | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

A mysterious plague that causes random bouts of violence is sweeping the nation. Now three generations of women must navigate their chilling new reality in this moving exploration of identity, cycles of abuse, and hope.

Chelsea Martin appears to be the perfect housewife: married to her high school sweetheart, the mother of two daughters, keeper of an immaculate home.

But Chelsea’s husband has turned their home into a prison; he has been abusing her for years, cutting off her independence, autonomy, and support. She has nowhere to turn, not even to her narcissistic mother, Patricia, who is more concerned with maintaining the appearance of an ideal family than she is with her daughter’s actual well-being. And Chelsea is worried that her daughters will be trapped just as she is–until a mysterious illness sweeps the nation.

Known as The Violence, this illness causes the infected to experience sudden, explosive bouts of animalistic rage and attack anyone in their path. But for Chelsea, the chaos and confusion the virus causes is an opportunity–and inspires a plan to liberate herself from her abuser.


First Line:

The first recorded incidence of the Violence occurred as Ruth Belmont of Land O’Lakes, Florida, was putting a tub of mayonnaise in her cart at a warehouse store on Tuesday, April 15th, 2025.

the violence by delilah s dawson

When I read the blurb for The Violence, I was instantly intrigued. But, I was also a little hesitant to read it. I was intrigued by the last few books that I did not like. So, keeping that in mind, I dove into The Violence. To say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I loved this book!!

The Violence is a dystopia set in 2025 Florida. In this world, we have learned to live with COVID and adapted our lives around it. Life has gotten back to normal when news reports start talking about people randomly attacking and killing people. These random attacks soon become commonplace, and a new pandemic is announced. As with the COVID pandemic, its seriousness is downplayed until it is out of control.

The Violence centers around three people and follows them from the pandemic’s start to the end. Chelsea is a stay-at-home mother trapped in an abusive marriage. She dreams of getting out and saving her girls but can’t because her husband would destroy her. So, when The Violence starts, Chelsea uses that to her advantage. Ella is Chelsea’s seventeen-year-old daughter who has witnessed her mother’s abuse for years. She is caught up in an abusive relationship herself but breaks it off when her abuser is caught on camera (and in a public place) beating on her. Patricia is Chelsea’s narcissist mother. She is more concerned with maintaining appearances than helping her daughter and granddaughters escape their abuser. The Violence brings them together unexpectedly, but it also tears them apart. With Chelsea on the run, Ella looking for her, it is up to Patricia to keep Brooklyn safe. But who will keep Patricia safe? And will Chelsea ever get free from her ex? Will Ella find her mother before her father does? What happens when everything comes to a head?

The Violence had a lightening fast storyline. I had zero issues keeping up with how fast the storyline went. Surprisingly, there is no lag. This story didn’t stop. Put it this way, I read it in one night; that’s how fast it went.

Before I get deeper into the review, I want to give everyone a trigger warning heads-up. This book is graphically violent (hence the title). The author doesn’t hold any punches when infected people storm (when they blackout and kill people). She also doesn’t hold back during the abuse scenes. At the beginning of the book, there is a forward explaining why she wrote those scenes the way she did. But still didn’t prepare me for how graphic those scenes were. There is also scenes of verbal abuse (Patricia remembering calling toddler Chelsea stupid stuck out to me), sexual abuse (Chelsea getting raped by David), emotional abuse (Hayden telling Ella he was going to kill himself if she didn’t respond to his text), and animal abuse (David kicking the family dog every time he saw him and that awful scene when Chelsea blacked out). Those examples are only scratching the surface of this book. So read with caution if any of these triggers you.

I loved and pitied Chelsea. I hate to say it, but the way her mother treated her growing up paved the way for her to be in an abusive relationship with David. My heart broke for her during those first few scenes when David choked her. The author made me feel the horror and desperation she went through. I did think she was genius for her plan to get David taken away, and Ella’s 911 call only cemented it. But it was a short-lived plan, and she was getting threatened by David’s friends (one a lawyer and one a cop). When she ended up getting The Violence, she did what any mother would do, she shut herself away, and when she got word that her ex was coming home, she ran to her mother. But, it was what happened after she left the girls at her mother’s. I was equally shouting “Yas girl” and cringing at what she was doing. The name Florida Woman will forever be associated with her.

My heart broke for Ella. She was such a broken child, and I wanted to spirit her away from her family. She had no safe space for her to decompress. Instead, she went from school (where her friends and abusive boyfriend were) to home, where she had to worry about her father potentially killing her mother. She also was tasked with keeping her 5-year-old sister safe and away from her father at night. That meant locking herself and Brooklyn in her room at night. But, that all changed when her father was arrested, and her mother got The Violence. Ella became Brooklyn’s parent. I didn’t blame her for getting angry when Chelsea decided (after finding out that David was getting out of jail) to move them to Patricia’s. I also didn’t blame her for leaving to find Chelsea because Patricia was awful. It showed how much she had grown. But, it was when she stumbled upon the RV and got hooked up with the scientists that she started to blossom. She became that strong, independent girl that she should have been from the start.

I was not too fond of Patricia. OMG, I wanted to go into the book and strangle her at points. She was one of the more awful people that I have ever read. The way she ignored Chelsea’s bruises and how she talked to Chelsea was horrible. Everything was about appearances to her. But, as her backstory was revealed, I did start to feel sorry for her. Her abusive childhood and rape (which resulted in Chelsea) shaped her. She modeled the only behavior that she knew, verbal and emotional abuse. When she took in Ella and Brooklyn, I could see cracks in her facade. And when she was left to care for Brooklyn, those cracks became bigger and bigger. Her character growth and transformation was one of the more surprising ones I read. I loved how she ended up.

Brooklyn was adorable. I was so surprised that she wasn’t more traumatized. I mean, she witnessed her father almost killing her mother. She was uprooted from her house and lived with her grandmother, who was distant and cold. Then, Ella, her protector, leaves. Instead of acting out, having tantrums, or regressing, she remained normal. The only sign the author gave that she had been traumatized was the nightmares she had while sleeping in Patricia’s closet. My heart (and Patricia’s) broke when I realized who she was talking about and what. But other than that, there was nothing.

The secondary characters did round out the book. They all added an extra depth that the book needed.

The horror angle was well written. As I mentioned above, there was a lot of gore and violence associated with this book. The author got in-depth with the gore. I did think certain scenes could have been toned down, but then they wouldn’t have had the punch that they did.

The mystery angle was also very well written. I couldn’t figure out what would happen next in the book. After a certain point, I couldn’t figure out if everyone would come together and when.

The end of The Violence was, well, violent. I will not say much about it except that David got what was coming to him. I also liked the epilogue, showing where everyone was. It gave me hope for all the characters.

I would recommend The Violence for anyone over 21. There is graphic violence, language, and graphic accounts of sexual assault.

Heir of Blood and Secrets by Linda Xia

Book Cover

Publisher: New Degree Press

Date of Publication: August 24th, 2021

Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Young Adult

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Goodreads Synopsis:

“We’re all complicit in things we regret. Sometimes, we just do what we must.”

In the city-state of Devovea, behind the walls of the Castle, Scylla Delevan waits for a chance to prove herself. When a Magistrate is murdered and her father stands accused of the crime, she eagerly sets out to prove his innocence. As she races to find the real killer before it is too late, she begins to unearth dangerous secrets that could throw the fragile balance of her city into chaos. In too deep to turn back, Scylla is forced to question all she has ever known and choose between what is expected of her and what is right.

Family loyalty and personal beliefs collide as Scylla navigates a dystopian world divided by race and gender. Heir of Blood and Secrets will challenge you to consider how far you are willing to go—and what you are willing to sacrifice—to forge a better world.


First Line:

“So this is what hell looks like.”

heir of blood and secrets by linda xia

I am a massive fan of YA. I am also a huge fan of dystopia. So when the author approached me to read/review Heir of Blood and Secrets, I jumped on it. Why wouldn’t I? They are two of my favorite genres. But, as I started to read this book, I was also surprised to find out that the author added a mystery. All three combined made for an exciting book that kept my attention.

Heir of Blood and Secrets had an intriguing plotline. Scylla (pronounced sky-la) is the only daughter of a Magistrate in the city of Devovea. As the sole heir to the Magistrate, Scylla is expected to attend events where her father mingles with other Magistrates and the wealthy. At one of these events, another Magistrate is murdered, and Scylla’s father is arrested for doing it. Confident of his innocence, Scylla has a limited time to prove his innocence. But, as she follows leads, Scylla finds a lot more than her father’s innocence at stake. Can Scylla prove his innocence and keep the secrets she has learned from getting out? Or will she be destined to lose her father and destroy her home?

Heir of Blood and Secrets was a fast-paced book. Considering that it takes place over three-four days, I wasn’t surprised by the pacing. There was a slight lag in the middle of the book (when Scylla was shadowing the detective), but it didn’t affect how I felt about the book. It was just right.

Scylla has to be one of my favorite female main characters to date. She was spunky, and she was tenacious. She was determined to find evidence to clear her father’s name. Her loyalty was also a central focus of the book. Even when faced with truths that she didn’t want to believe, she was steadfast.

I would love to see a book with Ilya or Galen in the future!! The secondary characters were well written and added additional depth to the plotlines. I usually do not get attached to secondary characters, but I did with these.

The mystery angle of Heir of Blood and Secrets was well written and kept me engaged. I did figure out who the killer was about halfway through the book. But, and I stress but, the author made me rethink who it was. So, by the time the murderer was revealed, I was surprised (but also doing an internal fist pump because I was right).

The dystopian angle of the book had me wanting to visit there. Devovea is a city-state ruled by an enigmatic ruler called The Crown. I was fascinated by the class system outlined in the book and how everything trickled down. Up at the top was The Crown, then the Magistrates, then the guards, and everyone else. The Magistrates and The Crown lived in The Castle. Everyone else lived in an area called The Tiers. As explained in the book, the higher the address, the poorer the neighborhood.

The author weaved a little romance into Heir of Blood and Secrets, but the author kept it on the backburner. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming and was surprised at who it was.

The end of the book was a blur, but it was so good. There was so much happening that I almost couldn’t keep track of it. The author wrapped some things up but left other things up in the air. Doing that, she left an opening for book 2, which I can’t wait to read!!!

I would recommend Heir of Blood and Secrets to anyone over 16. It is a clean book (no sex or kissing or language). There is some violence, but none of it is graphic.

Rupture State by M.B. Bartkowski

Publisher: BookBaby

Date of Publication: August 25th, 2021

Genre: Dystopia, Action, Adventure

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Buried among the million inhabitants of a society evolved into disjointedness, Otto struggles. He flounders alone in Brownton, the only home he has ever known. Those struggles, though, become secondary under the angst dispensed by the unforeseen tragedy of an otherwise idle Thursday. A restaurant he designed collapses, leaving hundreds dead. Banished from all that is familiar as penance for this calamity, Otto is thrust on an uncharted journey to the US, accompanied by little more than the burden of his own guilt and doubt.
Through the uncertainty of his voyage, Otto finds support where it is least expected. Samantha Justus and her brothers retrieve him from the clutches of an enemy he does not fully grasp. He finds himself an unknowing target in the midst of a strife much larger than his own tribulation. But buoyed by his newfound community—heretofore a foreign concept—Otto discovers a secret that holds in its fragile hand the survival of his homeland. Though brandished a criminal in two realms, he is left with the challenge of navigating a return to the scene of the crime in the hope of saving those who would convict him. It is not a mission he can accomplish alone. It will require the combined efforts of Sam, E.J., Benny, Marcos, Desmond, Bree, Hardy, and Tika—the tribe that has assembled along the way.


First Line:

“What?” His jaw pounded excitedly, but none of the supposed sound leaving his face reached me across the table.

rupture state by m.b. bartkowski

I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to read Rupture State when I read the blurb. But, after some consideration, I made the decision to read it. I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought!!

Rupture State is the story about Otto. Otto is a resident of a floating city, Brownton. Brownton was built when global warming caused the sea to rise and flood the coastal areas. Initially, it was supposed to be a temporary situation, but that turned permanent. There are several floating cities, and they all are considered separate countries. They have their currency and laws; the latter comes into play later in the book. Otto works as an engineer at a firm responsible for fabricating the grids that the city floats on. Everything is going great in his life until a hanging restaurant that he built comes crashing to the ground. Sent to the mainland until the scandal blows over, Otto discovers a more sinister plot. With the help of a mysterious young woman, her brothers, and their friends, Otto is determined to let the citizens of Brownton know what is going on before another tragedy happens.

Rupture State is a fast-moving book. The book’s flow did compliment the fast pace, but some parts seemed to falter a little. I noticed that it mainly seemed to be when Otto was on the run with Sam and her brothers. It didn’t disturb my enjoyment of the book, but it did throw me off a little bit.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Otto. I did like him initially, and I felt awful for him when the restaurant collapsed. But after that, I started to think less of him. Now, I don’t know how I would have acted if something ever happened to me, but I do know that I wouldn’t have let a coworker or boss not allow me to be part of the investigation. I also would have lawyered up and demanded an investigation. But it didn’t happen (it couldn’t because the plotline wouldn’t have gone further than that tragedy). I started to like him again once he was on the mainland and started investigating himself. What he found out made sense and honestly scared me.

The dystopia angle of the book was wonderfully written. Not much was written about the mainland (aka the USA), but Brownton had an exciting and vibrant society. I loved that the author chose to make self-driving cars a thing. Oh, and let’s not forget that he built on handheld devices (all residents, USA and Brownton, had devices on their wrists connected to the internet) and movies (there was a pick your plotline for the film at the beginning of the book).

I also liked that the author incorporated climate change and global warming into the plotline. I could see cities like Brownton popping up if the sea rises. So, it wasn’t a stretch for me to believe that Brownton could exist. It will exist if we don’t do something about it.

The action-angle of the book was written very well also. Of course, there were action sequences (like on the factory’s roof or the boat back to Brownton). I loved seeing Otto becoming some anti-hero during the latter half of the book. He didn’t use violence but his brain to outsmart the bad guys.

There was a romance angle in Rupture State, but it wasn’t played upon, which was a relief. The author did give Otto and Sam romantic scenes, but the focus was on getting Otto and the evidence to Brownton, not on his romance with Sam. I loved it!!!

The end of Rupture State was a little predictable, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I will not get into it (hello, spoilers!!), but I will say that everyone deserved what happened. Otto did try to warn them, and they didn’t listen to him. The ones who did were already off Brownton when things went down.

I would recommend Rupture State to anyone over the age of 21. There is nongraphic sex, language, and mild violence.

Masters’ Promise (Angel Eyes: Book 3) by Jamie Schulz

Book Cover

Publisher: Jamie Schulz

Date of publication: December 14th, 2021

Genre: Romance, Dystopia

Series: Angel Eyes

Jake’s Redemption—Book 0 (review here)

Masters’ Mistress—Book 1

Masters’ Escape—Book 2

Masters’ Promise—Book 3

Masters’ Rebellion—Book 4

Masters’ Betrayal—Book 5

Masters’ Freedom—Book 6 (expected publication date: January 1st, 2022)

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

He swore he’d protect her.
But can they ever trust each other enough to fall in love?

Bret Masters is as good as his word. Following through on his pledge to nurse back to health the woman who owns him, the rugged ranch-hand showers her with care while still guarding his heart. But as he spends hour after hour by her side, the stubborn cowboy feels his resistance crumbling.

Angel Aldridge fears she won’t recover. Seized by the horrors of her past, her handsome foreman is the only comfort she knows. But when a frightening incident results in an intimate confession, the curvy rancher worries she’s pushed him away for good.

Stung by Angel’s words, Bret struggles to believe love could ever be possible in this broken world. And with Angel’s enemy returning to exact revenge, she’s frightened she’ll never again feel her hero’s embrace.

With danger on its inevitable way, is this the end for the star-crossed couple?

Masters’ Promise is the steamy third book in The Angel Eyes futuristic dystopian cowboy romance series. If you like captivating characters, forbidden desire, and dark twists, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s riveting read.

This book has a HFN ending with a slight cliffhanger that leads into Book 4 of the series. The books in this series must be read in order as the story builds with each book.

Please note: Intended for mature audiences. Trigger warning. Reader discretion is advised.


First Line:

Angel Aldridge lay on her back, staring at her oversized, four-poster bed canopy, waiting for the man who’d been a pain in the rear ever since he’d come to live on her ranch.

masters’ promise by jamie schulz

When I got the invite to review Masters’ Promise from the author’s publicist, I was on the fence about reading it. I had read Jake’s Redemption and Masters’ Mistress (never reviewed), but there was a gap between those reviews and now. So, I was worried that I would be lost. I ultimately decided to review this book, hoping that I wouldn’t be too lost while reading it. Thankfully, that was the case, and once again, The author pulled me into this complex dystopian society that I had enjoyed pre-pandemic.

Masters’ Promise is the 3rd book in the Angel Eyes series. It is technically the 4th book, but Jake’s Redemption is considered a prequel to this series. I cannot stress this enough; you need to read the previous books before starting on this one. If you read Masters’ Promise without doing that, you will be confused. I am not over exaggerating this. I was a bit lost after skipping one book, so imagine what it would be like going into this series cold at book 4.

Masters’ Promise is the continuing story of Bret and Angel’s budding romance, as well as the threat that Carrie and Darla hold over their lives and the lives of their allies. Angel and Bret need to overcome jealousy, anger, and trauma to present a united front to those witches. They also need to learn to trust each other, which is challenging in a society where all males are slaves, with the women being their masters.

I was surprised at how well Masters’ Promise flowed. Why was I surprised? Well, typically, a book with more than two POVs has problems with keeping the plotline flowing well. But in this case, there was no problem, and I enjoyed that. I also felt that the book’s pacing had much to do with it. It was a medium-paced book that picked up in parts. There was a slight lag in the middle of the book, but it didn’t throw the pacing off or affect my reading.

While I like Angel, I was not a big fan of her for 85% of the book. She was such a strong woman in the previous books, but she came across as weak in this one. I know that is a harsh thing to say, but I didn’t particularly appreciate seeing her like that. I get why the author wrote her the way she did for this book. She was highlighting PTSD and its long-term effects. But still, I wanted to see more of the kick-butt woman who would do anything to protect her people. There were glimpses of that when Carrie’s henchwoman was beating Bret with a barbed whip and Angel beat the crap out of her with it, but it was few and far between.

Bret got on my nerves big time while reading the book. He was such a jerk to Angel during crucial scenes that I wanted to reach through the book and smack him. There were certain situations that I could understand why he was so grumpy. Angel called him Michael after they had sex, and when he thought that Angel didn’t do anything, Carrie started whipping him. I also got why he’d get grumpy when Angel refused to talk about Michael or what caused her PTSD. But, it was also draining to read. I hope that in the next book, he calms down some.

Carrie was the ultimate villain in Masters’ Promise. She got so much pleasure from torturing her male slaves that my skin crawled in certain parts of the book. She does have a backstory that explains why she’s the way she is but still. I hope that she gets what’s coming to her in the next book.

The romance angle was well written. I liked seeing both Bret and Angel acknowledge their feelings (to themselves) and eventually each other. But I was sad that they had to keep it to themselves. Carrie would have had a field day if she found out about that (another black mark against her in my book).

There is sex in Masters’ Promise, and it is explicit. Surprisingly, I can count on one hand how many times Bret and Angel have explicit sex. Because the author did that, she was able to keep their chemistry going. I enjoyed that.

The dystopian angle was well written also. A world that has been ravaged by war and the females gained the upper hand? Fine by me!! But I am not a big fan of the slavery angle, but I understand why the author wrote it the way she did.

There are a few trigger warnings in Masters’ Promise. There is rape, and there is explicit abuse of the slaves. I was a little disturbed by some of the things I read, and I have thick skin. So, if you are triggered easily, don’t read the book.

The end of Masters’ Promise drove me insane. What Angel said to Bret broke my heart. I understood why she said it. I also am beginning to think that the rebels will become a bigger problem for the homesteaders. The author didn’t wrap up any of the storylines. Instead, she left it with an understanding of what will happen in the next book (which I want to read).

I would recommend Masters’ Promise to anyone over the age of 21. There is explicit sex, explicit violence, and language.

The Warehouse by Rob Hart

The Warehouse: A Novel by [Hart, Rob]

4 Stars

Publisher: Crown Publishing, Crown

Date of publication: August 20th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Dystopia

Where you can find The Warehouse: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Gun violence, climate change and unemployment have ravaged the United States beyond recognition.

Amidst the wreckage, an online retail giant named Cloud reigns supreme. Cloud brands itself not just as an online storefront, but as a global saviour. Yet, beneath the sunny exterior, lurks something far more sinister.

Paxton never thought he’d be working Security for the company that ruined his life, much less that he’d be moving into one of their sprawling live-work facilities. But compared to what’s left outside, perhaps Cloud isn’t so bad. Better still, through his work he meets Zinnia, who fills him with hope for their shared future.

Except that Zinnia is not what she seems. And Paxton, with his all-access security credentials, might just be her meal ticket.
As Paxton and Zinnia’s agendas place them on a collision course, they’re about to learn just how far the Cloud will go to make the world a better place. 

To beat the system, you have to be inside it.


First Line:

Well, I’m dying!

The Warehouse by Rob Hart

My Review:

Paxton didn’t want to work for Cloud. The superstore ruined his life and put him out of business. But he needs a job and Cloud is hiring. Zinnia is on a mission. She needs to infiltrate Cloud, and she can’t get caught. She meets Paxton, who has been selected to work for security. Soon, Paxton and Zinnia become embroiled in a scheme that will shake Cloud to its very foundation.

When I started reading The Warehouse, I was expecting it to be a book that explored how an online business ran with a dash of mystery thrown in. I was not expecting this book to suck me in from the first page. I finished this book within 2 hours. So yeah, it is a fast read. It also had a well-written plotline with almost no lag. There was a tiny bit of lag when Paxton and Zinnia took their trip, but the author was able to bring plotline back.

I liked Paxton. He seemed resigned to the fact that he was going to work for Cloud. He didn’t hold any resentment towards Cloud for making his business to go under. I thought that he was blind to Zinnia’s schemes. How could he not pick up that something wasn’t quite right with her? I mean, he walked in on her using the hospital computer after her accident!! That drove me nuts.

I didn’t quite like Zinnia, but I also didn’t dislike her either. Her reasons for infiltrating Cloud weren’t clear at first. I wasn’t happy that she was using Paxton, but if I were in her situation, I would have done the same thing. She was a strong individual, though. The beatdown that she gave that one guy was epic.

The mystery angle of the book was well written. While the middle of the book did Zinnia’s first part of her mission, there was a second part to it. The twist to that took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting who it was!!

The dystopian angle of the book, I had no problem believing. I can picture what happened to the world in this book (climate change, gun violence, unemployment) happening in real life. I also have no issue seeing an online company (who I will not name) taking over the world.

I do want to add that I was grossed out about the burgers. I threw up a little in my mouth when it was revealed what they were made of. Talk about gross!!

The end of The Warehouse was pretty standard. There were no dropped storylines. But, I did wonder what happened to Zinnia. I was also thrilled for Paxton and a little mad. What happened to him was not right. I would have flipped my lid if that happened to me.


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

I would reread The Warehouse. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Jake’s Redemption (The Angel Eyes: Book 0.5) by Jamie Schulz

Jake's Redemption: The Angel Eyes Series Prequel by [Schulz, Jamie]

4 Stars

Publisher: Jamie Schulz

Date of publication: February 1st, 2019

Genre: Romance, Dystopia

Series: Angel Eyes

Jake’s Redemption—Book 0.5

Master’s Mistress—Book 1 (expected publication date: 2020)

Master’s Escape—Book 2 (expected publication date: 2021)

Where you can find Jake’s Redemption: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

An imprisoned cowboy. An empowered woman. When true love is forbidden, opening their hearts could destroy them both…

Chained and enslaved, Jake Nichols is convinced he’ll die alone. In this new order where men are stripped of all power, he endures brutal torture at the hands of his female captor. But when he’s hired out to build a ranch home for an outspoken beauty, his dreams of escape transform into visions of passion.

Monica Avery struggles to fill her heart in a loveless society. With marriage outlawed and romantic partners reduced to pawns, she’s given up hope of finding her soul mate. But the rugged rancher building her shelter awakens her deeply buried desires.

As the project comes together, Monica discovers a kindred spirit in the tenderhearted Jake. But despite their growing attraction, he still belongs to a cruel woman who’d rather see him dead than free.

Can Monica save Jake, or will their love lead to a tragic tomorrow?

Jake’s Redemption is a full-length book in the Angel Eyes cowboy dystopian romance series. If you like scorching-hot chemistry, clever post-apocalyptic worlds, and star-crossed love stories, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s captivating tale.

Buy Jake’s Redemption today to see if love can brighten a dark world!

This prequel has an HFN ending and opens the door for the next book in the Angel Eyes Series, Masters’ Mistress, scheduled for release in 2020.


First Line:

Jake Nichols knelt in defeat on the cold ground of the mountain meadow, directly beside his best friend, Bret Masters.

Jake’s Redemption by Jamie Schulz

My Review:

Before I start this review, I want to let everyone about some significant triggers in Jake’s Redemption. I usually don’t include trigger warnings, but I felt this book warranted one. The trigger warnings I want to add are rape, the threat of rape, mental abuse, and physical abuse. If any of these triggers you, I would suggest finding another book.

Jake’s Redemption starts with Jake, his best friend, and the group that they are traveling with being captured in the mountains. Jake’s best friend, Bret, stages a daring escape but leaves Jake behind in the chaos. Five years later, Jake is a shell of the man he used to be. Abused in every way by his owner, Jake is waiting to die. Then, he is offered a chance to get away from his owner for six months. He is loaned to Monica. Expecting the worse, Jake is surprised when Monica turns out to be a kind and gentle woman who cares for the people under her protection. He begins to heal and begins to fall in love with Monica. But time is working against them. Jake is slated to return to his abusive owner. What will happen? Will Jake be returned? Will Jake and Monica have their happily ever after?

Jake’s Redemption was not what I thought it was going to be. When I read the blurb, I knew that I was getting a dystopian book with romance elements, which was fine with me. I like dystopian themed books, and I love romance. What I wasn’t expecting was the book to be as raw and gritty as it was. It blew my mind in the right way. I couldn’t put the book down. I needed to find out what was going to happen to Jake. I can’t say that I have had a book have an effect like that on me in a long time!!

I loathed Darla. Her treatment of Jake was horrendous. Then her backstory was explained. She was a victim of domestic abuse before the war. While I still loathed her, I understood why she treated her male slaves the way she did.

Jake was an amazing main character. The author did a fantastic job of showing his transformation. He went from a man who was living free to a man who had been tortured. She also did a tremendous job of showing his recovery and how tenuous it was. I didn’t blame him for not wanting a woman to touch him. My heart broke for him when he told Monica that. I did wonder if he was too damaged to be with Monica. I also wondered that if the brainwashing that Darla did would kick in towards the end of the book.

I liked Monica. I did find her pushy with Jake at points in the book. She knew that he had been abused. She still insisted on trying to kiss him. That made me go “Eeeehhhh” when it came up in the book. I did like that she stood up to Darla. That one scene when Darla tried to visit Jake and Monica intervened is seared into my brain. I also liked that while she had slaves, she still treated them as people. I do think that she should have gotten rid of that one guard who attacked Jake when it happened. I did understand why Monica kept her but still. That was asking for trouble.

There were two significant storylines in Jake’s Redemption. The main one is Jake/Monica’s romance. The second one, which didn’t show up until the middle of the book, is about Angel. I liked that the author was able to intertwine the two storylines but kept them completely separate.

Jake and Monica had insane chemistry and insane sexual tension. Even with Jake denying it, he was attracted to Monica. The author was able to build that sexual tension up until it exploded. That lead to one of the hottest sex scenes that I have read to date. It was fog up my Kindle hot!! It was also bittersweet because of what Jake went through with Darla.

The dystopian angle of Jake’s Redemption was interesting. I liked that the author chose to make the world female-dominated. I did like that the woman discovered that they had a new adrenaline based power. It was interesting. I wish that more detail had been given about that power. Heck, I would have loved to have seen it shown more often

The end of Jake’s Redemption was exciting. It set up for the next book perfectly. None of the storylines were ended. I do wonder what Angel had over Darla that made her cave as often as she did. I am hoping more will be explained in the next book.


I would give Jake’s Redemption an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Jake’s Redemption. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Journey to Territory U (Extinction of All Children: Book 3) by L.J. Epps

Journey To Territory U (Extinction Of All Children, Book 3) by [Epps, L.J.]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: L.J. Epps

Date of publication: November 9th, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia

Series: Extinction of All Children

Extinction of all Children—Book 1 (review here)

Journey to Territory M—Book 2 (review here)

Journey to Territory U—Book 3

Where you can find Journey to Territory U: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Emma Whisperer’s journey continues in the third and final book in the Extinction series. Emma Whisperer and her friends are given ten days by President Esther to get their petitions signed to see if the people of Territory U agree with the walls being torn down. They can freely walk through the territory and talk to people.

What is life like in Territory U? Will the people of Territory U be accepting of their message?

Emma and her friends—old and new—explore Territory U and find the rich aren’t always as happy as they seem. They come upon some strange things happening in the territory and also underneath it. Friendships will be tested. Will Emma and her friends come out of it alive?

Emma has already accomplished so much—getting President Esther to let them walk freely through Territory U. Will Emma find and save Abigail? Will she save the people of Territory L? Or, will certain truths destroy her spunky spirit and good heart? Emma’s final journey brings about new challenges and revelations. Will these new discoveries weaken her or make her stronger?

President Esther has more in store for Emma than she could ever imagine. Will Rich get his revenge against Emma? Will President Esther win in the end? See how Emma and her friends handle the misery and destruction the president puts them through.

Take a ride with Emma as she makes some horrifying discoveries and finds the strength to continue on and finish the quest she started.


My Review:

I was a little hesitant to read Journey to Territory U. I didn’t have my hopes up too high after reading Journey to Territory M. But, I was surprised. Journey to Territory U was an enjoyable read.

There are triggers in Journey to Territory U. They are the same triggers as the other books. I would recommend not reading the book if you are triggered by infanticide.


Journey to Territory U’s plotline is different than the other books. Emma got the President to let her gather signatures for a petition. The petition is to merge the classes, bring down the wall, and stop the baby killing. Emma and her friends have a ten-day free pass to gather those signatures. Then Rich will have free reign to do what he wants. Top of his list, kill Emma.

I enjoyed reading this book. The plotline flowed. I was able to reconnect with Emma. Her crusade to find Abigail and to knock down the walls was reaching a fever pitch.

I also liked seeing how different Territory U was on the surface. The deeper Emma dug, the more similar it was to M and L. The people in U were governed by the same fear that kept M and L in compliance. They had more fear because the President could strip them of their U status and send them to live in L. It must have been a terrifying place to live.

There were a few twists in the plotline. The one which involved Emma, President Esther, and Henry, I saw coming a mile away. I figured it out while reading Journey to Territory M. The one with Rich didn’t surprise me. He was an unhinged individual who blamed his problems on a girl who had nothing to do with them. But, I didn’t see the other two twists. Both took me by surprise. Both made me go “No way.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading.


Emma surprised me in this book. The author made up for her stagnating in Journey to Territory M. Her character growth seemed like it was on steroids. I was amazed. I still found her annoying, but I liked her for the first time in the series. She was dealt some severe blows in this book. Secrets that her parents kept came back to bite her in the butt. Plus, she had to deal with Rich.

Rich’s issues with Emma were revealed in this book. I underestimated his character. The level of hate he had for Emma was insane. I didn’t understand why the President kept him around until Rich confessed to another guard. That’s when the lightbulb went on in my head. I’ll say this: I didn’t doubt his loyalty to President Esther. He lost his mind in this book.

This book was more focused on Emma’s relationships with her friends and family. I liked that. It showed that Emma valued her friends and family. It also taught me that Emma had a good reason for doing what she did. Oh, I do want to mention that Emma beating down Nathan was one of the best scenes in the book. Jerk deserved it!!

President Esther morphed from a President with issues to a dictator in this last book. I was horrified by what she was doing. She did get what was coming to her at the end. Now, I say that, but I also felt terrible for her. What happened to her should have never happened. It made me wonder if things were different, would she have mellowed out? Or would she still be the evil person that she became?

I do want to warn: Do not get attached to any of the characters. They are all expendable. I was taken by surprised at who the author killed off. So, don’t get attached!!


As with the other books, Journey to Territory U fit in with the dystopia and young adult genres. I had no issue believing that something like this could happen in the future. It is happening in a way now (with the abortion rulings’ in several states). I would recommend keeping an open line of communication if a teenager does read this book. There are some severe issues discussed throughout the book.

There was no sex in Journey to Territory U (thank God!!). As I stated in my review of Journey to Territory M, the whole Emma/Eric/Samuel wanna be love triangle didn’t work for me. It shouldn’t have even been touched.

The end of Journey to Territory U had me in turmoil. So much happened at once that I had issues processing it. I will say that President Esther got what was coming to her. I didn’t like the 180 that one character did. That person showed their true colors in Journey to Territory M. It was hard for me to believe that they could change. The epilogue was great but not believable. Change happens but not that fast.


I would give Journey to Territory U an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Journey to Territory U. I would also reccomend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Journey to Territory U.

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


Have you read Journey to Territory U?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know!!