Loved by a Killer by C.F. Rabbiosi

Summary

Raina loved performing upon the London stage, but one night she found herself dancing for only HIM. She froze, and looked to the balcony where the gaslights flickered dimly over his shadowy form. If only she had known that this beautiful monster would soon rip her away from everything in the world SHE EVER LOVED, perhaps she wouldn’t have lingered so long.

Lord Marcus Loxley loved being a blood thirsty predator, but one night his gallivanting brought him to his knees in front of HER. If only he had known what would happen when she danced, that she would remind him of someone who was everything in the world HE EVER LOVED, perhaps he would have turned away.

As he drags her deeper and deeper into his depraved world of torture and violence, she begins fighting her own darkness that threatens to consume her everyday. And oh, how it begs to be released. And though she knows it’s wrong, she desires her captor anyway.

Until she begins falling for someone else…

Meanwhile, prostitutes are being butchered in the streets and she begins to fear: Is her dark lover, the one she is bound to, The Ripper?

With an accurate account of the creepy, gaslit times of London and real Jack the Ripper crime scenes, LOVED BY A KILLER is an exciting read from start to finish. Warning: Hot sexual content and graphic gore. Language.

Characters

There are really two main characters: Raina and Marcus. Marcus is exactly what he is, without remorse, though he does try to change. He is a very depraved individual but that is somewhat to be expected from a very old vampire. I appreciated the complexity of the characters. Raina at times felt like a leaf on the wind. Being pulled this way and that until closer to the end where she takes a stab at making her own happiness.

There were lots of other POVs throughout the book, which was very confusing sometimes because they just changed suddenly. It was very confusing at times because I’d think I was following on character but then suddenly it is another character’s POV. The worse was between Marcus and Raina.

Plot

This book is filled with fascinating plot lines. The big problem was there were too many of them – which I normally like but not all of them felt necessary in this instance. They might be necessary later in the series but some of them wrapped up and kind of felt like they didn’t fit the rest of the story. That being said there were some awesomely described macabre scenes that were super epic. That being said there is the main plot of Marcus wanting to possess Raina, Jack the Ripper, and all of his past coming back to haunt him.

Furthermore there were historical inaccuracies and verbiage that took me out of the era of the book. A ripe example is near the end she takes off her dress by using a zipper. Problem is the zipper wasn’t used widely in clothes until after the 1900s, but Jack the Ripper terrorized London in 1888.

Overall

I wasn’t sure if I liked this book. I really liked Raina and I was sucked in at the beginning but my interest quickly waned. This was partially because I found myself disliking both Marcus and Raina (although I warmed up to her closer to the end but never fully liked her again). I also felt some of the gore and scenes were unnecessary – like repeatedly making a point that was well done the first time. In the end the middle part of the book felt long. However, the sudden and unexpected change at the end was very rewarding.

Rating

3 Stars

Loved the beginning and loved the ending, but struggled through the middle. This book has a lot to offer, but needs some work and is not for the faint of heart. This is dark, but entertaining.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Themis by Paul Weil

**Cannot standalone**

Summary:

SARAH CASTLE is a young celebrity reporter from London who stumbles upon the mystery of twelve extraordinary teenagers. One of them is HENRY BAXTER, an eighteen year-old unknown runner who just won The London Marathon. She accepts a position as the public relations chief for their new charity—THE THEMIS FOUNDATION. Sarah experiences events that can only be described as supernatural; including a cottage that appears normal from the outside, but is infinitely large inside with doors that open all over the world. However, Sarah’s proximity to this extraordinary family might just get her killed. In THEMIS, Sarah discovers the family she desperately wants, a love she didn’t expect, and herself at the center of events that will change the destiny for all of humanity. Themis is the first part of a five book series that will take the reader on an adventure into ancient mythology, a fantastic mystery, and deep inside the most unusual family on Earth.

Characters
Sarah Castle is the main character…or at least I think she is supposed to be. There are so many characters, which normally I like, but I struggled with Themis because the back of the book only really talks about Sarah but she is almost non-existent in the second half of the book. Really there are twelve ‘main’ characters with other critical characters like Titus. The biggest problem I had was I didn’t really connect with any of the characters enough to be invested…which made them all a little flat.

The switching characters messed with me a few times because of some unexpected POV shifts where I wasn’t sure who was actually the main character in that chapter. Also there is this part where Sarah falls and I just went ‘are you serious right now?’ because it was painfully predictable and made me dislike Sarah a little…in many ways she never rebounded from that.

Plot

Absolutely loved the multi-faceted plot. I was curious where the story was going to go because of all the pieces and I could easily see some of the future threads. I could easily see this being made into a TV series and I’d totally watch it. The first book was chock full of plot threads that I found absolutely fascinating. It is a really slow read in a few parts but I actually enjoyed the depth most of the time. A downside is the action scenes left me scratching my head a few times –  some of the movements happening in the matter of seconds seemed excessively fast. Also some of the scenes seemed over the top (the gore and sequences).

Overall

I enjoyed the writing but there were some noticeable editing errors – particularly in the second half of the novel. I also found myself somewhat bored during some parts because the writing was too drawn out and excessive but this was due to my inability to connect with the characters and not the writing or the plot. That being said the settings were brilliantly executed and even with the shifting places the reader gets to visit were painted in such a way that I could easily envision them. The complex plot was fascinating, but some of the action was jarring and not fleshed out.

My favorite part of the book was how the author could drop hints about what was coming and really get me interested in what was going to come next with the story. Overall the real issue of the book for me was the lack of cohesion of the individual character plots and the underdeveloped characters that all of a sudden became really important near the end, but were a footnote in the first half of the book. It really left me scratching my head.

***SPOILER***

Don’t read this unless you want a spoiler, but I felt that there were some clear threads with the Terminator movie. Now that can be a good thing or a bad things but the main character being a Sarah really reminded me of Sarah Connor and not just her name. There were a lot of facts that fit into that similar plot thread that I quickly figured out where this whole thing was going to go by the end of the book, especially after she ‘connected’ with the reluctant leader. I say this hoping that Sarah Castle becomes as awesome as Sarah Connor did, either way it struck a cord with me.

***SPOILER OVER***

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

I really want to give this 4 stars, but between the flaws and the fact that I think I would only recommend this to a select few people, I’m stuck at 3 stars. To give it that extra edge though, I’m going to add the 0.5 because I actually would consider reading the second book. In the end a highly complex but enjoyable plot with characters I struggled to connect with.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Small side note only for this blog but I really dislike the cover of this book – I feel like it doesn’t capture what this book is about at all and undervalues how good it is. 

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.

Judge by the Cover (Hafu Sans Halo #1) by Melissa Abigail

Summary:

Haruna Mitsukai is an overachiever with dreams of attending the University of British Columbia.

Ryu Debiru is a bad boy whose only desire is to escape this ridiculous prison called “life.”

Both attend Shady Glenn Academy and despite their similar “hafu” identity, they couldn’t despise each other more.

Years of avoidance come to an end when a major assignment on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice pairs them together.

Just as everything reaches a breaking point, revelations about an old East Side mansion called “Heaven” causes Haruna to question everything she thought she knew about him.

As for Ryu? Well, all that glitters is most certainly not gold.

Characters

Haruna is a very annoying character. I felt like the author tried too hard to make her unlikable. She doesn’t really improve with the book either until right near the end. Ryu is a different story. He is very complex and well thought out. He had all the character depth that Haruna lacked. He was a shining star in this otherwise bland cast of characters.

Plot

This book tried way too hard to be mysterious. The problem is the first half of the book is so boring. I was actually not enjoying the whole high school plot with Haruna and her friends. It was rather repetitive at times and I felt like the first half of the book could have been cut in half with the second half being expanded.

Also I get that Haruna and Ryu went to school together but sometimes I felt like Haruna and Ryu being thrown together too often. Like they were two bouncy balls tied together by a string that kept contracting and pulling them together. I believe this was worse because it felt forced at times.

That being said the plot after about the 60% point really picks up! I after that I rushed to finish it because the main POV switched from Haruna to Ryu and his POV was much more interesting. There were some aspects of his chapters that fell short, but they were much more lively. I wondered if the contrast between Haruna and Ryu was purposeful to show the gab between them even more, but it felt too wide.

Overall

The writing could be sharpened but was find for a Young Adult read and had limited errors. The setting was flat. Although the characters weren’t all interesting, but some of the characters were fantastic. They could be given some work to polish them up and make them more realistic. Haruna was complex but she also felt fake to me – again this could have been on purpose but to me it was distracting and annoying.

I had a hard time marrying up the first half of the book with the second half of the book. Where the first half of the book was dull and difficult to get through, the second half of the book was gripping and interesting. The pacing of this book could be greatly improved. It was a decent Young Adult novel and for those who like high school based novels with a twist, this is a good read.

Rating

3 stars

I didn’t love or hate this book. If you like books that develop slowly, this book is for sure for you, it just wasn’t for me. It earns 3 stars because I like the root premise of this book: Don’t judge a person by how they look.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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.