The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny

Book Cover
The Alchemy Thief by R.A. Denny


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).

Scorpion by Christian Cantrell

Book Cover
Scorpion by Christian Cantrell

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

Date of publication: May 25th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction

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

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher

Goodreads Synopsis:

Around the world, twenty-two people have been murdered. The victims fit no profile, the circumstances vary wildly, but one thing links them all: in every case the victim is branded with a number.

With police around the globe floundering and unable to identify any pattern, let alone find a killer, CIA Analyst Quinn Mitchell is called in to investigate.

Before long, Quinn is on the trail of an ice-hearted assassin with seemingly limitless resources – but she’s prepared for that.

What she isn’t prepared for is the person pulling the strings…

First Line:

Henrietta Yi and her team have been underground for three days.

Scorpion by Christian Cantrell

When I read the blurb for Scorpion, I was intrigued and a little wary—intrigued because I am a massive sucker for a mystery that goes international. Wary because I have read technothrillers before, and they were not my cup of tea. But, since I read anything that comes across my desk (or email in this case), I decided to take a chance on it. It was a chance that fell flat.

Scorpion is the story about a CIA analyst, Quinn, who is called in to help with a strange case. There have been 22 people killed, all with different numbers tattooed somewhere on their bodies. Who is this serial killer, who controls him, and why do they want those people dead? The answers might be the biggest surprise of all.

Scorpion started as a fast-paced book. The storyline zipped right along until it hit the middle of the book. Then the storyline came almost to a standstill, which surprised me. Unfortunately, it did take some time for the author to get the story going again.

Scorpion’s storyline was exciting at first. It was easy to follow, focusing on Quinn and Ranveer during the first half of the book. Then the author introduced Henrietta, who I thought would be a secondary character and the storyline took on an unfortunate (and weird) turn. After that, I almost couldn’t follow the storyline because of everything that was going on. It was too much. If the author had just kept the storyline focused on Quinn and Ranveer, I would have been OK with it and enjoyed the book more.

I wasn’t sure if I liked Quinn. I did have sympathy for her, and when her backstory was revealed, my heart broke. But, she came across as flaky. A former spy, you would have thought that she would have had at least some experience with interviews. But she didn’t and cried during an interview. I mean, seriously? Who does that?

There is a lot of technical jargon that did bog down the storyline. I found myself googling terms a lot. Again, it didn’t help with the book’s flow and made me grumpy while reading it.

The end of the book was a giant cluster. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening (and I read the last eight chapters twice). Add in everything that was happening with Henrietta, and I was like, “What. The. Heck. Is. Going. On“. Like I mentioned above, it was almost too much.

I did like the first half of Scorpion. It was a good read with the right amount of mystery and thriller. But the book went downhill in the second half, and I didn’t enjoy it.

I am on the fence if I would recommend Scorpion. There is no sex. There is violence, sometimes graphic. There is one troubling scene of a baby being murdered. There is mental illness with the character going off her meds.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

The Last Human by [Jordan, Zack]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: March 24th, 2020

Genre: Science Fiction

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

Book Synopsis:

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.

First Line:

Not so many years ago, Shenya the Widow was a void-cold killer.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

My Review:

I usually do not read science fiction for review. That doesn’t mean I don’t read that genre. I wouldn’t say I like do not like reviewing that genre. So how did I end up with The Last Human for review? Easy, I wished for it on NetGalley and the publisher granted my wish.

The Last Human is the story of Sarya. Sarya is the adopted daughter of Shenya the Widow and she lives on a space station. But, Sarya is also the last of her species, a Human. Sarya’s mother and herself have worked carefully to hide what Sarya is. Everything was okay until a bounty hunter showed up and everything went sideways. The result was Sarya on the run with a spacesuit who can think for itself, an android who is obsessed with death and a super-smart fluffball (think a Tribble) and her protector. When two gods approach Sarya with a chance to make right past wrongs, she has to make a choice. Does she accept what they individually offer? Or does she go her own way?

The plotline for The Last Human was well written and kept my attention. There was a little bit of lag (when Sarya was inside the Observer’s brain), but the author was able to pull past it. There was also no dropped storylines or characters, which was a massive plus for me.

Sarya was an awesome character. She knew that she was Human, and she knew that she needed to keep her Humanity secret. If she didn’t, she would have been killed on sight. She loved her mother, Shenya the Widow, and was devastated when Shenya gave her life to let Sarya escape. She did make some rash decisions, but that only highlighted her Humanity. Her actions at the end of the book were exciting and thought-provoking.

The science fiction angle of the book was wonderfully written. It has been a long while since I read a space opera that I enjoyed. The worlds, the technology, the other life forms were fantastically written. I loved that the author broke the book up into the tiers of intelligence. I also loved that he gave excerpts of the rules and a glimpse into why Humanity was wiped out.

The end of The Last Human was satisfying. It raised a lot of questions for me. Those questions weren’t to do with the book but with the question “Is there life out there.

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

I would reread The Last Human. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Vanished Birds: A Novel by [Jimenez, Simon]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: January 14th 2020

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

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

Book Synopsis:

A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.

First Line:

He was born with an eleventh finger.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

My Review:

I was on the fence about reviewing The Vanished Birds. To make up my mind, I read the first four reviews on Goodreads. That is something I never do, but I was conflicted. The reviews were evenly conflicted about the book. So, I decided to take a chance on it. For the most part, it was a good book. But some parts made me wonder why they were written, even after finishing the book.

The Vanished Birds had a slow to a medium-paced plotline. When the book focused on Nia and her relationship with Ahro/their travels until he was 16, the book moved at a medium-paced. But, when the book focused on Fumiko Nakajima (past and present) and her travels, it slowed to a crawl. I will be honest; I skimmed over a large part of her story. I started paying attention when she was on the secret base and the events afterward.

I enjoyed reading about the type of space travel that Nia used to go between planets. It fascinated me. I couldn’t imagine being in space for what I would have thought would be a few months and to find out that 15 years have passed.

Nia was a tough cookie to like during the book. She made some questionable decisions that affected the people around her. Nia kept people are arm’s length. She did unbend, slightly, when she met Ahro. She unbent, even more, when Fumiko asked her to keep him safe for 15 years. But, I couldn’t quite bring myself to like her.

When Fumiko was introduced in The Vanished Birds, I didn’t understand what her role was. I mean, it was explained relatively early on that she was the founder of the colonies in space, and she invented the engine that allowed space travel. But I didn’t know why her backstory was being told. It didn’t go with the flow of Nia’s story. Even when her story was brought to the present, I still wondered: “Why?” I also wondered why she was so invested in Ahro. It was explained, and it didn’t show her in a good light.

I loved Ahro. I loved seeing his character growth throughout the book. I wasn’t prepared for what his secret was, though. I honestly thought that it had something to do with music and his affinity for it. So, when it was revealed, I was shocked. I loved watching his relationship with Nia and her crew grow, which made what happened and who caused it such a shock.

I do wish that more time had been spent on the times they visited the planets. There were so many locations!!! All exotic and all made me want more. But that didn’t happen.

I wasn’t a fan of the last half of the book. I had questions about what was going to happen to Nia and Ahro once the dust settles. I also had questions about Fumiko. I can only assume what happened to her. And then there is the question about where Ahro originally came from and who The Kind One was.

I would give The Vanished Birds 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 am on the fence if I would reread The Vanished Birds. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Fever (Dark Kings: Book 16) by Donna Grant

Fever: A Dark Kings Novel by [Grant, Donna]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: October 29th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Series: Dark Kings

Dark Craving—Book 0.1

Night’s Awakening—Book 0.2

Dawn’s Desire—Book 0.3

Passion’s Claim—Book 0.4

Darkest Flame—Book 1

Fire Rising—Book 2

Burning Desire—Book 3

Hot Blooded—Book 4

Night’s Blaze—Book 5

Soul Scorched—Book 6

Dragon King—Book 6.5

Passion Ignites—Book 7

Smoldering Hunger—Book 8

Smoke and Fire—Book 9

Dragon Fever—Book 9.5

Firestorm—Book 10

Blaze—Book 11

Dragon Burn—Book 11.5

Constantine: A History—Book 11.6

Heat—Book 12 (Review Here)

Torched—Book 13

Dragon Night—Book 13.5

Dragonfire—Book 14 (Review Here)

Dragon Claimed—Book 14.5

Ignite—Book 15 (Review Here)

Fever—Book 16

Where you can find Fever: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

His kiss was fire and passion. She shivered, wondering how he knew just how to touch her, to send her spiraling into an abyss of pleasure…

For centuries, the Dragon Kings have lived among mortals, forsaking their true selves. But for Kelton, hiding in the realm of shadows—and existing only in the world of dreams—is no longer an option. A human woman claims to know that he, like other dark warriors of his kind, is real. That the legends about these powerful, seductive men with hearts ablaze are true. And that, with just one embrace, Kelton could destroy her…or love her until the end of time.

Bernadette Davies is an anthropologist who knows better than to fall into the arms of a Dragon King. But how can she resist Kelton when he’s so willing to share his secrets and bear his soul? He hasn’t met a beautiful, trustworthy woman like Bernadette in…forever. But once they give into their mutual desire, their worlds will never be the same. Soon Bernadette must face her dilemma: Should she expose the truth about Kelton in the name of science? Or join him in his battle with the dark forces—in the name of love?

First Line:

Dragons are real.

Fever by Donna Grant

My Review:

When I finished Ignite, I was curious about who the next book was going to be about. I knew it wasn’t Con, because Ub*tch had him, so I figured it was Kelton. As for the woman, that was left up in the air. So, I wasn’t surprised when Kelton was the first person mentioned. I was surprised at who his mate was and how he met her.

Fever was an exciting book to read. I was expecting more of a filler book, like Ignite. To my surprise, Fever ended up being so much more. Not only was it Kelton/Bernadette’s romance, but there was a progression with all the major storylines – Con/Ub*tch storyline, the storyline with Rhi, the Dark Fae storyline and the storyline with The Others.

I wasn’t too sure about Bernadette. Like the Dragon Kings, I thought that she was getting her information from someone. I figured it was a disgruntled someone. But I wasn’t expecting it to be Ub*tch. Her sudden decision to go to Dreagan also raised my red flags, as did her immediate attraction to Kelton. But after her heart to heart with him and seeing exactly how Ub*tch destroyed Bernadette’s life made any reservations I had towards her go away. What Ub*tch did to her in this book was awful. Which lead me to wonder, exactly what did Ub*tch know about Bernadette? I also wanted to know why Rhi was so drawn to her. I have a feeling I know why, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. All I will say that if I am right, that is a HUGE bombshell!!

I loved Kelton. He was willing to do whatever it took to find out who was leaking Bernadette. But when Bernadette showed up at Dreagan, he decided to be honest with her. He didn’t expect to fall in love. I loved how honest he was about his struggle with Con’s decision to send the dragons home. Once he determined that Ub*tch was using Bernadette, he was going to do anything to protect her, which included sending her back to that conniving evil witch. I did get a laugh over his complete denial of his feelings for Bernadette. Typical alpha male right there.

Bernadette and Kelton had major sexual chemistry and sexual attraction from the beginning. That translated into some seriously hot sex scenes. I did feel let down when they figured out that Ub*tch spelled Bernadette to attract a Dragon King (ie, Kelton). I had a brief moment of panic that those impressive sex scenes I read were magically induced. Thankfully, the author cleared that up fast.

I am glad that Rhi made more of an appearance in Fever. Like I said above, I have a theory of why she was so drawn to Bernadette. Also, her struggle with the dark was so much more pronounced in Fever. I felt terrible for her.

I couldn’t stand Ub*tch. What she did to Bernadette (the blood spell) was wrong. What she was doing Xanth was wrong also. That poor man. She tortured him!! What happened at the end of the book was terrific, but I wish there were closure!!!

I didn’t understand why Death and the Reapers weren’t getting involved with what was going on in Fever. I started to get irritated because Death made such a big deal about Ub*tch being taken down. But, there was a scene towards the end of the book that made me go “Hrrrmmmm.” Made me wonder what the author has in store for that storyline!!

The Dark Fae storyline (with Balladyn) surprised me. I was NOT expecting what happened to happen. I put the book down and said: “Holy crap, that just DIDN’T happen!!!

The storyline with Con and Ub*tch had me going. I didn’t know what to think about what was going on. All I could think was that it wasn’t good.

The storyline with Henry and Melisse fascinated me. Precisely who is Melisse, and what does she want with Henry? I cannot wait to read the next book.

I would give Fever 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 Fever. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Amy’s Square by Dominic Schunker

Amy's Square by [Schunker, Dominic]

4 Stars

Publisher: Off World Publishing

Date of publication: October 1st, 2019

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find Amy’s Square: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The world continues to let children die every day from thirst and starvation, poisoned water and disease, and the world continues to let the Earth die.

A man, destroyed by the desertion of his wife, comes out the other side and finds a mission. It’s bold. It’s crazy. He’s not totally sure what’s at the end of it but he has to follow it. It’s a terrifying leap away from his world but it ends up being a mission to rescue the very substance of life.

From the ancient Aztecs to the Moroccan desert, Spanish highways to the remote fields of Russia, clues appear, people die and someone gets ever closer to him.

The children, the generation who must eventually find the answer, silently guide him to the truth.

And it’s a truth that will change everything.

First Line:

It’s only when a mosquito lands on your balls do you learn to resolve your conflict without violence

Amy’s Square by Dominic Schunker

My Review:

When I read the blurb for Amy’s Square, my initial first impression was that this book was going to be a book like The DaVinci Code. Since I liked The DaVinci Code, I decided that I would read Amy’s Square.

Amy’s Square’s plotline took a while to get going. It crept, which I didn’t enjoy. I understood that the author was world and character building, but I wanted it to go faster. When the book finally did get moving, about halfway through the book, it flew along.

Another issue that I had with Amy’s Square is that it was filled with British slang. At first, it confused me (and my phone got a workout from Googling it), but I got used to it.

I pitied Abe for the first half of the book. I couldn’t imagine being dumped the way he was. No wonder he was a mess!! I would have been too. Then the second half of the book came around, and I loved him. When he got his diagnosis, he decided to live. That included spying on a company called xLight and refinding love.

The author didn’t get into xLight. What was explained as it was a huge corporation that had its hand in some bad things that were happening. On the one hand, I wished that he told it, but on the other hand, I loved the mystery.

The end of Amy’s Square had a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming. The first one left me with my mouth open, but the second one made me put my book down and say, “NO!!!!”.

I would give Amy’s Square 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 Amy’s Square. I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

Letters from Angels by Dominic Schunker

Letters from Angels by [Schunker, Dominic]

3 Stars

Publisher: Offworld Publishing

Date of publication: July 7th, 2019

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find Letters from Angels: Amazon | BookBub

Book synopsis:

There’s something very wrong with the world. A strange mist settles everywhere. It seems to be causing more than the usual horrors humans like to inflict on themselves, like an organising of those horrors into a plan to end them.

A Preacher with a past challenging his faith and a renowned Ufologist learn something evil is controlling it. They’re being shown signs to discover who it is but what is it?

Is it an alien hybrid, installed for a long-overdue alien takeover and terraforming of Planet Earth?

Or is it the Biblical antichrist, fulfilling its apocryphal destiny?

If they can figure out what it is, maybe they can learn how to defeat it.

Thing is, it’s not easy. The signs of abduction and demonic possession are the same. Descriptions of aliens and biblical demons are the same. 

There’s nothing obvious presenting itself but there’s something about the number 37 that seems to have an answer. There is hope.

Meanwhile, the rest of humanity appears to be falling right into its trap. 

One way or another, the end of the world is indeed nigh and humans are not required. 

Eventually, the only solution is the most unlikely solution.

But it’s all they’ve got.

First Line:

It really was a stupidly hot 11am in the little wooden church of St. John the Baptist, in the scrubs outside Booker.

Letters from Angels by Dominic Schunker

My Review:

When I started reading Letters from Angels, I was expecting a cut and dry book about four people thwarting the end of the world. I was looking forward to reading it. The blurb sparked my interest. But, having read the book, I can say that it wasn’t something that I would have read on my own.

The plot for Letters from Angels was interesting. A preacher and a Ufologist are brought together by a time-traveling couple to help them defeat the Antichrist. The only problem is that they need to find out how to defeat him and save the world.

The main characters were wonderfully written, and I enjoyed reading about their escapes. But I couldn’t connect with them. I didn’t feel that connection with any of the main characters. Which saddened me because I thought that they were well written and had interesting backstories.

The plotline was also well written. It did take some time to get going, but once it got up to speed, it didn’t stop. There were a few lags in the plotline, but the plot got back on track. I also liked how the foursome went about defeating the Antichrist.

The end of Letters from Angels was confusing. I ended up rereading the last few chapters because I wasn’t sure what was going on or what happened.

I would give Letters From Angels 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 am on the fence if I would reread Letters From Angels.  I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

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

The Shadowverse by John-Clement Gallo

The Shadowverse: A YA Sci-Fi Superhero Adventure by [Gallo, John-Clement, Gallo, Francesca]

4 Stars


Date of publication: November 20th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy, Christian

Where you can find The Shadowverse: Amazon | BookBub

Book synopsis:

Regarded as “captivating” and “one-of-a-kind,” The Shadowverse is a Science-Fiction Superhero thriller with hints of the Young Adult genre. It is a story of destiny—that no matter who you are, where you are, or what your past is like, you can always achieve greatness. 

Johnny Sparks longs for a greater purpose. After an encounter with a mysterious stranger, he and his friends are imbued with incredible powers—at last giving his life meaning. 

But this dream soon disintegrates once one of the friends is taken by an alien warlord named Titan. In a rescue effort, the remaining group is sent across the galaxy in search of the only possible aid—an ancient, immortal warrior missing for centuries. 

To succeed, the team must join forces to reclaim their friend and stop a sinister scheme devised against humanity by Titan and his empire. The conflict for the soul of the universe is set in motion, but even if the group prevails, they risk losing what it means to be human.

First Line:

There was only darkness.

The Shadowverse by John-Clement Gallo

My Review

While I like science fiction, I have been moving away reading it. They all seemed to follow the same plotline, and I was getting bored reading them. So, when the author of The Shadowverse approached me to review his book, I almost didn’t accept it. But there was something about the blurb that made me think twice. I am glad that I did because this was a fantastic read!!

The Shadowverse was an interesting combination of science fiction, fantasy, and Christian literature. I have read this combination before, and it fell flat. But not The Shadowverse. The author was able to meld all three genres’ together wonderfully. I loved it.

I did like the plotline of The Shadowverse, but there were times where I found that it got choppy. Like when the author went into Rose/Adira’s background. Her backstory didn’t meld well into the main story. There were other, smaller instances, but Rose’s stood out the most in the book. Other than that, I did like the plotline. It was fast paced and well written.

The characters in The Shadowverse was some of the more unique ones that I have read in a book. What I liked the most about these characters was that the author was able to make me feel pity and sympathy for the main bad guys (Titan and Solis). Of course, that sympathy waned throughout the book. But still.

The main plotline was interesting. I enjoyed seeing the kids learning about their powers. They did everything that I expected kids that age to do if they found out that they had powers. I enjoyed seeing the different planets that the kids visited as they tracked down Titan. I also enjoyed seeing their interactions with Sonovan. And the training. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with that!!

The last battle, between The Shadowforce and Titan, was epic. The aftermath of the fight was heartbreaking. My heart was in my throat when during those scenes. The aftermath of the fight was heartbreaking. I cried right along with Johnny and Sam. I also needed to know who Z was. The clue given at the end of the book makes me wonder if the answer was right under my nose!!!

I would give The Shadowverse an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

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

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

Darwin’s Cipher by M.A. Rothman

Darwin's Cipher by [Rothman, M.A.]

4 Stars


Date of publication: February 18th, 2019

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Where you can find Darwin’s Cipher: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

Juan Gutierrez, a cancer researcher, has spent years studying the genome of animals that exhibit immunity to some types of cancer. Over the course of his study, Juan discovers a pattern that allows him to predict the course of a species’ evolution across thousands of generations.

Using the algorithm he’s developed from the pattern, Juan uncovers what he believes to be the key to conquering humanity’s susceptibility to cancer.

Others are interested in using what Juan has dubbed “Darwin’s Cipher,” however, instead of cancer research, they see very different applications for the new genetic algorithm.

Nate Carrington, an FBI forensic analyst has been struggling with several cold cases when he’s alerted to an incident at a nearby ranch. It’s a case of a newborn calf who is found in the middle of a herd of dead cattle. It provides a single link to Nate’s other cold cases: the DNA analysis of the calf doesn’t match anything in the FBI’s database.

Somewhere in a rural hospital in West Virginia, four hospital workers are dead and a newborn child has been transported to the NIH’s level-4 bio-containment unit.

It’s only when the NIH sends out an alert to all hospitals and law enforcement agencies that the world realizes the danger that faces them.

My review:

I am not a medical thriller fan. I haven’t read a book in this genre that I liked. So when I was approached with an invite to review Darwin’s Cipher, I was hesitant. But then I read the blurb, and my interest was caught. So I accepted. I am happy I did because this book was fantastic.

The plot with Juan made me both angry and sad at the same time. I was sad because he poured his life into researching a cure for cancer. I was mad because people were using his research in the wrong ways. I was interested in seeing what went on behind the scenes in a research lab. The author was able to capture the sacrifices researches make in their quest to find a cure.

The plotline involving Nate and his investigation was interesting. It was interesting to see what he was going up against in his investigation. The scene where the evidence disappeared from the locker was huge. Like he said, how does evidence disappear from a protected federal agency?

Frank and Katie’s plotline showed a 3rd side to what was going on. It was refreshing to see everything happen from a regular person’s point of view. Every thing that Frank, and then Katie went through, horrified me. Even now, I get shivers thinking about it.

All the main characters in Darwin’s Cipher were well written. I was able to form a connection to them. They were 3d. Everytime I thought I had a character figured out, another layer would be revealed. Loved it.

Out of the three main characters, I’d have to say that I liked Katie the best. She was an ordinary woman caught up in something that bigger than her. Her actions and reactions would be close to what I would do. I also liked how her character developed throughout the book. She started as an immature girl and ended up as a mature woman.

Juan was a force of nature in this book. He was passionate about his research. The author did a fantastic job of portraying that. He sacrificed so much to get where he was. My only fault with him was that he had tunnel vision about his career. But, that passion came in handy at the end of the book.

Nate was the only character in the book that I felt I could have gotten to know better. Still, I liked him.

The secondary characters in Darwin’s Cipher added depth to the book. I will include the dog in with the secondary characters. Not saying why. Need to read the book to find out.

The bad guys gave me chills. While I understood why one of the bad guys did what he did, I couldn’t get past it. The other bad guys were evil. There were surprises about them, though. A couple of people who I thought were in on it wasn’t. And a person who I thought was on Juan’s side wasn’t.

Darwin’s Cipher does get technical. I don’t even begin to understand lab procedures. There was also technical jargon that made me go “huh.” I was able to google/use my Kindle dictionary to look that stuff up.

I wasn’t a fan of the Juan/Katie romance in the book. It did make sense at the end of the book. It fueled Juan to do what he did. But, I didn’t like it.

The end of Darwin’s Cipher was a nail biter for me. The author had everything happening so quickly that I almost couldn’t keep up reading. I had to reread pages so I could process what was happening. The way the book ended had me wondering if there was going to be another book.

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

I would reread Darwin’s Cipher. I would also reccomend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Darwin’s Cipher.

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

Have you read Darwin’s Cipher?

What are your thoughts on it?

Let me know!!

If, Then by Kate Hope Day

If, Then

3 Stars

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

Date of publication: March 12th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction, Science Fiction

Where you can find If, Then: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

The residents of a sleepy mountain town are rocked by troubling visions of an alternate reality in this dazzling debut that combines the family-driven suspense of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere with the inventive storytelling of The Immortalists.

In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful co-worker in Ginny’s own bed and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny’s husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she’s on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career.

At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing—and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same.

Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies—the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.

My review

If, Then is the story of 4 neighbors in the town of Clearing, Oregon. Mark is a wildlife scientist. Ginny is a successful surgeon. Samara is still grieving over the death of her mother. Cass is a scholar who is struggling to adjust to being a mother. Each of them has a vision. Mark’s vision, which consists of him living in a tent in the woods, makes him paranoid. Ginny sees herself in a relationship with a coworker. Samara sees her mother alive. Cass sees herself pregnant…again. The visions start coming more until the people affected start questioning their sanity. Why are they having these visions?

I started off liking If, Then. The author did a great job at setting the groundwork for a great book. Each character (and secondary characters) was relatable in their own way. I was fine with the book until halfway through. Then the book went a different direction. It was that sudden change in the plotline that made me go “Eh?“. I actually had to reread several chapters to understand what I was reading. I do not like when I have to do that.

Like I mentioned above, I liked the characters at the beginning of the book. Each character was relatable and likable. Even when things started to get weird (and man, did they), I still liked them. If I had to pick one who wasn’t a favorite, it was Ginny. She couldn’t make up her mind who she wanted to be with. I wanted to shake her.

I got lost reading the plotline during the 2nd half of the book. What made me lost was Cass’s storyline and the storyline with Other Mark. I had questions about both storylines there were not answered. I can’t get into what they were here but they were legitimate. I also found the main storyline a bit much.

The end of the book seemed rushed. While I am glad that everything worked out, it seemed too pat and a little rushed. I was almost hoping for someone not to have a happy ending. That would have changed things up a little bit.

I gave If, Then a 3-star rating. The book had a great start. It had a great plotline and characters that I could connect with. But, I found the book couldn’t hold my attention after the middle of the book. I got lost reading it and had to reread chapters to make sure I understood what was going on. The characters, for the most part, did stay relatable and likable. I thought that the end of the book was rushed.

I would give If, Then an Adult rating. There is sex (nothing graphic but you knew when the characters were going at it). There is mild violence. There is language. There are triggers. They would be the death of a parent, cheating and divorce. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review If, Then.

All opinions stated in this review of If, Then are mine.

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

Have you read If, Then?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!