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.

Advertisements

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!

White Clay by Dora Ilieva

Summary

After a horrific car crash which kills her aunt and uncle, Kossara discovers that she has a brother! Tormented by questions, she sets out to find the truth about her family. The search leads her to a secret much bigger than her personal problems. In a race against time, she struggles to decipher the instructions left by her father. Will she be able to carry out the task which has been entrusted to her or will the blind seer’s terrible prophecy come true?

Characters

I liked Kossara. She can be a little fool-hearty but given the circumstances I don’t blame her. Some of the supporting characters are very vivid while others just feel washed out and plain. Her grandfather is a very vivid and nasty character. Andre is one of those fence people, I don’t know how I feel about him and he doesn’t know which path to take. Don’t worry it turns out well. Toughest part of this book was the stilted conversations and the POV shifts. There was a narrative feel with lots of head hoping between characters with no clear transition. I loved the flashbacks with the Doctor and Venera.

Plot

At first I was just somewhat interested but I quickly was sucked in. I just had to know where it was going and how all the pieces fit together. That was as important as how the present mattered so much to the past. I cannot write anything but Kossara is a very resourceful woman who I really loved following around on her adventures.

There is a romance aspect near the end but it is super flat and lackluster. I’m hoping it has long reaching effects and that there is more meaning to it, but as it was not very exciting. I also felt the supernatural aspect was a little convenient as well – the blind seer – but since I was warned of it in the blurb it wasn’t as strange as it could have been.

Overall

I really liked this plot. It had this zigzag feel that the past having impact on the present. I felt a few times that this book was as much about what was said as what wasn’t. A few times you had to take leaps of faith with where the author was going, and fill in context or even movement of characters. It wasn’t as distracting as the POV switching but far warning you’ll have to fill in some gaps. Perhaps the gaps are filled in the first two books? Although I do feel like this book can mostly standalone.

I liked the nice little twist at the end. Well one of the two twists, the first one was very abrupt and more than a little disappointing but I applaud the author for doing the twist near the end, just when you think it is all over, I didn’t see it coming. I wondered if it would happen but thought it wouldn’t happen yet. Nice surprise! I do love a good twist. Not to mention the core idea behind the story – the subtle meaning behind the title and what the whole point was. Very thought provoking.

Rating

3.5 (Rounded up and down)

I was super torn on this book – I liked it so that’s what I’m going to mark on each. The plot was such so catching and I was quickly sucked in. However, with every POV shift and shaky dialogue I was shook out of my revery. WIth a few fixes this could easily be a solid 4 star book.

This is a voluntary review.

In What Remains by K.B. Rose

Summary

When Rachel and her family make a routine stop and become the targets of a violent assault, their summer road trip descends into a nightmare. Only the intervention of a stranger saves her life, and as they flee the crime scene, she wavers between fear and self-preservation. Can she trust him? Can she afford not to? Short-tempered and wholly impatient with her, Eric was somehow connected to it all, but he’s her key to surviving in a bleak new world. The first step in doing this is running as fast, and as far, as she can.

Moving forward in a dissolute whirlwind, Rachel has just one goal: to forget that day, by any means possible. But as her tangled connection with Eric deepens, she can’t quite forgive his role in it. She can’t forget his ties to the person responsible. And she can’t let go of the anger that begins to take root, leading her into a dangerous quest she might not come back from.

In What Remains is a dark and gritty novel of loss, love, and survival in a time when everything familiar is gone.

Note: This book contains explicit language, sexual content, drug use, violence, criminal activity, and women who fight back. Intended for mature readers only.

Characters

Rachel is both the most awesome character and the worst. In my mind she felt more like a leaf caught in a current being pulled downstream. Instead of fighting it she just went along with it, choosing survival above all else. Eric was complicated and vivid. He was the center in most of this novel, the pillar that bridged all of the individuals together. Suzy was hilarious, but represented the catalyst. All wonderfully portrayed and gritty.

Plot

I struggled with this being a romance for the first half of the book. Ultimately it is for the second half of the book and I loved it. I actually think the primary plot is more of a suspense. It was nail biting and hard to put down. I stayed up late a few nights in a row to finish it! I don’t want to give anything away but this was not for the faint of heart. This is one roller coaster ride worth riding!

Overall

I was really impressed with this book. I loved the romance. I was cheering for them. I loved how unpredictable the first half of the book was. I will note that ultimately knowing it was a romance meant I knew where it was going and how it was going to end. That was both good and bad – I knew it would all work out but it also lost some of the edge because I suspected it would have a happy ending. I’m still not sure if I was completely satisfied with the ending.

There were two parts that I didn’t like. As wonderful and gritty as it was, Rachel being underage for much of the first part of the book when she is spiraling, really put me on edge. I struggled with it. Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderfully written, but I personally almost quite twice at certain terrible parts of the book. I don’t care that she was an adult when the really bad stuff happened – I felt like the author specifically made her 18 for that scene so that I wouldn’t cringe. At that point I started to think how convenient it was that she was 18, rather than what was happening to the character. I also disliked right near the end, when she eventually faces Jimmy. I actually was disappointed with that entire part of the book – felt it was unnecessary and went too far.

Rating

4.5 Stars (rounded down)

Amazing characters, gritty realism, and nail biting suspense. The underage aspect of the main character was just too much for me when this was supposed to be a ‘romantic suspense.’ Would totally read another of the author’s book!

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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.

In the Space of an Atom by Bruce M. Perrin

Summary

Jeremy Reynolds has been listless for a while now. First, his girlfriend of 4 years dumped him, and he was in a funk. Then, he quit his job as an accountant. Yes, Jeremy was doing little and caring less. But recently, he has found something that energizes him, something that gives him direction, something that gets him out of the house every day. It’s called…running for his life.

Just as Jeremy was finishing the last in a string of low-paying, temporary market research gigs, the study assistant pulls a gun on him and tries to kill him. When Jeremy bungles his way to freedom, he realizes that the technology in this study is much more than it first appeared. It’s enough to kill for. But he also knows he is in way over his head. So, when the lab and the would-be assassin disappear, and the police close the case, Jeremy is desperate for help. He finds it in the beautiful, young Diane Stapleton, MD. Now, the two of them match wits with the killer, in chases that take them where no one has gone before…in the space of an atom.

Characters

Jeremy’s life is a bit of a mess. He is a bit of a mess really. Kind of just wandering aimlessly. Diane is exactly the opposite. She knows what she is doing and is happy to be where she is. She is confident and daring. Jeremy on the other hand is a bit of a klutz and quick to blush. I really liked their dynamic. Jones on the other hand is a bit over the top -as is the doctor guy Jeremy was doing the work for. The cop created a further dynamic. Despite that they are fun characters over all. This is all from Jeremy’s POV.

Plot

This was presented as a sci-fi but it really reads more like a suspense. Clueless hero falls in with a mystery scientific experiment that does the impossible and thus chaos ensues. I don’t want to go into too much detail on the specifics because the mystery is half the fun but Jeremy fumbles around through the whole thing in a way I’d imagine most people would.

There is some limited humor – mostly Jeremy falling – but it was well placed. There is, of course, a romance aspect. If you didn’t pick up on that you didn’t read the summary above. At times I felt the romantic parts of the book just pulled me away from the suspense and sci-fi pieces, but other parts I liked. For sure action-packed.

Overall

There was just enough science fiction to keep it interesting on that level. It is set in modern day as far as I could tell – in St. Louis. The setting itself was a little weak as it didn’t do a good job describing St. Louis as a whole, but where the author failed in the setting more than made up for in pace. This is a face paced read that once I started reading, read fairly quickly. Limited grammatical errors. The ending was a little far fetched in the timing of it but I’ve simply concluded that Jeremy is very lucky. In more ways than one.

Rating

4 stars

I waffled between 3 and 4 stars because of the sci-fi genre being the focus but just didn’t feel right only giving it 3. Fun read! Exciting, interesting, and steeped in romance. If you like science fiction, romance, and suspense books – this is the perfect book for you!

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.