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.

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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.

West Quarry Farm by James Stillwood

Summary

He’s still out there. Still doing the same thing. It’s not just the fact he kills them that’s shocking, but it’s the way he does it. Can you be certain it won’t be you next?

Working at a supermarket, living with her teenage daughter and caring for her elderly mother, on the surface, Mel William’s life appears to be ordinary. But Mel is on a quest. She is determined to find the man who harmed her daughter, and nothing will stop her from hunting him down.
With a loving husband, a young daughter and plans to expand her own business, to the outsider, Rebecca Stead would seem to have the perfect life. Then, one day, she is thrown off course by a chance meeting.
A horrifying event binds these two women together.

Characters

I thought the summary misrepresented who we would see the most of. I expected we’d spend most of the book with Mel Williams but there are twice as many chapters with Phil (Matteson) and Rebecca Stead. This is important because I wasn’t a fan of Rebecca at all. In fact most times I just wanted her chapters to end. Mel on the other hand I had a lot of respect for. Phil is one bad dude and the author did an amazing job making him creepy and calmly evil. Also Jenny (Rebecca’s friend) is a hoot.

Plot

The author had a lot of aspects running at once to keep the reader guessing. It was suspenseful in a slow and ‘not sure when this is going to get really bad’ sort of way. I felt the author spent too much time on Rebecca’s life but I get that it was to build her character and the suspense. I actually felt really bad for her husband and daughter. Rebecca made choices and was a freaking idiot and I couldn’t bring myself to like her for the duration of the book. The author added in a stalker which was great.

Overall

This was such a British psychological thriller. The setting was set to match this. It actually reminded me a big of Blood on the Wire. It was unnerving and suspenseful but took a long time to have something happen. It had weird moments that were meant to increase the intensify. Then the action spikes for the characters and is resolved a chapter later. Thankfully there is an epilogue which shows where all the characters are.

The writing was easy to follow, although there were some British terms I wasn’t sure on. There were limited errors, mostly punctuation errors, but I did note an overuse of colons. The characters were mostly consistent but Rebecca was all over the board emotionally. Honestly she was such a mess that it made the plot believable, but also took me out of the suspense of the book more than  once.

Rating

4 stars

The suspense in the books builds and builds. It was unpredictable and it took me awhile to figure out where it was going. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending even if I didn’t like all the characters.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Somewhere in the Shallow Sea: A Novel of Suspense by Dennis Macaraeg

Summary

In this suspenseful thriller, two lovers are in a race against all odds in the jungles of the Philippines to save their kidnapped friend. Somewhere in the Shallow Sea will test Danny and Helen’s determination in order to outwit Dr. Klein, the man who is after the scientific compound they brought as ransom.

Characters

Danny is a decent character. Flawed, trying to do the right thing, and utterly believable. Helen was strong and never a damsel in distress. They were great characters together and I really enjoyed their interactions. I hadn’t expected there to be romance in the book and I wasn’t sure if it added to or detracted from the book. I won’t lie, at times I felt the romance was filler but I enjoyed it. That being said, the biggest issue wasn’t with the characters, even though the ‘bad guy’ was a little over the top at times (almost generic), it was the jarring character POV shifts.

Plot

Predictable. It was interesting, and suspenseful, but it was almost painfully predictable. I thought there was going to be an awesome twist but it didn’t happen. I really enjoyed the fight scenes, the author did an excellent job of writing them in such a way that they were easy to follow along.

Overall

I enjoyed it. Besides getting lost a few times on who was talking, or what POV I was in, it was good. There were a few convenient moments that made me think the main character should have been Professor Melchor because without him this entire rescue couldn’t have even gotten off the ground. Despite its flaws the writer’s depiction of the Philippines was amazing. I was swept away into the setting and loved the overall progression of the novel.

Rating

3 stars.

It was okay. The bad and good balanced out; this was an enjoyable, suspenseful book. It is a ‘reset’ book that isn’t too complicated and is a book you can put in gear and just cruise through. Beware of POV shifts, but that is paired with an engrossing look at the Philippines and awesome action scenes.