BLOG TOUR|Deadly Shadow – Kim Cresswell *Review & Giveaway*

Hi everyone!

I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Deadly Shadow by Kim Cresswell. I had the opportunity to read and review the book. There is also a giveaway, so don’t forget to enter.


Deadly Shadow
The Assassin Chronicles Book 1
by Kim Cresswell
Genre: Paranormal Suspense Thriller

The Assassin Chronicles TV series is in development with Council Tree Productions.

Two recent murders. Two serial killers. A conspiracy that reaches beyond the physical world.

Consumed with grief over the tragic death of her husband, FBI agent Victory McClane is obsessed with finding Ohio’s serial killer, “The Wrapper”.

When another young woman turns up dead and the victim is linked to Derrick Lynn, son of the Secretary of Defense, Victory finds Derrick has all the right answers and is a little too helpful.

Derrick has a secret: He’s a government assassin who uses his unusual paranormal skills to eliminate targets. Determined to keep his own secrets buried, he offers to help find The Wrapper.

But can Victory trust him?

As the body count rises, Victory must cross a dangerous line–into a world of government cover-ups, murder, and betrayal–a decision that will test her limits. And everything she believes in.

The battle between good and evil begins! Deadly Shadow is the first book in the gripping paranormal/supernatural thriller series, an action-packed blend of suspense and mystery for detective and crime book lovers.

Goodreads|Amazon

Book Trailer


Review:

This was a really great paranormal suspense novel. I got a Criminal Minds vibe from Victory and the two crimes she tries to solve through the novel. Added on top of that were some pretty awesome paranormal abilities.

Victory is a great lead character. She is smart, confident and compassionate. She leads a very difficult life, dealing with loss and grief, on top of two separate and seemingly unsolvable serial killer cases. She is able to compartmentalize all of the stress so that her appearance to the outside world is confident, but she really does take her work home at night.

I liked Derrick enough, but I didn’t get a ton of information on his personality. More of his character traits are revealed toward the end of the book, but I guess he was a little difficult to like in the beginning.

The two separate cases, The Shadow and The Wrapper were seamlessly woven together. Given the extreme differences between the two, I enjoyed the fact that I was never confused, and many of the questions I had were answered without any plot holes. There is still enough mystery to make me really excited to read the next book in the series.

Wrap-Up:

Overall, I really enjoyed this read. I enjoyed the main character, the suspense, and the satisfying ending that wasn’t left on an infuriating cliff hanger but still was open enough for a ton of material for the next book!

Rating:

4/5☆


Excerpt:

Within the hour, Derrick Lynn would kill his next target, a popular radio host known as ‘Big Mouth’ Bullington. He didn’t want or need any specifics about the target, only who and when. He’d learned a long time ago to keep that distance to make his job a lot easier to deal with. Never women or children. Never a non-target—which at times took an incredible amount of self-control. More than anyone could imagine.

Like his grandfather and father, he could move about in real-time, watching people and events while his physical body remained asleep. The paranormal freaks called it Etheric travel. But his real gift was psychokinesis, a gift very few in the world had. He used his mind to move objects. It came in damn handy, turning anything and everything into a deadly weapon.

For over twenty years he’d evaded the authorities—in particular FBI Agent Victory McClane. And he was hell-bent on keeping it that way, no matter the cost.

In the large soundproof bedroom, Derrick laid on his back in his king-size bed, looking up at the ceiling with his hands clasped behind his head. Silk sheets covered his legs and, barely, his groin. The only light in the room came from the eerie glow radiating from the cell phone cradled in its charger on the nightstand next to his laptop. He glanced at the studio headshot of Eddie Bullington filling the phone’s screen as the podcast of the man’s radio show played at mid-volume.

“… and while it’s a bunch of bull that Republicans work to keep the Black man down…”

His eyes shifted to the bathroom doorway to his dinner companion, Alessandra, a thirty-something runway model with long blonde hair and voguish features. She straightened her white blouse over her black skirt then put her hoop earrings back on. Alessandra shot him a soft smile and grabbed the silver faux-fur coat laying on the end of the bed. Before leaving she bent and kissed him, her lips warm against his. Derrick closed his eyes as Bullington’s podcast droned on.

“… if you think the Dems are squeaky clean then I’ve got some prime Louisiana property for you. Those Limousine Liberals keep their boots pressed against the back of our necks, pretending to be on the side of equality and justice…”

He inhaled and exhaled slowly a dozen times and visualized his target’s bedroom. His body felt light, floating. Before losing consciousness, he jerked himself awake, then let himself go under again. Deeper into a half-sleep state, he felt as if he were bobbing in a boat. As the rocking intensified, high-pitched ringing sounded in his ears and his limbs vibrated and buzzed like a bee’s nest. He left the physical plane, his astral body flying.

✽✽✽

Eddie Bullington stood in the shower. Steaming hot water pulsated hard against the back of his shoulder blades. The “God Bless America” Muzak-like ringtone blasted from the phone sitting on the counter next to the double sink. He shut the water off, stepped out of the shower stall, and grabbed his regal-looking red and gold bathrobe from the back of the door. He quickly slipped it on and answered the call.

“Let me guess, Sid. You want to talk about last week’s show.”

“Sure do. Ratings are down five-percent from last quarter. That’s a cause for concern.”

“Just relax, okay? Anything else or are you going to keep on complaining about the same old thing?”

“Five percent is a big deal, Eddie.”

“Go to bed, Sid. I got this. I’ll be in a little earlier than usual for the show.” Eddie disconnected and shook his head.

His producer, Sid Moller, was a pain on a good day. Eddie didn’t feel like dealing with the man’s silliness. His ratings were fine. He was still the top radio host in the United States, his shows syndicated on four continents.

With the phone clutched in his hand, he strolled barefoot into the spacious antechamber located next to his bedroom and flopped down into the extra-wide recliner. After setting the phone on the end table he picked up the TV remote, along with a half bag of Cheetos. He flicked on the TV to watch the latest episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and dug into the snack bag.

✽✽✽

Derrick’s eyelids fluttered. Blackness. Then a long, dark tunnel emerged and grew wider. Sounds, natural and alien, came and went as a frantic rush of lights, faces, and places blazed toward him. He bobbed and weaved. Images, some distinct, others not, warped and flew toward him, through him, past him. The sounds and images intensified. Then they stopped. He was in Bullington’s bedroom.

✽✽✽

Derrick stood behind Eddie, his naked body blurry and silhouetted in shadow. The room was filled with over-stuffed antique furniture, gaudy gold and green patterned drapes, and a Victorian rug in various hideous shades of red and pink. A mounted rhinoceros head glared down at it all.

His eyes shifted to the end table, then to Eddie’s phone. He trembled. Sweat dripped from his forehead and ran down the sides of his face. His gaze moved to the colorful ad for gold on the TV screen while the male announcer excitedly implored viewers to act now because there has never been a better time to buy. Derrick directed his energy at the end table drawer. It quietly eased open. Inside was a Baby Glock. He concentrated harder, staring, focusing as much energy as he could at the weapon.

The gun twitched. And turned. And rose from the drawer. The barrel moved within an inch from Bullington’s right temple.

Eddie twisted his head as if sensing something was about to happen. “What the—”

An angry gunshot cracked.

Blood, bone, and brain matter splattered and sprayed across the room. Various colored fluids and small lumps ran down the TV from a splotch at the top of the screen.

Derrick grunted. The gun traveled back to the end table and the drawer slammed shut.

✽✽✽

Derrick’s physical body and astral body snapped together like strong magnets, slamming him back into the bed. His body jerked. Intermittent banging and dinging invaded his head. Then the familiar headache kicked in. Like an elastic band tight around his forehead, traveling down the base of his skull. His eyes jolted open. He stared for a long moment, disoriented, before slowly sitting up in bed. Bullington’s podcast continued to play.

“… oh, yeah. Give them freedom then lock them up in prison cages for years. That’s all I’m saying. Thanks for tuning in.”

Once he got his bearings, Derrick grabbed his laptop from the nightstand and opened the lid. The brilliant screen illuminated his tense face as it booted up.

He opened a new email and typed “task completed”, encrypted the data, then tapped the “send” button. It would only be a matter of seconds before he received confirmation that the payment had been transferred to his account at the Panama National Bank under the name, Miles McGrath. A million dollars. Not bad for less than two hours work including surveillance. A soft beep. Then a message popped up on the screen.

((0400TCHCLVGHEPUOFJJHPLJO7IAJKHBG2NDLF))

With a couple of keystrokes, he ran the special decryption software he’d been given, and within seconds the garbled message became readable.

Fee transferred. Face-to-face requested

He shut down the laptop and wondered why his contact had requested meeting in person. His face reflected on the black screen, yet his blue eyes shone.


About the Author:

Kim Cresswell is the award-winning Canadian author of the action-paxked Whitney Steel series. Kim recently signed a 3-book translation deal with LUZIFER Verlag for the first three books in the series: Reflection, Retribution, and Ressurect. The popular series will be published in German beginning in 2018. Her novel, Reflection m, has won numerous awards and the book trailer was featured online at USA Today.

She has also published two Kindle Worlds novellas (Jet: Oblivion, Jet: Duplicity), featuring characters from her Whitney Steel series and JET from Russell Blake’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling JET action thriller series.

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Giveaway

3 Audiobooks: The Whitney Steel Trilogy at Audible.com ($59.85 value)

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BLOG TOUR|Raven’s Ghost – R.L. Weeks *Review & Giveaway*

Hi everyone!

I’m excited to share all the info you need about these great books! I had the opportunity to review both books, and there is a giveaway at the end. Don’t forget to enter. 😊


Raven’s Sight
Raven’s Shadow Book 1
by R.L. Weeks
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery

Award Winning author, R. L. Weeks, brings you Raven’s Sight – a Young Adult Victorian Paranormal Mystery. Book One can be read as a standalone and as part of the series.

Raven looks out over the small, industrial town of Cogsworth and imagines a life beyond the confines of her Grandmother’s mansion.

However, Raven holds a dark secret that prevents her from leaving. One which comes to light after her father’s untimely death. Now an orphan, Raven must do her best to hide her gifts of sight if she’s to survive the cruel Victorian society she lives in.

However, when a ghost of a child comes to her for help, Raven finds herself in the gas lit streets of London, on the trail of a female serial killer. As she tries to solve the string of murders, she realizes that the murders are almost identical to those from a case left unsolved years before she was born.

In a race against time, Raven is thrown into a world she doesn’t know. With her crush, Tom, now a ghost, her friend, Emmett, now a suspect, and an uncle who runs illicit groups and hates women, Raven will have to unravel the mysteries quickly before she becomes their next victim.

Goodreads|Amazon

Review:

This is a truly entertaining YA mystery, set in the Victorian era. I love the descriptions of the settings, wardrobes, carriages, etc. Every piece helped make the story believable and it really felt like I was there, seeing the action.

I am not always the biggest fan of first person, present tense POVs. I sometimes have a hard time connecting to the character. I didn’t have that issue with this book. The POV served to move the plot forward and didn’t distract me one bit.

I fell in love with Raven from the beginning. I enjoyed her bits of sarcasm even though she grew up not knowing much of anything about the world. Her lack of knowledge, however, did not hold her back. While there were a few times she was a “damsal in distress,” she quickly grew into herself and was able to courageously make decisions to solve the mystery and learn of her gift.

The mystery was fantastically written. I was taken on a real journey, full of twists and turns and I was just as shocked as the characters when the reveal came. I love these types of mysteries and I enjoyed the blend of paranormal as well.

Wrap-Up:

Raven’s Sight is mysterious and intriguing novel. I loved the setting and the characters, and of course the mystery was solid.

Rating:

5/5☆

Excerpt:

November 27th, 1861

I sit at the stool and marvel at the mahogany structure in front of me. Father converted our spare room into a music room two years ago. Father loves to play the piano. I mean, he loved to play the piano and no longer loves, for he no longer is. Like everyone else in my family, apart from Grandmother and my uncle, he is dead.

I lift the heavy lid, and a row of ivory keys greet me. Father ensured that our piano had a cast iron frame installed when it was bought. According to him, it gives a more powerful sound. Father was a very smart man.

I suck in a deep breath and dangle my legs off the stool. I tap the heels of my black, shiny shoes together. My feet can almost reach the ground now. Soon, I will be nine years old, and I will be able to play the piano much better than Lissy, who lives down the road. Although, her mother doesn’t want her playing with me anymore. Apparently, I’m weird.

Tears blur my vision as I realise for the first time that I will be turning nine without Father. I miss his sparkling blue eyes and “moments of madness,” as Grandmother called them. Father is…I mean, was, the owner of a wool factory. Father said that his factory was one of the first to recognise a union, whatever that is, and his workers were paid fairly. He was very proud of his factory which is now owned his adopted brother who I’ve never met. All the workers live in small houses in our small town of Cogsworth.

I used to sneak off and look at the factory after school. Sparks and flames would light up the sky that had been darkened by smoke from the chimneys. I used to watch the children that worked at his factory sit on the old wooden fence and eat their dinners before going back to finish their long day.

I look down at my little fingers and wonder if I will be put to work now that he is dead. Grandmother says not to worry, that father has left us more than enough money and that we have enough to last us for the rest of our lives, but I am much younger than her.

I must find a good husband when I am grown up. I just hope Grandmother lives long enough for me to marry. If not, I may end up desperate and poor, without anything in the world. I am, after all, an orphan now, and world is not kind to orphans. I know this much from the books I sneak from Grandmother’s shelves. You see, Grandmother always hides the harsh truths from me, unlike Father, who always told me the truth, even when I didn’t want to hear it. He always said that the most important gifts he had been graced with by God were his integrity and honest tongue. I look up at the door and smile at him.

“My dear,” my grandmother says crisply. She walks through Father and sits on the futon. “I know it has been hard with losing both your parents in one year, but you still have me, and I will always be here for you.”

I give her a “mmm” and hover my fingers over the keys of the piano. I don’t want to talk about my parent’s deaths right now. I don’t have time. “I am about to play a song.”

Her thin lips crack into a small smile. She nods for me to play, but the song is not for her. It is for Father. He has been standing in the doorway waiting for me to play for almost ten minutes. He is almost transparent and taps his watch, pushing me to hurry.

What if I do not play my goodbye well enough for him? How can I put all the words and memories I wished for us to have into just one small song? I elaborate when she does not leave. “I am playing a song for Father, not you. I must make sure I get it right. I want to play it only for his ears.”

Her eyes, a paler blue than mine or Father’s, widen. “Raven…” She pauses and fiddles with the cameo necklace around her neck. “Your father, my poor son, is not coming back. He is with God now. I have told you this. You must accept it.”

I shake my head and look at Father. He tilts his head slightly to the left and drops his arms to his side. “No Grandmother. Father is standing right there. He has to go soon, but he is waiting for me to play for him.”

I press down three keys and hold my breath so I do not tremble. I start the lullaby that I used to play with Father. I have decided that it is most appropriate; it will be a goodnight to him and my life with him.

Grandmother marches over to me and grabs my arm. I miss a note and look up at her furiously.

“No!” I shout and fall off the stool. I try to wriggle free, but she pulls me across the cold floorboards.

“No! Grandmother, please. I must finish!”

“Stop being ridiculous, Raven. There are no such things as ghosts.”

I pull down on her fingers and accidentally pull off her wedding ring. I grasp it in my sweaty palms. I see Father look sadly at us before turning away.

“No! Father, No!” I look at the door with desperation as he fades away. “Father!” I scream. Grandmother’s grip remains tight on my arm, and I pull with all my might. “I hate you. You made him leave.” A lump forms in my throat as despair grips me. “He’s gone.”

“Enough, child,” she says and tightens her grip.

I kick my legs and scream and scream until my screams are silent. I feel nothing but rage as I kneel on the floorboards holding Grandmother’s ring.<

Suddenly, the room twists around me, and everything fades to black. The room looks different. The walls are plastered with cream paper instead of the normal pale blue and gold.

Grandmother sits with my dead grandfather. They both look younger. A boy plays on the floor with a wooden horse. He is only four of five years old. His eyes sparkle with the same blue color as Father’s. Grandmother plays with her wedding ring. I look down at the same ring in my hand, and my eyebrows knit together.

The boy runs out of the room with a mischievous smile. Grandmother runs after him, laughing. “Jameson, get back here,” she says through her laughter. The memory fades from me as I feel the ring topple from my hand onto the floorboards.

“Raven?”

I open my eyes and look into my Grandmother’s hard expression.

“Raven, are you okay?” Tears have formed in her eyes. I can feel the pain from where her nails were digging into me.

“You seemed happier when you ran after Father in this room. When he was a boy,” I said in clarification.

Grandmother’s worried expression is replaced with one I have never seen on her: fear. “You and your imagination.”

I pick up her ring and give it back to her. I stand up and rub my arm. “I saw it. He was playing with a wooden horse. I think it was real,” I say. I am as confused by the memory as she is. “It felt real.”

The colour leaves her face. “He must have told you about the wooden horse.”

I shake my head.

“This is the last time we can let this happen.” Strands of her hair have freed themselves from her tight bun and now dangle wildly around her face. “Nora!” She calls for our maid.

I look at her as she runs in the room, looking flushed. “Yes, Ma’am.”

“Take Raven to her room and do not let anyone in the house,” Grandmother orders.

Nora Bonetta, whose skin is much darker than ours, looks at me curiously. “Is the child okay?”

Grandmother paces around in a circle. “I have seen this happen before, and it is happening again. We cannot have another Alice,” she says and stops in front of me. She pushes me over to Nora. “We must not let her out the house. If anyone finds out what she is…”

Nora nods, seeming to understand what I do not. Who is this girl—I have forgotten her name already—that we cannot have another of, and what am I?

******************

Raven’s Ghost
Raven’s Shadow Book 2
by R.L. Weeks
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery

Award Winning author, R. L. Weeks, brings you Raven’s Ghost – Book Two in the Young Adult Victorian Paranormal Mystery Series.

Another serial killer is raising hell on the streets of London and Raven believes it’s all her fault. All the victims have blonde hair and blue eyes like her, and the killer is none other than her uncle.

His mind had been warped and twisted by heartbreak and betrayal and his hatred for women is driving him to kill more and more each week.

Raven wants to stop him at all costs. However, there is one big problem standing in her way. No one can see, hear, or feel her.

With the help of her new friend, Elizabeth, and Emmett who is desperately trying to contact Raven’s Ghost, can Raven find her way back from the other side to save the world from the notorious serial killer?

Or will the Shadow Men, drawn back to their world by darkness, fade her away before she get’s the chance?

Goodreads|Amazom

Review:

I love where this series is headed. It has become much more paranormal in the second book, which only helps make this story more interesting. I love the addition of some real life history mixed in, it makes this so much more believable.

Sometimes second books feel like bridge books, not adding a lot of content, just bridging the first and second book together. This isn’t the case for Raven’s Ghost. I think the addition of more paranormal aspects and real life history gave this enough content to stand on its own.

I like that we were able to learn a bit more about Tom and Emmett. We got glimpses of them in Raven’s Sight, but we learn more about them this time around.

I’m still really enjoying the first person, present tense POV. I like being inside Raven’s head in real time. It really draws you in and keeps you interested the entire time.

Wrap-Up:

This series has me hooked, and I flew through both books. My only complaint is that this time around the story felt shorter. I just wanted more. I guess that isn’t really a complaint though. I just can’t wait for the next book!

Rating:

5/5☆


About the Author:

R L Weeks is the bestselling and award-winning author of the Dead Loves Life Series, Bloodlust, The Fallen, Willow Woods Academy for Witches, Cursed, and the owner of Enchanted Anthologies, publisher of Fractured Fairytales Books 1 & 2, A Deadly World: Vampires in Paris, Things Only the Darkness Knows, and Christmas Nightmares.She lives in a small village in the UK. When she’s not writing, she’s traveling, reading (paranormal, fantasy and horror being her go to genres) and designing covers for Dark Wish Designs.

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Giveaway:

$5 Amazon Gift Card

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The Phoenix Cycle by Bob Collopy *Blog Tour & Review*

Hi everyone!

I’m really excited to be part of this blog tour. I had the opportunity to read and review this fantastic book, and I’m happy to share my opinions.


About the Book

The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise
By Bob Collopy
Genre: Dystopian, New Adult, Sci-fi, (mature YA)

New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.

Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edingburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.

For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?


Review:

Wow! I’m super impressed with this book. I let it sink in for a bit before writing my review, because it is super complex and I needed time to process.

The Phoenix Cycle is one of those books that succeeds in multiple points of view, along with multiple concepts. The author was able to mix reality in with philosophy to create a story that required you, as a reader, to think.

I really loved the idea of mixing a world that is so focused on perfection, while living in ash and debris. It was interesting to switch back and forth to different characters, and watch how their decisions moved the plot along. This book has a unique concept, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this before.

I guess the only ‘negative,’ I have (and it isn’t really a negative), was that the book took me a while to read. Not because it was boring, but because I really needed time to digest the information and understand what I was reading. It was mildly frustrating in the beginning, because I found myself confused, but once I slowed down and allowed myself to really grasp what I was reading, my frustration was gone.

Wrap-Up:

The Phoenix Cycle is a philosophical, imaginative, and challenging read. It isn’t a book to fly through in a day, rather a book to sit with and really grasp. It’s a beautiful book, and I am so glad I was able to read it.

Rating:

5/5☆


About the Author

Bob Collopy was raised on southern values. A world of rigidity and blind faith. He was then moved to Sedona. A near cultlike world, grown from 1960’s flower children. He was then moved to Scottsdale. A world of extreme wealth and vice. He then went to college and joined a fraternity so notorious it was on national and world news multiple times.

Due to these shifts, Bob always found himself the the semilucid observer; constantly confused and adjusting to new and opposing sets of norms few cultures would ever call normal or even acceptable.

The city Bob has created is a blending of these intense and opposing cultures and the people trying to survive and conquer them.

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Gone by S.H. Love *Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway*

Hi everyone!

I’m excited to be part of the Blog Tour for Gone by S.H. Love! I had the chance to review Gone, there’s an excerpt to check out, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!


About the Book

Gone
by S.H. Love
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Rory Richards is self-absorbed and suicidal.

Over the last year, he has lost his job, has attempted suicide multiple times, and has gotten his relationship to the point where it is heading for divorce. Fed up with everything, Rory has accepted his fate.

When he wakes up from a failed suicide attempt, he learns that his wife, Maggie, has disappeared without a trace. Her car is found abandoned on the highway, miles away from home. Her purse and her cell phone are discovered in the trunk. There is no sign of Maggie.

All Rory can remember about the previous night is that the two had the fight of a lifetime. The dispute causes him to storm out of the house and steal prescription pills from his neighbors in an attempt to overdose.

After that, everything is a blur.

Maggie’s sudden disappearance becomes a mystery.

Was she kidnapped? Did she disappear on purpose?

To avoid coming across as insensitive, Rory plays the part of loving husband and attempts to find his wife. He gives an emotional plea on television, reaches out to the Missing Persons Network, and even hires a private investigator to gather information.

All of these actions are to show police that he is actively searching. Deep down, though, he just doesn’t care anymore. But, does Rory’s lack of affection mean that he is responsible for Maggie’s disappearance? Or will he serve as the unlikely hero who finds her?

What happened the night she disappeared?

Purchase Gone on Amazon


Review

Gone is told in first person and our narrator is Rory Richards. At first, I didn’t know how to feel about Rory. He is selfish, and he lies a lot. I felt conflicted because generally, you’re supposed to like the main character, but Rory got under my skin. And that, I think, was done on purpose by the author, and it was fantastic.

It’s been a while since I read a mystery, so I was immediately drawn in. I had my theories in the beginning, but I was blown away by the end. Obviously, I can’t really talk about my theories because I don’t want to spoil. Just trust me on this one, I didn’t see it coming.

Rory is the character we really get to know. We learn about Maggie through Rory, so we get kind of a blurred vision of who she really is. That’s the way we are introduced to all characters in the book, and it’s interesting to get Rory’s point of view and then try to decide what you think of the person.

I think the writing style is interesting. The only complaint I had, was sometimes, when we jumped back in time and then back to present day, I felt a little loss. Like there wasn’t enough of a cue to tell me we were back to the main story until a sentence later. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the way it was written.

Wrap-Up:

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. If you’re like me, Rory is going to irritate you, and then he’s going to draw you back in. It’s a fun ride, and I loved the mystery. I didn’t think it was predictable, and the ending blew me away.

Rating:

5/5☆


Excerpt

The taste of charcoal briquettes lined the inside of my mouth. It was chalky, almost sweet, but not in a good way. The charcoal’s texture was thick, pebbly tasting, and difficult to swallow. The sensation remained in my mouth and almost made me puke.

I had just woken up after what seemed like days. Months, really, the time just flew by. Just like that, it was gone. My brain was resting after a lifetime of activity, dreams creeping in, only to disappear again.

Body collapsed, exhaustion forcing me to nearly drift into another blackout, I inhaled quickly in order to stay conscious. Inhaling made my throat sore, the roughness scratching like sandpaper.

In and out, my mind went black, only to resolve to faint lights with warped images. Nothing really resonated inside, the time lapse unknown in my current state.

What day is it?

Where am I?

My eyes opened wide. Dried and strained, they focused on the ceiling. The drop ceiling tiles multiplied in front of me, expanding outward, adding four times the amount. Growing larger and then shrinking in a fast instant, the tiles kept going in and out of focus until they became clear. The mineral fibers absorbed all the ambient noise that surrounded me. Not that it mattered in my case. I was as laid up as one could get.

After a rush of constant blinking, my vision came into focus. The ceiling was again normal. Water stains shaped like countries struck out against the plain white tiles. Italy was to my left. Thailand was to the right. The United States’ forty-eight, it was as if the South had actually won the Civil War and had relocated to Africa. Stretched across one of the corners in the room was a thin spider web. Part of it was unattached and blowing from the air conditioner vent. The cold air pushing out of the vent kissed my face, tickling my cheeks and making them numb.

Looking around my environment, my body depressed in a slow, dragged out sigh.

My tongue worked around my lips, licking the spots where my skin and lips met. The heavy, smoky flavor was all I needed to know to describe what happened the night before. My face began to crease from the burnt charcoal taste within. Caving in, it was a crushed aluminum can bending inward. It was as if someone punched me super hard, my face staying locked in its current position.

The medical staff used the charcoal to absorb the toxins from the pills I had swallowed. All one hundred thirteen of them. In a single sitting, swallowing the enteric-coated pills until my vision faded. One by one by one, I had attempted to take my own life. It was a smorgasbord of poison with various colored pills. Some I had recognized. Others I had not.

There was a bottle for sleeping disorders. There were various prescriptions for pain. One container was filled with Ativan. Another, filled with God knows what. I had no idea.

It was the perfect cure for anxiety, pain, and seizures, for one low price.

Who would have thought that that many pills could be found inside your neighbors’ medicine cabinets? Then again, who would have thought that amount of pills could be pumped out of a human body? Gastric lavage and activated charcoal, these were two procedures that I didn’t recommend.

If you ever need an emergency antidote to combat the dangers of prescription drugs, consider the two-step process of gutting and then grilling your face. The stomach pump was to remove the pills. The charcoal was used as a poisoning antidote, to interrupt the circulation of drugs from the liver to the bile, back into the small intestine, and ending back into the liver. The process was called enterohepatic circulation.

Coming to, I was greeted by a small, empty hospital room. A single bed surrounded by varying degrees of medical equipment. There was a heart monitor near my bed. An overbed table pushed off to the side. A cabinet filled with supplies. All the ingredients were present to revive the damaged soul of a person.

The television hanging from above was turned off, an old tube unit sitting on a shelf that was bolted to the wall. The screen was dirty; it was covered in dust particles from not being turned on.

The thick curtains were closed. Peeking in underneath and on the sides of the curtains’ fabric was a parking lot streetlight. The light from the tall post cast dark shadows into the room; the shadows creeped me out. They were monsters ready to attack, ready and willing to conquer under their master’s order. Whoever their master was, I wasn’t sure.

Swallowing was difficult. There was a tightening in my throat each time I’d attempted. Harder and harder to bring the saliva up my esophagus, I could feel it start in the pit of my stomach.

This was not my first attempt at suicide. No matter how hard I had tried, I could never fully succeed. Three fucking times was definitely not the charm.

My first attempt at offing myself happened about a year ago. My wife and I had begun to feel the effects of money shortfalls.

I had lost my job when the economy crashed and had never really gotten back on track. Sure, there were a few part-time positions here and there. And one full-time job that was so out of my field I had to quit. But there was nothing that had brought in near the same salary, near the same satisfaction, of what I had been living with for years before.

My wife, Maggie, had said that she understood.That working in a job that did not complement your skillset was difficult. Deep down, I knew my not being employed (or as Maggie had put it, sitting around) had still bothered her. She would often throw in sentences such as, “But every little bit helps,” and, “Maybe just stick it out for a while,” ending in, “Well, it’s your decision and I will support you nonetheless.”

She was just going through the motions at that point. This marked the beginning of the end for us. We were heading for a divorce.

The truth was jobs were not that available in our hometown of Rock Island, Illinois. A stagnant population of just under forty thousand, with only a handful of big employers that could provide a decent living. The cost of living was low, but you would have to be in a position that paid well enough. Most of the residents in the area worked at John Deere and the Rock Island Arsenal. Neither of which seemed to ever be hiring. It was almost as if you had to know or be related to someone in order to get your foot in the door. Of course, generations upon generations handed these jobs down like relay runners passing the batons behind them. With so much history between the two organizations, getting a job at either of these places was equivalent to being born into the royal family.

Me, I used to be the operations manager of a manufacturing company. Relative to the size of Deere and Arsenal, our company was small, a blip on their financial scope, a mere footnote in the conversation. But it was big for me, and it was what worked. That was, until I was let go.

We specialized in packaging, various types of packaging and shipping methods. One of our contracts was with John Deere, so you could say that I was a bastard stepson of the prestigious royal family. I was more of a second cousin that hardly came around, one that never saw the photo ops or royal invites.

I oversaw the plant workers at different locations around the area, who spent most of the days boxing items and getting them ready for shipment to wherever it was they were headed. Much of my time was dedicated to streamlining the process in order to cut costs. It took me several months to scheme up the process, paying particular attention to its destinations and what trucks needed to be loaded and at what times. Logistics wasn’t difficult; rather, you had to be on your game to know the shortest routes possible. You could say I was so good at my job that I cut my own salary out of the company. Shipped it out in a nicely packed container. Really, there wasn’t a need for me anymore. A win/lose situation.

My job, my life, my marriage, they were all packaged and ready to be shipped out. And to be honest, I didn’t care anymore. To be frank, getting divorced was the only true thing I had looked forward to.

Lying on the bed, my head facing the ceiling, I moved my eyes left to right, and screamed, “NO!” Clenching my teeth until my jaws hurt, bringing my voice down to a hush, I whisper-screamed, “FUCK YOU!” I had convinced myself that I had wanted to die this time. Deep down to the depths of my soul, I wished that I was dead.

All the while, the chair shadow creature was lurking in silence, staring in my direction.

The angled door monster sat mocking me. A malicious grin on its face, it could turn on me at any moment.

My body tightened until I turned bright red. Holding my breath in a weak attempt to suffocate, hopes of passing out to prevent my brain from picking back up again, my mind started racing. Through the half-closed blinds leading into an illuminated part of the hospital, two detectives were talking to a doctor. They were in mid-discussion ever since I had come to. The doctor was, on occasion, looking into my room while he continued to speak.

Struggling on the bed, kicking my legs under the sheets, the jerking of my body like a possessed demon, I was vying for their attention. Whipping my head side to side, the air from the vent reminding me that I was alive and well, I screamed inside, my mouth wide open, stretching until my cheeks became sore.

The officers looked serious, their bodies stiff and alert. Staring with intent into the doctor’s eyes, one of the policemen leaned in closer. A concerned look on his face, the detective nodded in agreement to whatever it was the doctor was discussing.

The window made it difficult to make out what they were saying. The light, reflecting off from the other side, made the men appear translucent. Squinting with a brave optimism that I could read their lips, I saw the policeman with the crew cut on the right side crane his neck toward me and then slowly return to the doctor.

Leaning in closer to the door, my head pulling forward, a sharp pain ran up my spine and into the nape of my neck. My body tightened into a crunch, my abs flexing for the first time in years. The balls of my feet were blistering for some reason, as if I had been on them for days. The soreness caused me to straighten, and before I could readjust my body, the door opened.

Flipping the light switch, the doctor, wearing multi-colored scrubs and a white smock, entered with the officers in tow. The shadow demons, they disappeared into tangible objects. One became the sink faucet. Another transformed into the tissue paper box. In an instant, the monsters assumed their positions in the real world. Their master, so it seemed, signaled them to be calm. It only took a second for my eyes to adjust to the bright light. My brain was still disordered. My recollection, it was groggy to say the least. The three men came into focus as they approached me.

“Mr. Richards,” the doctor said, his eyes scanning the paperwork on his clipboard, never making eye contact. Nodding his head, his lips curled downward. Skimming the chart before speaking again, he mouthed some words to himself. He then looked up, rejoining the conversation, and said, “I’m Doctor Wynn.”

Dr. Wynn was a skinny Asian man, his hospital garb baggy off his legs. He was a middle-aged gentleman, mostly wrinkle-free with not much grey. He had a full head of hair. Crow’s feet branched out from his half-opened eyes when he spoke. I could tell that he laughed a lot. Other than that tiny flaw, he was well put together.

I pegged him for having a trophy wife, brunette and much younger, and driving a convertible Mercedes-Benz. Aside from announcing that he was a doctor, his pickup line could have been, “If you go out with me, it would be a Wynn/Win.” And then a sparkling smile filled with whites. Who wouldn’t fall for this? Hell, I was beginning to fall in love with him. But that could just be the medication.

Reading through my charts more in-depth, his lips moving slightly, he scanned the file and then re-addressed me.

Tilting his head, he smiled, flashing his medical school teeth. “And how’re you feeling today?” His cadence was quick and with crisp enunciation. He displayed a charming politeness to his audience when he spoke.

Before I could answer, the doctor said, “You’re very lucky, Mr. Richards.”

Was I? Tracing the words with his index finger, he said, “You swallowed a lot of pills.” He was lecturing me like a third grade teacher would do to one of her students—

“Do you know what happens when you don’t finish your assignment?”

I was waiting for him to put me in the corner, but I guess this was close enough.

The officers stood stoic, hearing the diagnosis from the medical expert. Each was attentive for the most part, often looking down at the floor or around the room to inspect the potential sleeping monsters.

Casual demeanor, reading the shorthand notes scribbled on the paper, Dr. Wynn gave an inappropriate smile. He said, “Over one hundred.”

One hundred thirteen to be exact.

He looked me in the eyes and said, “How do you feel?” The doctor was full of questions. For someone who was a supposed expert, he was definitely curious. “Does your throat hurt?” he said.

The large thirty-six gastrostomy tube that was jammed into my esophagus was, to be very thankful, lubricated. Just because I had tried to kill myself did not warrant a dry throat fuck. Leaning in toward me, he said, “You were administered two hundred milliliters of warm tap water on a repeated basis in order to be fully drained.” His crow’s feet, they branched out as he emphasized certain syllables. He said this as if this was an everyday occurrence, as if he saw attempted suicides all the time.

A cop, the one with shaggier hair of the two, glanced at the doctor’s clipboard, squinting at the small lettering. The other, staring through me, stood statue still with his eyebrows lowered. He was thinking, or waiting his turn to speak, one of the two, or both. Dropping the clipboard down toward his waist, cupping it in his hand, Dr. Wynn said, “I recommend getting some rest. Your body blah! blah! blah! gone through some blah! blah! blah! and you’ll need some time to recover. And then we’ll have—”

The toll on my body caused me to almost crash out. My attention drifted with quick ambition with every other word the doctor said. I could hear the voices in the room, consulting each other, but the dialogue was incomprehensible. It was as if I was sitting next to Charlie Brown in school. At this stage, I wasn’t even sure it was happening.

Then, my head fell backward, my mind going blank.

Before I went under, the room spun out of focus. The countries on the ceiling tiles began to swirl, spinning around in a clockwise motion until they transformed into something else. Slowly, the shadow creatures came out of hiding, taking their positions as the hand sanitizer and drawer handle. My eyes wandered, attempting to escape their reach.

The voice of Dr. Wynn dissolving, I fell into a deep sleep.


About the Author

S.H. Love writes mysteries and thrillers. S.H. Love is the pseudonym of a critically acclaimed author.

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Giveaway

$20 Amazon gift card.

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I definitely recommend this one. If you decide to give it a go, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Good luck in the giveaway!

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The Last Princess of Latura by Darren Simon *Blog Tour, Giveaway & Reviews*

Hi everyone!

I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for The Last Princess of Latura by Darren Simon! I had the opportunity to review both books, which I definitely enjoyed. There’s also a giveaway at the end, so be sure to read through the post. 😊


Guardian’s Nightmare
The Last Princess of Latura Book 1
by Darren Simon
Genre: Middle-Grade/New Adult fantasy

Charlee Smelton is an average thirteen-year-old girl struggling to adapt after her family moves to San Francisco. She thinks her biggest obstacle is facing the bullies who brand her a nerd and a dweeb. She’s wrong. Her life is about to change—for the worse. First, she receives a gift of the ugliest, most old fashioned bike she has ever seen. Try as she might to ditch it in the city, she just can’t seem to escape that very mysterious two-wheeler. Then come the visions of a world across a dimensional divide, a princess in fear for her life and a dark knight pursuing her. Are they just dreams or something more? For Charlee, everything she ever thought she knew about herself soon crumbles as she starts down a path to discover her true self, and she will need that hunk-of-junk bike more than she could ever imagine. Without it, she might not be able to find the hero in herself—the hero she must become to save her friends, family, her city—the world—from an evil only she can defeat. An evil she allows into this world.

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Excerpt:

Theodora nodded. “As you wish.” The sorceress drew back her hand and slung Charlee and the bike clear across the city.

They hurtled uncontrollably through the night. But this time, Theodora was not going to stop their fall. The bike spun out of control, its wings flailing uselessly. It seemed…unconscious.

Have to…wake it…up…or we…die!

Charlee reached out for the bike. She had to snag a handlebar, a pedal, a wing—anything to make contact.

Come on! Reach. Reach! Reach!

The city rushed by beneath her. She flew by one rooftop, then another. She craned her neck to glance ahead.

Oh my God!

A skyscraper stood directly in their path. They would smash into the glass exterior in seconds.

Try…again! Reach for the bike! Reach!

The fingers of her right hand touched the handlebars. Then she got a full grip and pulled herself onto the banana seat, but the bike did not respond to her presence.

“Bike, wake up!” No response. “Bike, we’re going to die!” Nothing. She steadied herself. This time, instead of shouting, she used thought to communicate.

She willed it to regain consciousness.

Bike, please! Wake up!

Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it was clearly aimed at a younger audience. It has a fun plot with a lot of humor and action in it, and I think it’s a perfect coming of age story for a middle schooler to enjoy.

Charlee is a great main character, who really shows growth in her journey. She is 13, and struggling with real life problems – then added into the mix, all of a sudden she has a whole new world filled with magic to deal with. I think she is a relatable character, with a snarky personality, which I enjoyed.

Bike is worth mentioning. What a great side character. I won’t get into too much for fear of spoilers, but I just loved how unique this character was.

I thought the world building was decent. I have to admit, I was a bit overwhelmed toward the end, as Charlee learned who she really was. I think there was some info-dumping, and it threw me off a bit. However, the book is fast paced, and it’s a page turner. I was never bored.

Wrap-Up:

Overall, I think this was a great read. Again, I would recommend this for a middle schooler, mostly, but as an adult, I found the story entertaining as well.

Rating:

4/5☆


Guardian’s Return
The Last Princess of Latura Book 2

A month has passed since fourteen-year-old Charlee Smelton discovered her magical abilities and faced her great aunt, Theodora, in a life or death struggle to protect Earth. A month has passed since she tricked Theodora back across the dimensional gateway that brought Theodora to Earth. Since then, Charlee—now fully aware that she is part of a noble bloodline from another world…another dimension…has grown stronger in her magic, aided by her protector, a shapeshifter sent to Earth to protect her.

But the terrible dreams won’t stop.

Theodora lives, and if Charlee’s dreams of death and fields of spilled blood are true, her great aunt has avenged herself on that world across the dimensional divide.

Charlee knows what she must do. The fight is not over. She must travel across the gateway to the home of her ancestors and face Theodora one more time. But doing so may cost Charlee more than her life. The same medallion her great aunt desires so much—a medallion Charlee possesses—could make her just as evil as her great aunt.

Can Charlee stave off the twisted tendrils of the medallion long enough to defeat Theodora—for good—or will evil consume her? Can she even survive so far from home? Her only hope may rest in the Lord of the Dragons, but that beast turned his back on her grandfather long ago…

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Excerpt

Calling on her magically heightened strength, she kicked the door. It didn’t budge, but the timber around the hinges cracked. She struck a second time. The door broke from the frame and fell forward. A wall of fire rushed through the opening, engulfing Charlee. She dropped to one knee and shielded her eyes.

The blinding flash muzzled her cries. Somehow, though, the layer of energy kept her alive—a glowing barrier between her flesh and the inferno. She could breathe, too, but the air had become thick. She could only manage short breaths.

“I have to move. Can’t fail.” Peering through her fingers, a swirling vortex of oranges, yellows and reds prevented her from seeing beyond a few feet in any direction.

Her mom’s thoughts returned.

Get up! Run through it! Straight ahead!

Her body trembled, and her heart pounded so fast it might burst from her chest. Her skin baked despite the protective shell. Blinking sweat from her eyes, she charged through the firestorm.

Don’t stop…don’t stop until you’re through,her mom urged.

Overhead, the house creaked in protest. Oh no! Burning timber plunged toward her. Diving out of the way, she broke through the flames. Behind her the fire roared. Ahead, the second-floor hallway lay darkened by charred mist.

Coughing, Charlee clutched her chest to quiet her wild heart and slow her breathing. Her legs wobbled and her head drooped. Hot tears formed. She couldn’t help it.

I’m alive.

Still have a chance. Must press on.

Standing tall, she lifted her head.

You’re not going to beat me, fire.

“Sir, where are you?” she called to the little girl’s dad. “Can you hear me? Sir…”

Review:

I think Guardian’s Return is a bit better than Guardian’s Nightmare. This is probably because we get to see more magic. This was a bit more fast paced, and I felt myself getting excited toward the end to see what happened.

I think Charlee has grown as a character. She is well aware of what she needs to do, but is still timid – which makes her relatable. She still has a bit of an attitude, and I love that about her.

The world building and lore of the world is much more fleshed out in this book. You learn a great deal about the past events that led to the present circumstances. I really enjoy when a second book has purpose and isn’t just a bridge to a third book.

Wrap-Up:

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It has a lot of heart, action and it keeps you entertained. I think the magic system is unique, and I’m definitely interested in checking out the next book.

Rating:

4.5/5☆


About the Author

Darren Simon resides in Southern California where he works as a college English teacher after a career as a newspaper journalist. His love for writing began with a love for reading when his grandmother gave him a wonderful gift—a brown paper bag filled with comic books from the 1960s and ’70s. From there, he moved on to Choose Your Own Adventure books. Eventually he discovered the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, which solidified his interest in writing epic fantasy and science fiction tales.

So far, he has focused his writing on middle grade and young adult fiction to inspire young readers just as he was inspired to read and write at a young age.

He self-published his first novel though iUniverse and immediately went on to write the second book in the series. Upon completing the second book, he decided to seek more traditional publishing. After countless rejection letters, a small independent publisher—Divertir Publishing—decided to pick up the series, a fantasy about a teen-aged girl who learns her family is actually from an alternate dimension, and only she has the power to protect Earth from a sorceress from her world—who just happens to be her great aunt. Divertir republished the first book, titled, Guardian’s Nightmare, in 2015. The second book in the series, Guardian’s Return was released in April.

Darren has also written another series—a young adult historical pirate fantasy set in the golden age of piracy, mixing historical pirates and pirate hunters with his fictional characters in a time-traveling, swashbuckling tale. The first book in that series, The Dangerous Legacy, was published in 2016 by Tell-Tale Publishing. The second book in the series, The Deadly Waters, is due out later this year.

All his books are available at Amazon.com and Barnes&noble.com.

Darren, who lives with his wife, Sandra and two sons, Daniel and Jacob, and two crazy dogs, in the Valley, is continuing to write and develop new stories, including a young adult novel now in the hands of literary agency.

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Giveaway

$15 Amazon gift card

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!


Tour Hosted By:

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If enjoy middle grade fantasy, these are definitely fun books. If you pick them up, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Video Game Review: Unravel

Hi everyone!

I had my first physical therapy session yesterday. It went well, and I’m really hoping they can help me manage my pain. I’m seeing the neurologist this morning – maybe he will be able to help me out. My MRI is scheduled for next Tuesday, but I’m calling daily for cancellations. Fingers crossed. I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers.

Anyway, on to the topic for today. I wouldn’t really classify myself as a gamer, however, I do enjoy playing some video games. I particularly like games with a story and are “open world” (i.e. Skyrim). Since I’ve been home with my pain, I’ve been trying to keep busy. Hubby let me buy this game, Unravel for $5. It’s not an open world, but from the trailer, it looked like it had a story. I thought it would be fun to review it for the blog.


Review:

I am by no means a video games expert, so I looked up this blurb (found on wikipedia) to give you a bit of background on the game:

Unravel is a puzzle platform video game developed by the Swedish company Coldwood Interactive and published by Electronic Arts. It was announced on 15 June 2015 and released in February 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.

Unravel is about Yarny, an immediately loveable hero, who accesses each level of the game by old photos in his family’s home. It initially feels like an uplifting game, but rather quickly, you begin to feel a loneliness that is kind of interlaced in the story. As the game progresses, Yarny becomes the literal thread which connects the present to the past, and we see all of these good and bad memories.

Story wise, this game is beautiful. It really makes you think about the past and present, and how you shouldn’t take even the small things for granted. From a writer and reader perspective, I loved how thought provoking and intricate this story really is. It’s heart-warming and heart-wrenching all at the same time, and it is tied (😉) together by a lovable main character.

This game is absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking really. It’s crisp, and realistic. It never really feels like a game – it looks like a movie. Even Yarny is realistic and I just think it’s so cool how far video games have come in that aspect.

Like I said, I’m not really an expert when it comes to games and I’m also really terrible at some. Hubby beats me quite often in most games we play together. So, if you’re a mega gamer, you may or may not agree, but I found the game was a great challenge. It’s all puzzle based, and there were times I really needed to think my way through. It wasn’t too hard though. The controls are easy to get, and I think, even if this was someone’s first video game, they could play it. I love that. I don’t like games that are super difficult to understand, because ultimately I want to beat the game, not quit it.

Wrap-Up:

The game is visually stunning, emotional, easy to understand, and challenging. All things I want when I am spending time playing a video game.

Rating:

5/5☆


Have you played Unravel? If you have or decide to, let me know what you think.

I hope you have a great day.

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Truth We Bare *Blog Tour w/ Review*

Hi everyone!

I’m excited to be part of the Blog Tour for Danielle Rose’s newest release, Truth We Bare! This is fantastic book that you don’t want to miss!


Title: Truth We Bare
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: May 1 2018

Blurb:

How far would you go to ensure your secrets remain buried?

When James Blakely agreed to work as Jezebel Tate’s bodyguard, he offered everything he had to keep her safe, but he hadn’t expected her to claim his heart. A year later, James’s hidden past has emerged from the shadows, threatening everything James has fought to protect.

Jezebel believes the demons that haunt James extend far beyond Living Light, the birth place of the massacre that claimed his family. In an effort to mend his fractured soul, Jezebel insists he confronts those demons, but James fears what she doesn’t know can kill her.

In this thrilling conclusion to the Pieces of Me duet, James must confront his past–before it claims his soul.


Review:

I am hardly surprised, but Danielle Rose has done it once again. She has managed to mix together a perfect blend of erotic romance and suspense to create a book that is very difficult (if not impossible) to put down once you start reading.

Lies We Keep, the first novel in the Pieces of Me duet was told from Jezebel Tate’s point of view. Truth We Bare is told from James Blakley’s point of view and gives us much more insight into his past than the first novel.

I love that we get to see things from James’s point of view. His past is full of mystery and we only broke the ice in Lies We Keep. We are taken back to his younger years, where he grew up in a religious community called Living Light and how it went from a peaceful group to a horrific nightmare in a short period. James is confronted with his past, and what I really enjoyed, was that he acted realistically. Danielle Rose knows how to write a well rounded character that is relatable.

The romance in this novel is steamy and swoon worthy. While there are secrets between Jezebel and James, the relationship as a whole is beautiful. It is clear how much they care for each other and how much they help each other overcome the devastation of their pasts.

This is definitely a page turner. I flew through the novel, and I was never bored. Every scene propels the plot forward and I devoured every word.

Wrap-Up:

I loves Lies We Keep and I love Truth We Bare so much. It’s a perfect blend of everything you’d want in a novel and I can’t wait to see what is next for Danielle Rose!

Rating:

5/5☆


This incredibly STEAMY STANDALONE contemporary romance has it all: humor, danger, and an erotic romance. It’s perfect for fans of Sylvia Day, E.L. James, and Meredith Wild. For readers ages 18+.

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Author Bio:
Danielle Rose holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Currently residing in the Midwest, where she spends her days dreaming of warmer temperatures, when she’s not writing, she enjoys pretending she lives in California, spending an embarrassing amount of time at Hobby Lobby, and binge-watching Netflix. Visit Danielle on the Web: www.Danielle-Rose.com.

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Buy Links:

Lies We Keep|Truth We Bare

On sale for a limited time! Grab this STEAMY standalone story for only 99¢!


Blog Tour Hosted By: Lady Amber’s PR


Be sure to let me know what you think about this novel once you’ve read it!😊

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MOVIE REVIEW: Pacific Rim Uprising

Hi everyone!

Hubby and I went to the movies again last night to see Pacific Rim: Uprising. I plan to review the first movie, but I’d like to re-watch it first. This one is still fresh in my mind, so I am getting right into it.

*This will be a spoiler free review, however, if you haven’t seen the first movie, this might have minor spoils for that.*


Pacific Rim: Uprising
PG-13
111 minutes
Action/Adventure/ScFi
Director: Steven S. Deknight
Writers: Steven S. Deknight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder
Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny
Synopsis (Taken from IMDB):
Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.

Review:

I’m glad I don’t try to review films the minute I finish watching them, because, it seems like the more I think about them, the more my opinion changes, sometimes. That is the case with this movie.

When I first left the theater, I thought the movie was really fun. It didn’t feel like the exact same movie, and the characters were funny. Now that I’ve had some time to think, I do have a few issues with the film, so let’s dive right in.

The plot was interesting, and unique enough to give reason for a second film. It wasn’t just a carbon copy of the first movie, and it made a lot of sense. There were some surprise twists and turns I didn’t see coming, which is always great in a movie, however, there were some plot points that were thoroughly disappointing, that I can’t get into without spoiling.

The special effects were fun, a bit unrealistic, but that happened in the first movie too. You couldn’t really do this movie without them, and I think, for the most part, the Kaiju and Jaegers were believable and the fight scenes were really great to watch.

The characters were very witty. Jake was nothing short of sarcastic, even when in crisis, and the other characters followed suite a lot of the time. I really thought the actors were great, and the dialogue kept this a light hearted film. The issue I had with the cast, was that it felt like every character was really young. Jake and Nate are supposed to be older and wiser than the cadets they are to train, but it really seems like they aren’t that far apart in age. It just bothered me. Adults can be featured in films – it doesn’t have to be all up and coming youngsters, because that isn’t realistic.

Wrap-Up:

Overall, the movie was decent. It had a lot of high points that made it a worthy movie, but it also had a lot of low points. In the words of my husband, this movie lacked the magic the first Pacific Rim had. It’s still an action packed film that’s worth seeing once, but it won’t go down as the best sequel ever.

Rating: 3.5/5☆


What did you think of Pacific Rim Uprising? Let me know in the comments.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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MOVIE REVIEW: Tomb Raider

Hi everyone!

Happy Saturday, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hubby and I saw the new Tomb Raider movie last night and I wanted to get my review up as soon as possible.

*This will be a spoiler free review*


Tomb Raider
Release Date: 3/16/2018
Run Time: 118 mins
Genre: Action/Adventure
Director: Roar Uthaug
Writers: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas

Synopsis (taken from IMDB):
Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.

Review:

Side note: I’m not a huge video game player, but I do play a few on occasion (Skyrim and Dragon Age are the top 2). When I was young, my Dad would play the original Tomb Raider games on the play station and I would watch. We printed out all the walk throughs for the games and put them in a binder. When we would get stuck on a puzzle, we would eventually give in and I would look up how to get through. I never really played the older games on my own, but when the two new games came, I had to. And I loved them. The story is great, and I was excited to see the movie.

The movie definitely borrows from the game. Actually, one of the coolest aspects of the movie is how much it felt like a Tomb Raider game. Quick, action-packed sequences with seconds to make life or death decisions. However, the story is pretty different from the game, which threw me off. Many of the characters make appearances but their motives (and even names) have been changed. I needed to remind myself throughout the movie that I needed to treat this as a separate entity from the game (as I would when comparing a book-to-movie adapataion to the original source). Once I did that, I was able to enjoy the movie much more.

I think Alicia Vikander plays a perfect Lara Croft. She has the look and the charm that makes Lara, Lara and I don’t have anything negative to say. Vikander delivers a solid performance, and is able to keep you on the edge of your seat and then make you laugh to break tension.

I also really enjoyed Walton Goggins as Mathias. While a different character in the movie versus the book, he really delivers a tense performance. From the minute you meet him, you know he isn’t a good guy, and Goggins was able to really bring that almost invincible, bad guy feeling to the character. He was not going to be an easy villainto defeat.

The special effects are really awesome in this movie. They leave your adrenaline racing as Lara Croft runs, jumps and ducks her way through countless dangers. The action sequences never feel boring or cookie cutter, and I was on the edge of my seat more than once.

I think the first half of the film dragged a bit. I know this was an origin story, and we needed time to understand and get to know Lara Croft, but it felt like there was a little too much time spent on her ‘normal’ life. Once the action started, it was a lot more fun.

Wrap-Up:

This was a pretty good movie. It was entertaining, tense, and action-packed. The first half of the movie being a bit slow, lowered the rating for me. But once the movie picked up, I had a great time watching. If you’ve played the game, you definitely need to leave your expectations at the door. It’s a great movie Lara Croft origin story, and you need to look at it completely separate from the story of the game.

Rating:

3.8/5 ☆


Have you played the games? Have you seen the movie? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

If you’re celebrating today, please have a wonderful and safe time! ☘

We will be headed to my in-laws for some cornbeef and cabbage. Enjoy your day! 😊

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Hunger Games

Hi everyone!

Happy Thursday. I’m so ready for it to be Friday, haha. I watched The Hunger Games for the 17373730 time (haha) on Tuesday and wanted to review it. I also plan to re-read the books, but I have other reading to catch up on first.

*This will be a spoiler free review*


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Director: Gary Ross
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Drama, Thriller
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 142 min
Movie

adaptation of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Synopsis:
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games: a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death.

Review:

I always try to go into book to movie adaptations with an open mind. I try to remind myself that a book has a lot more time and space for detail, and a movie will inevitably cut things or change things to make it work. It’s hard to go in with a super open mind when a movie is made from one of your favorite books. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed.

I LOVED The Hunger Games trilogy. I flew through the books faster than any other book I’ve ever read. I might even be as bold to say it’s my favorite trilogy. So, naturally, when I heard it was being made into a movie, I was nervous and excited.

Jennifer Lawrence made a perfect Katniss, from looks to mannerisms, she nailed this part. Josh Hutcherson is fantastic as Peeta too. He brings that innocence that book Peeta has to life, and the chemistry between him and Jennifer Lawrence is on point. I’m thoroughly impressed with the entire cast, and believed each person played their role perfectly.

The writers did a great job translating this story to the screen. I think they did a great job getting the needed information in while keeping the pace of the movie going well. There were points that dragged a bit, but overall, the movie kept me drawn in and interested the entire time.

One critique I had the first time I watched this movie, was the “blood bath” scene at the cornucopia in the beginning of the games. I’m aware this is a violent story, and this scene in particular was very intense in the book. I don’t think it needed to be super bloody, but the way it was shot felt a little underwhelming. I’m not even sure how to describe why this scene didn’t really work for me, but every time I’ve watched the movie, I’ve felt the same.

Wrap-Up:

I can honestly say, this is one of the best book to movie adaptations I have ever seen. It is so close to the book, only making minor changes to make sure the movie is well paced.

Rating:

4/5☆


What did you think of The Hunger Games movie? Let me know in the comments.

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