The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: August 30th, 2022

Genre: Fantasy, Adult, Fiction, High Fantasy, LGBT, Science Fiction, Queer, Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | Better World Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two warriors shepherd an ancient god across a broken land to end the tyrannical reign of a royal family in this new epic fantasy from the author of The Vanished Birds.

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Tordotcom, BookPage, LitHub

The people suffer under the centuries-long rule of the Moon Throne. The royal family—the despotic emperor and his monstrous sons, the Three Terrors—hold the countryside in their choking grip. They bleed the land and oppress the citizens with the frightful powers they inherited from the god locked under their palace.

But that god cannot be contained forever.

With the aid of Jun, a guard broken by his guilt-stricken past, and Keema, an outcast fighting for his future, the god escapes from her royal captivity and flees from her own children, the triplet Terrors who would drag her back to her unholy prison. And so it is that she embarks with her young companions on a five-day pilgrimage in search of freedom—and a way to end the Moon Throne forever. The journey ahead will be more dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Both a sweeping adventure story and an intimate exploration of identity, legacy, and belonging, The Spear Cuts Through Water is an ambitious and profound saga that will transport and transform you—and is like nothing you’ve ever read before.


First Line:

Before you arrive, you remember your lola, smoking.

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

When I first received the publisher’s request to review The Spear Cuts Through Water, I almost didn’t accept it. I had reviewed The Vanished Birds and “meh” about it. But when I read the blurb, it caught my interest, and I decided to give this book a chance. I am glad I did because this book was one of the most uniquely written books I have ever read. Oh, and I also really liked it.

The Spear Cuts Through Water had an exciting plotline. It follows the journey of Keema, a one-armed outcast, and Jun, grandson of the emperor, as they escort Jun’s goddess grandmother across the country. Jun and Keema face many dangers but discover strengths they didn’t know they had. There is also another storyline that is intertwined with Keema and Jun. That is the story of an unnamed man who finds himself in a place called the Inverted Theater after a lifetime of hardship. He is watching a play about Keema and Jun and their journey. Like me, he had questions about their journey. Will they complete their journey?

Usually, I will put a trigger and content warning at the end of my review. But, if I feel that the book’s content will immediately affect the reader or the triggers are horrible, I move it to the top of the review. The triggers in this book are a combination of both. If you are triggered by gore, genocide, ritual cannabilism, body horror, dismemberment, and ableism, do not read this book.

The Spear Cuts Through Water is a medium-paced book in a dystopian ancient Japan or China (I couldn’t figure out which one). The author uses a lot of Japanese and Chinese folklore as a base for the story. I loved it!! It made the book so much more enjoyable for me to read because I enjoy the folklore/mythology from those areas.

As I stated above, this was very uniquely written book. It was written in equal parts, 2nd person and 3rd person POVs. I can count on one hand how many books I have read in 2nd person. And I can count how many of those books I have liked on half of that hand. The author seamlessly switched between the 2nd and 3rd person without disrupting the book’s flow. I was surprised at how much I liked the way it was written. Now, saying that the way this book is written isn’t for everyone, and I would keep that in mind when starting it.

The main characters of The Spear Cuts Through Water were well-written. The author did a great job of fleshing them out and making me care about them (and their journey).

  • Keema—I liked him. There’s not much I can say about him other than that he was almost stupidly brave. I wouldn’t say I liked that he was looked down upon for only having one arm or that the other guards picked on him because of it. His journey with Keema was to find himself as much as it was to bring the Moon to her final destination.
  • Jun—So, he didn’t make the best first impression when he showed up in the book. But, as the book continued, I saw Jun’s character evolving. He started to care about Keema and what the Terrors were doing to the people during his journey. Heck, he even cared about the tortoise. By the end of the book, he has changed from the beginning.
  • Unknown Narrator—This is the person being told Jun and Keema’s story and their own life story. I felt terrible for this man. He had been through so much in life. He was amazed to find himself at the Inverted Theater, watching this story unfold. There was a more fantastic connection between Jun, Keema, and himself that was revealed at the end of the book. I didn’t see that twist coming!
  • The Three Terrors—I was going to make them secondary characters, but I got to thinking, and they each, in their way, were main characters. To me, they embodied the worst traits that society had. Jun’s father (the First Terror) was Violence. He participated in genocide in the Old World. He did love his sons, but that was his only redeeming quality. The Second Terror, to me, was Greed and Gluttony. In my eyes, he was the scariest Terror, mainly because of what he did to gain the powers of the tortoise. The Third Terror, I couldn’t place him in any group. He was a horror exiled from his family at a young age. I will not even get into what he was or what he did. But I did feel bad for him. The scene with the man in that dungeon was both gruesome and heartbreaking at the same time.
  • The Moon— I wasn’t sure about her. I understood why she wanted to leave (who would want to be held captive under a palace). But I wouldn’t say I liked how she coerced Jun and Keema to do what she wanted. She didn’t get to her destination, forcing Jun and Keema to do something atrocious, something I had heard of but had never seen written in a book before. She also held no love for her children. That bothered me more than anything, to be honest.

The Spear Cut Through Water did have a lot of notable secondary characters. I will not list them, but they all added extra depth to the book.

The Spear Cuts Through Water was listed as a fantasy novel. I agree, but it is more suited as a dark and epic fantasy. The author did a great job weaving the epic fantasy angle (the journey) and the dark fantasy angle (everything else). It made for a great read.

I also want to add that there is a romance and LGBTQ+ angle to this book also. Keema and Jun’s romance is cultivated throughout the entire book. There was so much given with a look between them. And the yearning, oh my, it was almost too much for me to bear.

The author amazingly wrote the main storyline with Keema, Jun, the Terrors, the Moon, and their journey. The author had me glued to the book, wanting to know more, and you know what? He gave it to me in spades. The author explained everything, and he tied everything together. The author left no loose ends with this plotline. There were a couple of twists I didn’t see coming.

The storylines with the unknown narrator and the Inverted Theater was well written. I didn’t get as invested as I did with the main storyline, but still, it drew me in. A twist in that storyline made me put my Kindle down. I needed a second to process what I had read because the twist was that unexpected and that good.

Several secondary storylines give some added background and depth to the main storylines. The author incorporated them into the main storyline without pausing the book’s flow.

The end of The Spear Cuts Through Water was not what I expected, but at the same time, I expected it, if that makes sense. I loved how the author ended the main storylines and how he merged them both.

Three reasons why you should read The Spear Cuts Through Water:

  1. The storylines.
  2. The characters.
  3. Jun and Keema’s slow-burn romance

Three reasons why you shouldn’t read The Spear Cuts Through Water:

  1. The triggers. I am usually pretty good with the number of triggers in the book, but even I got triggered by this book.
  2. The way it was written. Being told in 2nd and 3rd person isn’t most people’s cup of tea.
  3. The Terrors. They genuinely creeped me out.

If you enjoyed reading The Spear Cuts Through Water, you will enjoy reading these books:

The Last Huntress (Mirror Realm: Book 1) by Lenore Borja

Publisher: Sparkpress

Date of publication: November 1st, 2022

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Series: Mirror Realm

The Last Huntress—Book 1

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

Alice Daniels has a problem. Her reflection keeps misbehaving when she looks in the mirror–and the longer she ignores it, the harder it tries to get her attention. On her eighteenth birthday, she learns why: she is a huntress, someone gifted with the power to enter mirrors and the magical world that exists beyond. But with this power comes immense responsibility, for in the Mirror Realm lurks an evil that has infected the human race for centuries: demons. It is up to her and her three huntress sisters–with the help of one handsome and overbearing protector–to hunt and banish this evil one demon at a time, thereby keeping the chaos in check. But when an ancient god pays Alice a visit that turns deadly, it is clear the Mirror Realm is more than it seems, and she soon finds herself in a race against time to save the life–and soul–of the one man the gods are determined to never let her have.

The Last Huntress is a story of redemption and sacrifice, the bonds of true sisterhood, and the impossible, sometimes frightening, things we’ll do for love.


First Line:

Alice watched the blood pool into a dip in the asphalt.

The Last Huntress by Lenore Borja

The Last Huntress is the book that made me rethink my NetGalley hiatus. When I got the invite, I didn’t notice that it was from the publisher (I thought it was from the author). I also didn’t see the address of the link that was in the email. So after reading the blurb, I was very interested in this book, made up my mind to read it, and clicked the link—which brought me to my deactivated NetGalley account. So, I decided to reactivate it and start my NetGalley journey again. I am glad I did because this was a fascinating book.

The Last Huntress is book one in the Mirror Realm series. Any of the usual stuff I write in this section doesn’t apply.

The Last Huntress had an exciting storyline. Alice has just moved to Arizona after her parent’s divorce. Living in her mother’s childhood house, Alice is convinced that she will hate it there. Around the same time, Alice notices that her reflection is acting up. Thinking nothing of it, Alice ignores it until she can’t anymore. When things start to implode around her, Alice meets Soxie, Olivia, and Hadley.

Along with Colin, they tell her that what she is experiencing is real because she is a Huntress. She is supposed to hunt demons in the Mirror Realm. But Alice soon discovers more at stake than being a Huntress. What she finds out sets off a series of events that holds grave consequences for her and her loved ones. What is Alice? Can she stop whoever is manipulating her? And can she stay one step ahead of the person she loves the most?

I liked Alice for about 90% of the book. She was headstrong and wasn’t afraid to stand up to anyone. She did have her moments of weakness, though, centered around Colin. There were points where I wanted to shake her and say, “Dude, just leave him be.” Her storyline did get a bit convoluted when the author introduced Greek mythology. I figured it was going in that direction when the girls explained Colin’s/The Mirror Realms backstory, and there was an abundance of Greek mythological figures being named. But I wasn’t expecting it to get as messy as it did. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of it and wished that the author had just stuck to her being a Huntress and left out the other stuff (but then again, those scenes with Hades and Persephone wouldn’t have happened).

I didn’t like Colin. Even with knowing his backstory, I felt that he was a bully. He refused to acknowledge his feelings for Alice, and when he did, he turned into a psycho. But, in the end, he did prove himself when he tried to save Alice by going into the Mirror Realm (he was forbidden too).

I loved Olivia, Soxie, and Hadley. They were everything that Colin wasn’t, and they weren’t afraid to tell him where to go. They took Alice under their wings and taught her everything they knew about the Mirror Realm and defeating demons. They even helped when Colin turned psycho. They were the besties that every girl wished they had in high school.

The storyline with Alice, Colin, the girls, and the Mirror Realm was exciting. I loved the lore behind how the Mirror Realm came to be. I also liked the twist thrown in that storyline about Alice being a Huntress. Also, Colin’s relationship with the goddess is interesting. I wish the author had expanded a little bit on it.

The storyline with Alice and Colin was interesting but disturbed me at the same time. I will come right out and say it; there was Instalove. It was immediately with both, but Colin, the d-tickle, refused to acknowledge it. The disturbing part was what happened after Colin admitted his feelings and discovered what would happen to Alice. I was horrified to read about the drugging and keeping her sequestered from everyone else. All because of a prophecy.

The author amazingly wrote the storyline with Alice and the Greek Gods. I couldn’t get enough of reading about that. The author extensively researched everything, and it showed. The main gods showcased were Hades and Persephone. The Fates were also talked about (and man, were they scary!!). Zeus also makes a very brief appearance toward the end of the book. I was enthralled with what I was reading.

The author very well wrote the young adult angle. I did feel, though, that teenagers went one of two ways. They were super immature and did stupid things or acted like mini adults (everyone else). There was no in-between with them. Still, I found that the teenagers written about were well-written and had depth.

As I mentioned above, the author did a fantastic job incorporating Greek mythology into the storyline. The fantasy angle was also well-written. I liked that the darker the fantasy angle got (and it got pretty dark toward the end of the book), the more well-written it was.

The romance angle was meh. As I mentioned above, I wasn’t a fan of it because of the Instalove bit and the fact that Colin was a tool for 90% of the book. Of course, that storyline did take an unexpected turn at the end of the book.

The end of The Last Huntress was exciting and a little twisty. I wasn’t expecting the twists thrown in about Persephone toward the end of the book. I also wasn’t expecting the twist about Colin and what happened to him. That last chapter messed with my mind.

I would recommend The Last Huntress to anyone over 16. There are non-graphic sexual situations, language, and mild violence. There are also scenes of kidnapping and drugging.


If you enjoyed reading The Last Huntress, you will enjoy these books:

Locklands (The Founders Trilogy: Book 3) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: June 28th, 2022

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Adult, LGBTQIA+, Science Fiction, High Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Queer, Magic

Series: The Founders Trilogy

Foundryside—Book 1 (review here)

Shorefall—Book 2 (review here)

Locklands—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | IndieBound | Indigo | Kobo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

A god wages war—using all of humanity as its pawns—in the unforgettable conclusion to the Founders trilogy.

Sancia, Clef, and Berenice have gone up against plenty of long odds in the past. But the war they’re fighting now is one even they can’t win.

This time, they’re not facing robber-baron elites, or even an immortal hierophant, but an entity whose intelligence is spread over half the globe—a ghost in the machine that uses the magic of scriving to possess and control not just objects, but human minds.

To fight it, they’ve used scriving technology to transform themselves and their allies into an army—a society—that’s like nothing humanity has seen before. With its strength at their backs, they’ve freed a handful of their enemy’s hosts from servitude, even brought down some of its fearsome, reality-altering dreadnaughts. Yet despite their efforts, their enemy marches on—implacable. Unstoppable.

Now, as their opponent closes in on its true prize—an ancient doorway, long buried, that leads to the chambers at the center of creation itself—Sancia and her friends glimpse a chance at reaching it first, and with it, a last desperate opportunity to stop this unbeatable foe. But to do so, they’ll have to unlock the centuries-old mystery of scriving’s origins, embark on a desperate mission into the heart of their enemy’s power, and pull off the most daring heist they’ve ever attempted.

And as if that weren’t enough, their adversary might just have a spy in their ranks—and a last trick up its sleeve.


First Line:

Are you ready? whispered a voice. Berenice opened her eyes.

Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett

When I first tried to read Locklands, I had difficulty getting through it. Not from a lack of wanting to read it, I wanted to see where Berenice, Sanica, and the rest of the gang ended up after the events of Shorefall. I ended up DNF’ing at around 30% because I couldn’t wrap my head around some of the events that had happened or were happening in Locklands. I picked it back up because it was one of three books I had DNF’d this year, and I didn’t want to end the year on that note. While I struggled to read through the first 30% of the book, the book smoothed out and became enjoyable.

Locklands is book 3 in The Founders Trilogy. This book is not standalone; you must read the first two books before picking this up. The author goes into what happened in the first books but not in depth. I had a hard time following this book at first.

Locklands takes place around eight years after the events of Shorefall. A lot has happened in those eight years, but the most notable is that people used scriving to connect. Born out of the scriving are conscious entities called The Cadences. They are helping Berenice and her people fight a war against Tevanne. But they are slowly losing the war. Berenice realizes that the one person (or being, if you want to be technical) who could help them is being held captive and tortured by Tevanne. He is Crasedes Magnus, the hierophant and son of Clef. But can or will he help? Or will everything that they are fighting for be in vain?

I wasn’t a big fan of Berenice when the book first started. She came across as dull. As the book continued, I understood that she was anything but that. She was brave and willing to do anything to ensure her people were safe and get the job done. By the end of the book, I loved her. Her sacrifices did help her people in the future.

Clef had a considerable part in this book. A good chunk of the last part of the book is based on his human memories. He was still the sarcastic, wise-ass key he always was, but it was tempered by what he remembered. My heart broke for him during specific memories, but I also got very angry with him. It was his actions that made Crasedes who he was.

Crasedes didn’t show up until after Berenice rescued him. He was different from the egotistical man that the author featured in Shorefall. What he experienced in Tevanne changed him. It changed him so much that he was willing to work with Clef and Berenice to nullify Tevanne. Of course, he did have some tricks up his sleeve, but for the most part, he was pretty straightforward with what he wanted and was going to do.

Surprisingly, Sanica didn’t have a massive part in most of the book. With her physical changes, I could understand why she wasn’t out fighting on the front lines. But, towards the end, it was revealed what Sanica had to do and man, did she deliver!!

I loved the Cadences. Greeter and Design were my favorites. I loved reading about their interactions with Berenice and how they talked to her. They were also very instrumental in what happened at the end of the book.

The storyline with Clef and Crasedes (and ultimately Tevanne) broke my heart. As a parent, I could understand why Clef chose to do what he did. But as a person, I was horrified by it. Also, I will never be able to look at butterflies the same way. Again, the author revealed another sad thing.

The storyline with the war, Tevanne, Crasedes, the Cadences, Sanica, and Berenice, was well written. The author did a fantastic job of not only building up to the grand finale but explaining why it went the way it did.

The fantasy angle was one of the best ones I have ever read. The author perfectly outlined the use of scriving for pathing, the creations of the Cadences, and even Tevanne’s usage of magic/scriving. It sometimes frightened me, but it kept my attention wholly on the book.

There was a slight romance angle in Locklands. The relationship between Sanica and Berenice was relationship goals (seriously). They were utterly in love with each other, but they also understood that there was something bigger than themselves going on. So, yes, my heart broke when certain events happened.

The end of Lockalnds was interesting. I say interesting because I didn’t expect the book to end as it did. It surprised me.

I would recommend Locklands to anyone over 21. There is moderate to graphic violence, mild sexual situations, and language.


If you enjoyed reading Locklands, you will enjoy reading these books:

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.

Quantum Girl Theory by Erin Kate Ryan

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Random House

Date of publication: March 8th 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

On December 1, 1946, Paula Jean Welden put on a bright red parka, left her Bennington college dorm for a hike, and vanished. Eighteen, white, blonde, wealthy; her story captivated a nation, but she was never found.

Each chapter of Quantum Girl Theory imagines a life Paula Jean Welden may have lived after she left that room: in love with a woman in a Communist cell and running from her blackmailer in 1950s New York. A literary forger on the verge of discovery at the advent of the computer age. A disgraced showgirl returning home to her mother’s deathbed. Is she a lobotomy victim, is she faking amnesia, or is she already buried in the nearby woods?

Or is she Mary Garrett, the hard-edged clairvoyant running from her past and her own lost love by searching for missing girls in the Jim Crow south? A trip to Elizabethtown, North Carolina, leads Mary to a twisty case that no one, not even the missing girl’s mother, wants her to solve. There, Mary stumbles into an even bigger mystery: two other missing girls, both black, whose disappearances are studiously ignored by the overbearing sheriff. Mary’s got no one else to trust, and as her own past tangles with the present, it’s unclear whether she can even trust herself.

This brilliant jigsaw puzzle of a novel springs off from a fascinating true story to explore the phenomenon of “the missing girl“: when a girl goes missing, does she become everyone people imagine her to be?


First Line:

Mary missed her connection in Fayetteville and, still marked from the creases in the bus seat and stinking of diesel, sweet-talked her way into the pickup truck of a lanky Dublin kid headed home for supper.

quantum girl theory by erin kate ryan

I wasn’t too sure about this book when I accepted the review request. I had read mixed reviews for Quantum Girl Theory, and from what I read, either people loved this book or hated it. I had read very few reviews that were middle ground. What ultimately made me accept this book was based on a disappearance in the 1940s that never got solved. I was curious to see how the author weaved her story around Paula Jean Welden’s disappearance.

Quantum Girl Theory is a story about a girl who disappeared and speculations about what happened to her. Mary is a clairvoyant who makes money from finding missing girls—dead or alive but more often dead. She arrives in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, and immediately contacts the parents of Paula, who has recently gone missing. The investigation into Paula’s disappearance will uncover secrets. These secrets people will kill to keep hidden. But there is more to Mary than what people see. Mary has her own reasons for finding these missing girls. Will Mary find Paula? Or will she be silenced before she can tell the truth?

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this story is loosely based on the real-life disappearance of Paula Jean Welden (I included a link to the New England Historical Society). I am fascinated with anything true crime and was secretly thrilled that Quantum Girl Theory was taking a 60-year-old disappearance and shining some light on it. The author’s research was excellent, and I loved how she took any/all rumors and incorporated them into the book. But, it did fall a little flat for me.

The main storyline (with Mary, in 1961) was interesting to read. I didn’t particularly like Mary. She was so depressing, and it did bring down the book in some parts. I wish I could say that my opinion of her improved as the book went on. It didn’t. She remained the same throughout the book. Not all characters have to be likable, and Mary was not. I did like that the author did that.

I was surprised at how the 1961 storyline went. I wasn’t expecting the other two girls to be added to Mary’s investigation. There was a point in the book where I wondered why the author introduced them, but there is a link to Paula’s disappearance. I was surprised at how and why they were linked. I was also surprised by the common denominator behind all three disappearances.

The memories were fascinating. I did have some issues following along. There were times when I wasn’t sure if it was Mary remembering another Paula’s life or it was Mary’s life. I did have to reread several of those memories to make sure what I was reading (if that makes sense). It did lessen my enjoyment of the book for me.

The end of Quantum Girl Theory did confuse me a little. I couldn’t figure out what was happening, which seldom happened. I did figure it was obvious but then second-guessed myself. I also was irritated because I felt that nothing got wrapped up. That, along with cliff-hangers, are my most significant irritant with these types of books.

I would recommend Quantum Girl Theory to anyone over 21. There is moderate violence, language, and sex/sexual situations. There is also racism and discrimination.

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 Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: February 22nd 2022

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery, Time Travel, Thriller, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel is at stake.

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder.

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past.

Or where proximity to the time port makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls.

None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see.

On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims.

January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders.

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once.

But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own.


First Line:

Droplets of blood pat the blue carpet, turning from red to black as they soak into the fibers.

the paradox hotel by rob hart

It has been a while since I have read any science fiction. It’s not that I don’t like the genre (I do); it’s just that I haven’t found any that has caught my eye. Then I started seeing reviews for The Paradox Hotel, which interested me. I figured that I would read it when it was published. So, imagine my surprise (and delight) when I got an invite to review from the publisher.

The Paradox Hotel had an exciting plotline. January Cole is the head of security at The Paradox Hotel, an exclusive hotel where the mega-rich can travel back in time. Her job is to make sure that the guests don’t do anything to disrupt the timeline and to take care of any security threats. The bidders meet at The Paradox when the government decides to privatize time travel. But, as January discovers, someone is willing to do anything to swing the vote in their favor. Can January figure out who is behind the attacks and their motive?

The Paradox Hotel had a fast-moving plotline. The entire book takes place within a couple of days of the bidders arriving at the hotel. There was a slight lag in the middle of the book, but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t get past.

January was an unlikeable character in The Paradox Hotel. She was unlikable, reckless, and had a potty mouth. But, I had some sympathy for her. She had suffered an unimaginable loss in the recent past and had a traumatic childhood. I did feel bad for her because of those events, and they did help me understand why she was so unlikable. I wish I could say that I grew to like her during the book, but if I would be lying. She was a hot mess.

The author very well wrote the mystery angle of The Paradox Hotel. I couldn’t figure out who was behind the attacks or the why until the end of the book. There were so many red herrings and diverting plotlines that it made it impossible for me to pin down the exact person.

The author just as well wrote the science fiction angle of The Paradox Hotel. I was fascinated by the premise that time travel could be normalized and used as a vacation (even if it was only for the super-rich). There were brief references to people traveling to Egypt (I will never be able to listen to Walk Like an Egyptian without remembering a specific scene in the book again). I also like that the author took a creative angle with people being Unstuck. In the book, Unstuck is someone who has traveled back in time one too many times. People who are Unstuck can see past, future, and current events. There are various levels of being Unstuck, with four being the highest. January is level 2 and takes medication to control it. If she doesn’t take the medication, she can see past, current, and future events. I was fascinated by that!!

I loved the representation that The Paradox Hotel had. There were gay and gender-neutral characters. I firmly believe that January’s girlfriend was trans (the scene where January sees Mena as a child).

The secondary characters were essential to The Paradox Hotel. Ruby, January’s AI assistant, was my favorite secondary character. It reminded me of Jiminy Cricket (being January’s conscience), and a big plus, it was as big of a wiseass as January.

I wouldn’t say I liked the end of The Paradox Hotel. It was the only part of the book that I didn’t like. The author did wrap up the storylines, but I was left feeling that there should have been more.

I would recommend The Paradox Hotel to anyone over 21. There is language, violence, and sexual situations.

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.

The Sultan’s Court (Pirates & Puritans: Book 2) by R.A. Denny

Book Cover

Publisher:

Date of publication: October 14th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Science Fiction

Series: Pirates & Puritans

The Alchemy Thief—Book 1 (review here)

The Sultan’s Court—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon


Goodreads Synopsis:

A vivid and powerful sequel to The Alchemy Thief. A tale of stolen secrets, kidnapping, slavery, and death.

Left behind as a slave in Morocco while Daniel journeys to the New World with the fearsome corsair Ayoub, Peri gives birth to a daughter. The drive to protect the imperiled lives of those she loves leads Peri to the court of the ruthless sultan, Moulay Ismail. In a city built on the backs of slaves, Peri’s rescue plot hangs by a thread, dependent on a dubious disguise and the man she despises. It will take all of her wit and perseverance to survive.

This spellbinding 2nd novel in the Pirates and Puritans Series takes the reader on a journey from Algonquin villages to Moroccan palaces, during the time when Morocco’s most feared leader rose to power and the American colonies sank into a bloody war named after Metacom.


First Line:

“Push!” the midwife instructed Peri, while Hennu supported the Christian slave girl’s shoulders from behind.

the sultan’s court by r.a. denny

The Sultan’s Court is book 2 in the Pirates and Puritans series. I was very excited when the author emailed me with a request to review it. I wasn’t disappointed!! I had enjoyed The Alchemy Thief and couldn’t wait to jump right into this book.

As I mentioned above, The Sultan’s Court is book 2 in the Pirates and Puritans series. I cannot stress this enough, but this book is not stand-alone. The author briefly goes over what happened in book one, but you need to read The Alchemy Thief to understand the relationships and motives. If you don’t, you will be lost and slightly confused.

The author did something that some authors don’t do enough of. She included maps of the different areas discussed in the books (present and past). Having those maps helped me a bunch while reading the book.

There were three significant points of view in The Sultan’s Court and two minor points of view. The critical points of view are Ayoub, Peri, and Daniel, with Liam and Brahim’s minor points of view. The book also goes between 1650 (ish) and the present day. The author does it seamlessly with each chapter saying who the POV is, where, and year. I had zero issues keeping the chapters straight.

The plotline for The Sultan’s Court was interesting. Instead of focusing on alchemy and time travel, it focused on Peri, Ayoub, and Daniel surviving and trying to find a niche in their new worlds. It made for a fascinating read.

There is religion in The Sultan’s Court, but it isn’t shoved down your throat, which I hate. Instead, I got to see how people from that era practiced Native American, Christianity, and Islam religions. The author also gave a small glimpse of extreme Islamists during Brahim and Liam’s POV. It was all very fascinating, and I couldn’t read enough of it.

Of all the characters in the book, I enjoyed reading Ayoub’s point of view the most. His character grew the most throughout the book. It was a gradual growth, but it showed at the end of the book. The conversation that he and Peri had before Ayoub left broke my heart. As did his realization that other people were traumatized like him but didn’t go down his extremist route. But most importantly, his behavior at the very end and his choice to help Peri and Daniel showed his real growth.

I also enjoyed reading Peri’s chapters. She was a devoted mother who gave everything to make sure that her child survived. I also understood why she did what she did when the Sultan took Mya away. As a mother with a child the same age, I would have done the same thing.

I was a little iffy about Daniel. He disappeared for a while from the book. When he was reintroduced, he was an almost different person (which I get, people change in 17 years). It seemed like he had practically forgotten Peri. He became a Mohawk and killed enough people that the tattoos formed a pattern on his face. It wasn’t until after his 2nd wife and children died that he decided to look for Peri. I go that he was tortured and then forced to marry into the tribe, but still. Then I felt terrible for him. He seemed to get the short end of the stick no matter where he went.

Liam was still a man-child who irritated me. But, I did figure out why he was being treated differently the minute they arrived where they were. Then I felt terrible because he didn’t see it until the very last minute.

Brahim, on the other hand, confused me. He came across as an extremist, but then the author did something that took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting what happened with him to happen.

There is violence in The Sultan’s Court, and some of it was a little graphic. I was a little taken aback by one scene where Peri witnessed the Sultan execute a slave, order his body dumped into a wall (and all I could think was: the smell), then a cat was brutally killed when it wanted to get down. There are other similar scenes sprinkled throughout the book. But, seeing the era it took place in, I expected it.

The end of The Sultan’s Court was terrific. I was glued to the book and couldn’t finish it fast enough. What I didn’t expect was the twist the author threw in!!! It took me by surprise, and I loved it. Now, I can’t wait for book 3 (yes, there will be a book 3!!!)

The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny

Book Cover
The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny

Publisher:

Date of publication: July 16th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Author


Goodreads Synopsis

When the secrets of the past threaten to destroy the future.

A tale of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of a woman, this sweeping epic spans the Atlantic from New England to Morocco during the Age of Exploration.

2019: A young woman finds a relic engraved with a mysterious symbol off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Terrorists in Morocco steal a 17th-century book engraved with the same symbol. As the woman struggles to unravel the secrets behind the symbol, her life changes in ways she could never have imagined.

1657: Transported back in time, she meets the alchemist, John Winthrop, Jr. who is plotting to lure the greatest scientific minds to the New World. But the more she learns, the more she fears for the lives of the loved ones she left behind.

In a stunning twist of fate, a modern terrorist has traveled into the past, where he has become a Barbary Corsair. He has plans of his own. And he will stop at nothing to succeed.


First Line:

His parents called him Ismail after the Moroccan Warrior King, but even his new Glock-17 didn’t make Ismail feel like a warrior.

The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny

I am not a huge fan of time travel books. I have read a few books out of that genre that soured me on them. So, I was a little hesitant to read The Alchemy Thief. What eventually sold me on the book was the alchemy angle.

I am glad that I decided to read The Alchemy Thief. This book was action-packed and full of interesting facts about Colonial Massachusetts and the Barbary Corsairs (which I have rarely read about).

The Alchemy Thief started slow. Usually, I’m not too fond of it when books start slow. But, in this instance, Peri and Ayoub’s backstories needed it. Once the book explained their backstories, then it picked up speed. It stayed at a medium pace throughout the book. Again, I wasn’t bothered by it. The pace fits the book. If it went slower, the storyline would have dragged. If it went faster, then I feel that I would have missed out on some of the backstories. So, the pacing was perfect.

I felt awful for Ayoub’s character and thought that the author did a fantastic job of portraying him. She captured what war and extremism do to children. Ayoub was 10-11 when he was sent back in time. As a mother, I was horrified by what he was exposed to and what he was forced to do. I wanted to reach through the book, scoop him up, and hug him. But, even though he was sent back in time and became a Barbary Corsair, I think it was better than what he went through in modern times. But, as I said earlier, the damage was done, and it shaped him into the man he became later on in the book.

I was kind of “eh” about Experience when she first made an appearance in the book. She was too nice and very naïve. Oh, and trusting. She was very trusting to the point where I wanted to shake her and tell her to get rid of Liam. However, once she was transported back to Colonial Massachusetts, I felt that her character grew by leaps and bounds. She went from being this one-dimensional character to a fully fleshed-out person. I also liked that she forged friendships and relationships while figuring out how she was getting home.

As I mentioned above, the book’s alchemy angle was the reason I chose to read the book. I find alchemy fascinating, and The Alchemy Thief only added to that fascination. In addition, I enjoyed learning how the bodkins were made and how the main characters used them.

There is a romance angle to The Alchemy Thief. There are two main romances. The first one is Peri and Liam. I was 100% against Peri even looking at Liam. He came across as too smarmy. However, my instincts were right about him (the 100 virgins comment made me want to smack him).

The second romance was Peri and Daniel. Talk about a swoon-worthy romance. I loved the instant connection that they had. I also loved that Peri was able to confide in Daniel about where she had come from and what she was trying to do (go home). I also liked that Peri and Daniel’s romance came naturally. There was no Instalove and no instant sex. Instead, Daniel courted Peri and spent time with her.

The time travel angle of the book (which is tied into the alchemy angle) was very well written. I thought it was interesting how Ayoub and Peri were transported back in time. I liked that it was a one way only type deal. Once the main characters used the bodkin, it was gone. I also liked how the author didn’t have Ayoub or Peri give away the future. Well, Ayoub did, but he was written off as having a djinn. Peri was careful to keep her cellphone hidden and to keep up her Puritan facade.

The author had a glossary at the back that detailed the historical events. She also gave definitions to the Native American terms used. I found it helpful and was grateful that she included it.

The end of The Alchemy Thief was interesting. There is a big twist that I did not see coming, and it stunned me. She didn’t wrap up any of the storylines. Instead, with the way she ended the book, I want to read book 2. I need to find out what happens!!


I enjoyed reading The Alchemy Thief. It was engaging and kept my attention glued to my Kindle!!

I would recommend The Alchemy Thief to anyone over the age of 16. The Alchemy Thief is a clean book (no sex). There are some disturbing scenes of a suicide bombing. Ayoub has PTSD and has flashbacks about killing people as a child (he was forced). There is a scene where Peri is forced naked and has a man forcibly check her vagina (she was accused of being a witch).