Wrath Of The Jaguar Man (The Curse of Inca Gold #2) by J.A. Kalis

Summary

When Didier embarks on a quest to recover a priceless artefact, he gets entangled in more than he has bargained for.

Meanwhile, the ruthless treasure hunters resolve to go back to the ancient ruins hidden deep in the Amazon jungle with the aim of finding other intact tombs and pillaging them.
But the spirits of those whose graves have already been desecrated are angry. Their thirst for revenge urges the Indians who inhabit those remote territories to take action. This time they will do everything in their power to defend the burial sites of their ancestors. They are watching the ruins, waiting…

Amazon

Characters

Didier appears to be the primary character from what I can tell. He is a world traveler and by all regards an emotional coward. I was very frustrated with him for most of the book—perhaps if I had read book 1 before book 2 I wouldn’t feel this way. Thankfully the book doesn’t just follow him. There is Menga, a jungle living warrior, who wants to right the wrongs of the bad men and appease his ancestors to save his love. Then there is the thread with the arrogant Aberlardo and tough guy Antonio with his hired guns, not to mention Aberlado’s wealthy father—the one stealing priceless artifacts.

Plot

This story is plot driven. It jerks you around the world and into many perspectives, which I found very engaging. Most of the chapters flowed easily from one to the next. There were a few twists and turns but they were obvious to me, with the exception of one. I actually hoped everything wouldn’t perfectly ‘work out,’ but you’ll have to read it to find out what ‘worked out’ means. Bad guys bad, good guys good, bad loses, good succeeds. A little boring that way but if you like the suspense more then the mystery, you’ll very much enjoy the settings and the thrill of the journey!

Overall

The story grips you from the get go. It is breakneck and suspenseful, sprinkled in with action. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book before the first (even though it says it can be a stand alone) because I was so lost at the beginning and didn’t get as much satisfaction from many of the results that I may have if I’d been with the characters longer. The dialogue could be stilted but the descriptive imagery of the setting made up for it.

There is a big element of a supernatural or mystical aspects that cropped up. I was a little torn on it throughout the book but I enjoyed Menga’s chapters and I like a little supernatural in my books so this was a plus not a minus for me. In the end the title lives up to its name—you’ll just have to read it to find out how literal!

Rating

3.5 Stars (rounded down)

A suspenseful international treasure hunt with a dash of mysticism and mystery. An enjoyable adventure with suspense that I would have enjoyed more if I’d read book 1 before book 2.

Where did I get a copy?

Author provided me a copy. This is a voluntary review.

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Forbidden by Haru Ichiban

Summary

A promise of unbound carnal delights. That’s what her sultry, proud classmate Lei is to Sween. However, only known to her, much more than just lust binds her to this man.

Despite competing against a love rival which holds the upper hand, her carefree college days are full of laughter, but they hide a sinister reality: if Sween succeded in making his heart hers, being branded a criminal and relentlessly chased down by angels would only be the beginning of her problems. However, if only Lei loved her back, she would not mind breaking every law for him. No matter the consequences. Even if it meant living a forbidden love with a dubious future as she defied everyone and everything in Heaven… and everything she once stood for.

Forbidden is the first book in a long saga of romance full of sweetness and erotism, plots with substance, smart heroines, manly and sensitive heroes, morally ambiguous main characters, a mysterious supernatural world, detectives and lots of humor.

Amazon

Characters

This book is written like steaming consciousnesses every thought is on page. I could not for the life of me like Sween for most of the book. I found her over the top, obsessive, and obnoxious. I actually thought she was a very ugly person. Although later on I felt there was a clear issues with the contradiction/dichotomy between the virgin and the whore—a concept that could have been really powerful. Lei was a little easier to like because you understood he was ‘controlled’ by a demon. So his behavior, although ridiculous and cruel at times, was easier to swallow. I cannot say I liked Sween by the end of the book but I no longer disliked her as much either. There are a few supporting characters but they mostly seem to come and go.

Plot

Sween wants Lei. Wants to kill the demon controlling him and be with him. That much was easy to see. Think high school angst with mature content and a paranormal flare (interesting take on angels and demons). It felt like reading an over the top anime or manga. Sween and Lei are attending police academy and there were some very interesting facts there—almost felt out of place with the story at times, but well done there.

Overall

This book needs an editor—badly (just look at the two spelling errors in the summary above taken directly from Amazon). I rarely post this unless it is painfully apparent or detracts from the story and in this case it does. The first 20% of the book could be significantly reduced because I felt like I was stuck in a unexplained and unclear loop. Same information, actions, and no furtherance of a story. That being said—I noticed a significant shift after a scene were Lei drives her and a group (about 20% of the way in). It was the first crystal clear scene that actually sucked me in—like those bloody Buggypop were a hoot. Some of the nonsense was great and some of it was just…well nonsense. The sexy parts were decent but I had a hard time just because it felt like a fantasy (as in so far outside reality) so I ended up laughing instead.

The biggest redeeming factor for me was I could feel how much the author loves to write. I have a distinct feeling the author sees each character clearly in their mind and each scene is no doubt like a movie. There in lies an issue—the author assumes you can see what they can see. Which we, of course, cannot. It leaves a lot of context and description out. And just like that driving scene, there were some amazing concepts and ideas that really showed potential!

Rating

2 stars

Great concepts, specially on the paranormal side, so others may enjoy it but it was too unpolished for me.

Where did I get a copy?

Author provided me a copy. This review is voluntary.

Three Incidents at Foster Manor by P.T. Phronk

Summary

An old mansion. An apocalyptic storm. Whispering voices in the air. She was right to fear the worst-case scenario.

Amy Burnett has been buried in her work as a security expert. She likes it that way—her dark past can’t invade her thoughts as long as she stays holed up in her office. So why the heck has she ended up at a gothic mansion’s doorstep in the middle of the night?

It’s because Craig Foster summoned her there. Amy’s company built the sealed chamber in his basement, for any worrisome worst-case scenario, but now the safe room has presented a scenario of its own: Craig’s daughter is trapped inside.

It should be a quick fix. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen when a stranger arrives at a remote mansion on a stormy night? An impossible mystery? A haunting? A visit from the lurking strangers in the woods? Surely not all three—that would require extraordinarily bad luck.

Unfortunately, Amy’s been short on luck lately.

Amazon

Characters

Amy is the primary character but there are a litany of supporting characters. She is an interesting character, with a lot of baggage. Despite some of her characters flaws, I quite liked her. Other characters include Caleb the needy teenager, Ash the jerk, Craig the weak-willed father, Marcus the likable dad, Jasmine the plucky one, and Trista the girl locked in the room. Each has a role to play and by saying much more I may be ruining it.

Plot

It reminded me of reading horror  genre clue. A very interesting who-dunnit where it isn’t just about who…but also about the bigger mystery and the bad dudes that show up. It will keep you on your toes with constant tension. Amy is the only one you can trust so everyone else is suspect—leading to great scenes. I did figure out both aspects but it took quite a while and I wasn’t 100% spot on—there are a bit of a twist on each. This book never lets up—in a good way.

Overall

A very easy and enjoyable read. I read this in two sittings and stayed up late to finish it. Because I just had to know if I was right and turning the pages was easy. I felt I could easily have read it on the weekend in one sitting. The writing and imagery created such vivid scenes, many of which had me gripping my phone from the suspense! A real page turner!

My only compliant was—I didn’t catch onto the whole ‘rain is dangerous because this is in the future when the environment is going to heck in a hand-basket.’ So I could not understand why people didn’t just leave. It wasn’t until much later that some very subtle hints finally made sense. Some more world-building throughout would have fixed this but it wasn’t enjoy to ruin my enjoyment of the book.

Rating

4.5 (rounded up)

A great mystery suspense for an airplane ride or a quite night in. You’ll easily read this in one sitting and feel satisfied by the end of it. Be ready for one crazy ride!

Where did I get a copy?

From the author. This review is voluntary.

A Convenient Death by Laurel Heidtman

Summary

When Tracy Andrews, night clerk at the Eden Quick-Mart, is murdered along with an elderly customer, there’s no shortage of suspects. Tracy liked men more than a married woman should, and her estranged husband, a Raven University police officer, knew it. Did he “lose it” and kill Tracy and her customer, did Tracy put too many demands on a boyfriend, or did a spouse of a married lover decide she’d had enough? Or was it a simple robbery gone wrong?

No one looks at the elderly man killed with her, but when someone breaks into his home, Eden police detective Jo Valentine takes a closer look. What she doesn’t find surprises her.

Characters

I liked Jo Valentine. She was tough and working through some stuff. All made for an interesting character. By contrast I found Ann’s chapters to be a little boring. At first they weren’t but as the story went on, they started to drag. There were a few other characters that came to the forefront including a chief of university police named Lou (woman). I liked the strong women in the book but it would have been nice to have at least one stronger male character—Dan came into the picture too late. Although Sticks (Jo’s partner) was close. Also the names: Ann and Nan, Edna and Eden. It was unnecessarily distracting and the story could have used more original names.

Plot

This is a very plot driven story. Steady storytelling punctuated by action scenes including an assault and a shootout! This book starts with a simple homicide…so you think. It balloons out quickly and just when you think everything has been uncovered…there is another twist!  It brings lots of different elements into a single setting. I thought it did a good job of showing what Detective Valentine had to contend with on an enforcement front without losing the personal piece. The police procedure seemed on point.

Overall

I guessed the ending but the author did a good job of misdirection. I was certain and then I hesitated, thought I’d gotten it wrong. Then I was positive, but it wasn’t until nearly the end. That was a job well done by the author. Lulled you into a state of calm and then starts to build the suspense to a crescendo.

Rating

4 Stars

A solid mystery that will keep you on your toes with each new twist. You might just get this one wrong!

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Summary

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Characters

I was not very fond of Diana for most of the book. Her strong points seemed more like flaws most of the time. Made it really hard to connect and like her. Michael was another creature all together. I found his chapter very enjoyable…and then I was like, why aren’t there more? It is like it introduces him and his point of view and then abandons it for over half the book. I liked a lot of the supporting characters but some of them were a little bland. There were also a few times it felt like it left Diana’s point of view which was confusing.

Plot

Diana doesn’t want to be a witch. Her parents are dead because they were witches but her magic isn’t listening very well. Which is only made worse when she stumbles onto the Ashmore and then a vampire. A love story wrapped in a historical bow with a dash of magic and mayhem.

This plot winds around and constantly says it is going to do one thing and then does something else. It would be like going shopping for milk but getting distracted by bread and then the eggs because we might need those too. The story was never straight forward so be prepared.

Overall

For what this book was…it was way too long. I nearly quit reading this book multiple times, only sticking with it because I was so impressed by the research and the fact that it had been recommended to me. I enjoyed it overall but I won’t be reading any more of the series. Amazing amount of research was done to make the historical aspects seemingly flawless. It was punctuated by a romance that would have been more enjoyable if it had been more believable. I get being attracted quickly and even loving quickly but they jumped into the deep end super quickly and I just had a hard time jumping into the deep end with them.

Rating

3.5 Stars (round down)

If you love the writing of historical novels that have paranormal romantic plots, this is a must read. It just wasn’t for me.

Where I got a copy?

Purchased at a local bookstore—Fireside Books.

Flames to the Beast (Beast #1) by M.A. Levi

Summary

After the dismal slums of the city Fortaleza was aglow with the orange flickers of the tavern fire and Leonardo’s howls of death were no longer heard, Eli Santos became overridden with failure and guilt. Distraught over the death of his rouge brother-in-law, there in the darkness a figure emerged. An ally turned foe, commanding leader of the Holy army in the Order of St. Michael- Keller glorified in murdering one of Eli’s own kin after he exposed him as a werewolf. With fur as black as the night, Eli remained unseen in the shadows as he listened to Keller make a vow so vile, he dared to enact the words of an ancient and feared prophecy of his people: Flames to the Beast.

In the first installment of the Beast Trilogy, escape with Eli and Roslyn Santos from the clutches of a Half-born and his corrupted army on this fast paced journey to Michigan to gather their strongest ally, George ‘Quicksilver’ Crownwelm, and take it upon themselves to start a legacy as a means to protect themselves and ensure the existence of their werewolf brethren known in the second prophecy as Beast Bloods.

Amazon

Characters

There are three main characters in this book—Roslyn, Eli, and Keller. Keller is Roslyn’s childhood friend who decided being in the friendzone was not an option. Roslyn and Eli are soulmates. For some reason it took most of the book for me to like Eli and Roslyn. They felt a little flat at first, but they for sure grow on you by the end of the book. Keller on the other hand was vividly written. Although deranged and manipulated by an inner demon, he was a complexly written character. One of the worst aspects of this book was the head hoping—it is all over the place. One moment you are in one character’s mind and then another. It is all over the place and difficult to keep straight, especially when characters seemed to know things they shouldn’t.

Plot

It feels like a pre-story—a legend being born. A demon manipulates a man’s desire to love and be loved, and sets the wheels in motion. Set on Earth in the not too distant past (late 1800s), it gives a paranormal twist. There were a lot of paranormal differences—vampires are referenced but demons are there more often. The central paranormal creature is werewolves – or blood beasts. The twist? They are warriors of God. This is where the book takes a more biblical/dark Fantasy turn. Thankfully it isn’t overbearing and was excellently executed.

Overall

The book is for sure for adults. There is cursing and a lot of gore. The writing is a combination of vivid imagery and clumsy phrasing. Plus the setting are very descriptive and there are lots of senses engaged—creating an in-depth feeling to the world.

The intro was basically written to download the reader but is off-putting and overwhelming instead. It was meant to give backstory to the characters but is instead chock full of information dumping. Plus Leonardo is not a likable character. However, the story and action picks up pace immediately.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

Overall an unpolished gem with lots of potential and interesting concepts and themes. A mixture of paranormal and historical with religious undertones.

Where did I get a copy?

The author provided me a copy. This is a voluntary review.

2018 Book Tag – Princess Book Tag

I love Disney princesses. So when I saw this on Mandy’s page and had to do it! This was done by Mandy and Zuky (Mandy’s link & Zuky’s link). This is JUST FOR 2018!!

This tag was super fun to make because picking new and unique subjects for each Princess was a challenge but exciting! Anyway, let’s get on with the tag!

snow white

SNOW WHITE

THIS BOOK (LIKE THE MOVIE) STARTED IT ALL
FAVOURITE DEBUT BOOK FROM AN AUTHOR in 2018

This is an author to keep an eye on. She has an amazing style that will only improve as she continues to write. I got to read book 2 as well and I can say this writing has you turning pages. Even though Lady of Justice wasn’t perfect it was engaging.

 

 

Cenicienta-4.jpg

CINDERELLA

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
JUST LIKE CINDERELLA, YOU EITHER DIDN’T EXPECT MUCH OUT OF THIS CHARACTER IN THE BEGINNING BUT THEY TURNED OUT TO BE A TOTAL GEM in 2018

The Wake Up

I didn’t expect much of Lexi when this started but she really grew on me. I missed her when the story was over. She had so many flaws and seemed like a doormat. The Wake Up ended up being the best book of the year and it was mostly due to Lexi. I missed her when she was gone.

 

aurora (1).jpg

AURORA

SLEEPING BEAUTY
A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU SLEEPY OR JUST COULD NOT HOLD YOUR ATTENTION in 2018

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

It took me two months of slow reading to finish this book. If I hadn’t been recommended this book I probably would have quit in the beginning. It constantly over-detailed…everything. I’m glad I stuck to it but A Discovery of Witches was too long for what it was.

 

ariel2

ARIEL

UNDER THE SEA
A BOOK WITH A WATER/OCEAN SETTING in 2018

Ugly Things We Hide

Ugly Things We Hide was spent a lot of time on the ocean or by the ocean. As you can tell from the picture a lot of the major parts of the book were in Hawaii or always came back to the island.

 

belle

BELLE

BEAUTY AND THE BOOKS
NAME A BOOK WITH THE BEST BOOKWORM/BOOK LOVER in 2018

The Mosaic by Chris Keaton

They had a museum in the book with lots of cool stuff including books. Although not the same thing exactly they did enjoy books and mentioned it.

 

jasmine

JASMINE

THE THIEF AND THE PRINCESS
NAME BOOK WITH AN UNLIKELY LOVE STORY (EITHER IN TERMS OF ROMANCE OR A BOOK YOU DIDN’T EXPECT TO LOVE SO MUCH) in 2018

No Songs Are Sung (A Mercenary of Palladia Book 1)

This mans man adult book had a surprised…romance? I don’t know if I can call it that exactly. What was surprising was the aftermath. I didn’t expect the main character to be so affected by it. That is what made No Songs are Sung a better read then I thought it would be from the way it started!

 

 

mulan (2)

MULAN

THE PRINCESS THAT SAVED HER COUNTRY
NAME THE FIERCEST HEROINE YOU KNOW in 2018

Reader (Affinity Series, #2)

Gosh it was good to see Kim again in Reader. Unlike the first book where Kim is very fierce, Kim is scarred and struggling. She is still recovering and at first her powers aren’t working well. She is terrified by all the changes, which is only made worse when she reads. Despite that she is so reckless and headstrong.  Despite everything Kim is still a very strong female lead.

 

tiana

TIANA

THE PRINCESS WITH THE COOLEST AND MOST DIVERSE CREW
NAME A DIVERSE BOOK WHETHER IT IS A DIVERSE SET OF CHARACTERS (LIKE TIANA’S GROUP OF NAVEEN, LOUIS, RAY, AND MORE) OR JUST DIVERSE IN GENERAL in 2018

The Gnosis Machine

There were so many unique characters! Fair warning I did not like the Professor one wit. Thankfully he is one among many character, including the spontaneous and ambitious Douglas Morgan and budding scientist Jason. My favorite characters and interactions by far are those that involve Sunny (Douglas’s adoptive daughter) and the righteous Captain. I also very much liked Maribella. She had a backbone and a tragic story, but she had her head on right…can’t say that for all the other characters. And the spontaneous alien – I won’t say much there for fear I’ll give too much away on the shape shifting alien.

 

merida

MERIDA

I DETERMINE MY OWN FATE
A BOOK WHERE THERE IS NO LOVE STORY/INTEREST OR ISN’T NEEDED

Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords (Yarnsworld #3)

Besides a love of swords there is no love story in this book. Just a general comradery. It was very refreshing.

 

moana

MOANA

HOW FAR I’LL GO
A CHARACTER THAT GOES ON A JOURNEY

Heir to a Prophecy

A historical fictional feel with paranormal overtone. This is basically a series of the MC going on journey after journey. For war. For family. For love. Traveling all over the ancient Shakespearean world.

There we have it! The New Disney Princess Book tag! I hope you all really enjoyed reading it!

I’ll tag: @devouringbooks2017 and @booklattes