Burner (Affinity Series, #1) by J.S. Lenore

Summary:

Homicide detective Kim Phillips isn’t like the other officers of the Chicago Police Department. She’s quiet, isolated, and she can speak with the dead. Born with the ability to see into and interact with the afterlife, she is a Burner: a person tasked with hunting down dangerous spirits and sending them to the other side.

When Kim exorcises the ghost of a young girl, she’s dragged into a new and unsettling case, one where people like Kim are being killed. The only problem? There’s no connection between the victims, and no proof that they were murdered in the first place. Kim has to catch the killer before he finds his last victim and unleashes an unknown evil on the world.

Burner, the first book in the Affinity Series, is a dark exploration of how life and death are only separated by a single breath and how even those with power can be powerless.

Characters

Kim is a bit of a mess, but in a charming way. Her stubborn, almost self destructive drive to make things right and do them her way, is perfectly balanced by Priya. Priya is a bonded ghost (like a supernatural partner) and a sweetie! Cross is a very distinct character and I loved him almost more than Kim. The author created wonderfully diverse characters that, despite their flaws, were easy to love and even relate to.

Plot

The author built a complex world with lots of mediums and types of mediums that is pretty easy to follow. It is confusing a few times in the first few chapters but I got into the grove. Found out there is a glossary in the back that confirmed everything I had figured out, I’d recommend taking a peak there first.

There is a complex detective story that was decent. I figured it out pretty quickly but mostly enjoyed the journey and the action. Boy was there a ton of great action! I also liked the building romance between her and her new human partner…you’ll see how cute they are and I hope to see more of them!

Overall

Wonderfully written. I loved the way the author started the book – right into the action. Besides some repeated paragraphs in the earlier chapters, it was nearly flawless. I wasn’t sure what the point of the random pictures were throughout the book and actually though they could all go because they were distracting.

Relate-able characters, great plot, easy to follow world in an urban setting, and a great balance of romance and action. The ghost scenes were awesome! I wasn’t bored and every word was written with economy. I was very impressed all the way around. I kept wanting to read what was happening next!

Rating

5 stars

I loved this book. I was initially drawn to it because it said it was like the Dresden Series – and it was in many ways – but there were a lot of unique factors that just had that edge. For sure will be looking for more from this author in the future! If you love ghost/supernatural detective stories this is a must read!

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Hart of His (Cale & Mickey #2) by Annie Arcane

Summary

Moving in with Mickey Hart has taught me a few lessons.

523 square feet is really f*cking small. Sharing a bathroom is the worst idea ever when you’re a damn paraplegic. Never lie, no matter what. And one more thing…

I’m madly in love with this girl.

Warning: Strong language, mature content, drama, and angst included. Shirt sold separately.

This novella is an adult contemporary romance featuring a disabled hero who (still) happens to be a rich and sexy alpha male with a potty mouth.

Cale and Mickey: Book 2 of 4

Characters

It has been a while since I read the first book and it was nice to see Mickey and Cale again. They are very awesome flawed characters. Stubborn but sweet. Stupid but witty. Even with a second book, the characters stayed true to what I remembered about them and it was like meeting up with old friends and having them tell me what has been going on lately. I was also happy to see Cale’s brother has a few snippets in there too! Gotta love those sibling quibbles.

Plot

After the events of book 1, Cale and Mickey have moved in together. Life goes on but not without some bumps. That is what this book is all about: Bumps. Cale is still a butt-head and Mickey is still nearly unflappable. This is really about Cale coming to terms with what he wants for him and Mickey. He wants things a very specific way but Mickey isn’t going to just let him have his way – because, as previously stated, he is a butt-head.

Overall

The plot was a little jerky. I didn’t always follow what was happening from one chapter to another. At one point I was so confused that I went back and had to reread the end and the beginning – and I still wasn’t sure. Despite a few head scratches, the characters were wonderfully written. I found myself chuckling more than once. One of the many reasons why I finishing reading this is in just two days – most could probably do it in one.

Rating

4 Stars

This is a solid 4 stars. If you read the first book –  you will certainly enjoy the second one. If you haven’t read the first one but like the idea of this novella – go back – the first book was great!

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Sixth Gate Release – Prequel #Free

Hello everyone! After two years of labor I’m very excited to announce the release of The Sixth Gate, book 1 in The Gate Trilogy. This is a Young Adult Dark Fantasy.*

Summary:

The interplanetary gates have existed between the five planets and the Netherworld for as long as living memory.

Dr. Elisabeth Avery is a woman caught between two worlds. Little does she know that others like her, other half-breeds, are being hunted. When a creature drags a princess into the Netherworld, Elisabeth is determined to save her by any means necessary.

Meanwhile, on the planet of Hystera, a Keeper and his assistant investigate a grisly string of suicides and are in need of someone with Elisabeth’s skills. The Gate Guardians and Elisabeth are aware that something is coming and know that it has something to do with the Netherworld bleeding through to the planets, but not why. 

Will Elisabeth be able to come to terms with who she is in time to face the coming threat?

Goodreads

Amazon

In honor of the release of The Sixth Gate I’ve made the prequel free. That’s right – free! If you’d like a short story introduction to The Gate Trilogy – this is the best way to do it. The Gate Guardian’s Daughter introduces Elisabeth when she is a child and her adoptive father Malthael who is a reformed demon.

You can get it here for free: I’m Free on Amazon! Also free on Kindle Unlimited!

*Includes graphic scenes involving suicide.

The Travel Mate by J.A. Kalis

Summary:

A young woman goes missing while trekking in a remote mountain region.

As days pass without any sign of life from her, her family’s concerns grow. What has happened? What does her sudden silence mean? Is she in danger? Does she need help?

Her father and sister realize that passive waiting – waiting for answers that may never come – won’t get them anywhere. Time is pressing and they must act. A single wasted moment could make all the difference between finding the missing woman dead or alive. So they embark on a frantic search, a wild journey through Georgia and the South West of France that before long turns into a desperate life-and-death struggle as they cross paths with a ruthless killer on the lookout for his next prey.

Characters

Patrick and Carol, father and sister of the young woman who goes “missing,” are the main characters. They are main characters along side the ‘bad’ characters. It was nice to get in to the head of the killer. A big problem with this book was it didn’t stay in each person’s POV well. I would get confused on who exactly the chapter was for because the narrator (Patrick/Carol/etc) would know things that only the other character would know.

Plot

The book is intense! It was nail biting and for sure shocking. I guessed a few items but I was wrong on a few minor ones which was kind of awesome. I did feel like there were too many coincidences and I felt like one character was there just to die and add that effect. Probably because the author made this character so useless and easy to dislike – I thought it was a cop out in a few ways. I don’t want to give too much away but it was an excellent thriller.

Overall

The writing was easy to follow. The book wasn’t excessive – except in Patrick’s thoughts perhaps felt repetitive but they were realistic given the circumstances. The author didn’t go for a happily ever after which was very refreshing. The setting was well constructed and once they arrived in France I could picture much of the scenes in my head due to the descriptive language.

The convenience plot points and some of the predictable plot points were easy to overlook because they were built up to. The POV switching could be easily fixed. What really stuck was the ending. It was wrapped up in a perfect little bow and felt really rushed. The hasty ending didn’t bother me too much except what the ‘wrap up’ ending was. It was such a let down. Those two items is the biggest reasons I lowered my rating.

Rating

4 Stars

Fantastic nail biting thriller with a rushed ending. I’d highly recommend this for people who love a good suspenseful thriller.

I downloaded a copy when it was free.

Life II by Scott Spotson

Summary:

Upon discovering a 1958 book titled “Account of Time Travel on Earth Using Wave Theory,” 42-year-old Max Thorning’s life is thrown into chaos. Seeking answers to the book’s cryptic clues, he discovers Dr. Time, a seemingly benign alien who has control of the Time Weaver, a remarkable device that can command any scene from the Earth’s past. Dr. Time offers him a choice to go back into Time, to any point in his lifespan that he can vividly recall. The catch: he can only bring his memories, and can only live the future one day at a time. Follow Max’s dilemma as he goes back to his 16-year-old self and tries to forge his destiny into a new one called Life II.

Characters

Max is the main character and most of the novel is told from his point of view. The author does a great job of creating very flawed but hopeful character. There are some jarring point of view changes that I think were distracting, but they were luckily few and far between. I don’t want to give too much but I was very impressed with the cast of characters.

Plot*

I’d like to start by saying I HATE TIME TRAVEL BOOKS. They are usually poorly executed and poorly thought out. That is not the case here. This book thoroughly explores the decision to ‘time travel’ and the consequences for doing so. If you love time travel books more for the science aspect, you have to pick this up.

Max decides to travel back to when he was 16 and change his future. He isn’t happy in his current life – particularly his marriage – and he wants to change it. So he does. He agrees to re-write his life.

Overall

It was a captivating prospect. The writing was mostly easy to follow and filled with Max’s emotions. The overall book was lengthy – almost excessively so. Although I did appreciate the level of detail in which Max’s life was explored, I also found myself going cross-eyed during the more mundane portions.  I was really captivated by the last 15% or so. It is important to know that some threads of plot are left unresolved and although Max’s story has a general resolution, it seems to me that the author isn’t done and could pick up one of those incomplete threads.

What really was the deciding factor was the deeply seeded philosophical effects of Max’s choice to travel back. That is what really struck a cord with me. I both pitied and hated Max, while still finding a middle ground to accept his decisions. It was quite an emotional roller-coaster ride!

Rating

3.5 Stars (rounded up)

Despite my hatred for time travel books – this was expertly done. If you like time travel books – this is a must read! Especially if you like more of the human aspects of time travel.

*I received this as a Science Fiction novel and agree with that. However, in my opinion, this is not for teens and is a stretch even for the New Adults genre.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Albedo by R. Leib

Summary

Ranner’s done a lot of things in his life, defended planets in the HSG, shot it out with pirates, and muscled for smugglers. Now he’s settled down into being a bodyguard so that his adopted daughter can have a normal life. Offered the chance of a lifetime for just doing his job seemed too good to be true. He would have to see what the albedo deflected to know for certain.

Overall

This is a like a hardboiled detective novel but with a science fiction feel. Actually it reminded me of those old noir movies but a futuristic version. For such a short snapshot it had the pieces necessary for a mystery. Ranner is both clever and reformed…as best as he can be from his old ways. The plot was both interesting and horrifying, but I don’t want to say more in case I’ll ruin the mystery. I felt like it was wrapped up a little too easily but may have just been a nod to Ranner’s ability.

Rating

4 stars

A great little detective short story that is a great read for a short lunch break. If you like a grim science fiction with a mystery, this is a great read for you!

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.

The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay

Summary

When three young boys stumble into Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life one night during a winter storm, they claim they’ve seen a dead body by the swing sets of the Columbia County Elementary School. After he investigates, DeLong sees no evidence, not even a body. But were the boys telling the truth?

With the help of his oldest friend and mentor, former Naval investigator Russ Calhoun, DeLong sets out to find whether Manny Grimes is alive or dead. The further away he gets to the bottom of the mystery, the closer he comes to realize that his own life is falling apart.

Delving deeper into the murder of Manny Grimes, Lieutenant DeLong begins to unravel, losing his sense of control, falling into old temptations he spent years to overcome. Will he be able to move past his own demons and untangle the web of lies before it’s too late?

Characters

This book is filled with deeply flawed characters. There are no white knights in this dark detective noir. Chock full of moral ambiguity on right and wrong, Lieutenant DeLong does one thing right – solving murders. Calhoun is just as flawed. A womanizer with questionable friendship choices, he at least wants to make everything right by solving murders and fixing past mistakes. These are complex characters.

Plot

I absolutely love to be surprised. In the beginning of this plot I thought the author was going to play it safe. I am happy to report that is not the case! This book edges on reality that anything can happen to anyone at anytime. I was well over halfway before I begin the suspect the killer, even though their motives became clear to me earlier on, I still wasn’t sure who the actual killer was. That is the hallmark of a good murder mystery!

This book also explores DeLong’s personal life. Although it enjoyed parts of it, some of it felt long and drawn out. I’d have to stop myself from skipping forward to the next part that involved the mystery aspect. I’m wondering if DeLong’s paranormal encounter will continue into the second book – I sure hope so!

Overall

Part of it reminded me of an old hardboiled detective movies/books brought into the modern age. The only difference being that DeLong is actually a detective. The writing could be stilted at times but also felt very hard detective story. There were some errors, but most of it was punctuation. The author did an excellent job of building suspense, but I felt that the ‘personal drama’ aspects sometimes distracted from the growing tension.

The setting was consistent and added another eerie aspect of being deep winter. The author played this up well. At the end of the day the plot and flawed characters won out. It almost felt like a movie you’d watch on Netflix on a cold winter day. I don’t see why this couldn’t also be read on a cold winter day as well!

Rating

4 stars

If you like complex murder mysteries with a touch of drama, this is perfect for you!

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.