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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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.

Vermilion Tears by Tia Lee

Summary

Vermilion Tears is a gothic paranormal novel set in Victorian times. Lydia comes from humble beginnings living with her family in New Haven. Her life gets turned upside down when she is on a train to New York City to start her new life. Lydia is attacked by supernatural creatures she didn’t even realize existed. Now a supernatural being herself, she finds herself fleeing from a brutal captor and trying to keep her family intact. Will she be caught or will she succeed in escaping and restoring her family?

Characters

Lydia is a leaf caught on the wind of change. She seems to go with the flow…not always making the best of decisions. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like her or not. What I can say is that after she turns and is a captive, I finally felt like I got to know Lydia’s character. Edgar and Ruben were interesting supporting characters. I’d also like to mention that I had a hard time with multiple chapters being in first person, which may have further contributed to some very confusing POV shifts. As a side note: I hated Edgar’s lengthy monologues and it really hampered my overall like of them.

Plot

I love Gothic novels, especially Victorian era with a paranormal twist. Penny Dreadful always comes to mind when I see this genre. This book is no different. There were aspects of the plot I just loved. The paranormal aspect was absolutely nailed – it had all of the fan favorites. Not to mention the witches! Loved them. I actually was really enjoying the novel despite its flaws…until the epilogue. It felt rushed, choppy, and I felt like I got whiplash at the sudden change. All of which would have been great earlier in the book. I love when books surprise me, but this felt like a last minute addition to set the stage for a second book.

Overall

There were some historical inaccuracies and some of the conversations were just a little too modern to be believable in the time. Such as they ordered a Bloody Mary in the mid-1800s. Since this is marked as a historical novel, I feel it is important to point this out. That being said if you can overlook the flaws historical aspects, you’ll enjoy the plot like I did. Still loving the paranormal aspects of the story the most! Honestly I wondered once to twice why this wasn’t written in a more recent time frame.

The setting was well developed, which was why I could picture many of the scenes in my head. That being said there were many parts of the plot that felt too convenient. I struggled with how the characters knew some of the information. For example, when Lydia is attacked she immediately knew it was a vampire. I thought this was alternative history where people are suspicious of the supernatural and believe in it, but not that it is a every day place. Perhaps I missed this but some of the leaps the characters make in figuring things out was a stretch more than once.

Rating

3 Stars

It was okay. Strong paranormal story with some needed work in plot and character development. Felt more like a paranormal thriller or suspense, rather than a historical novel.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Naked Desire (Desire #2) by Lydia Larue

Summary

When Kelly Swinson learns that Manuel Alvarez escaped federal prison, she relives the trauma from her past once more, and her common sense says to listen to logic, but her ambition keeps her fighting her husband and his concern for safety at every turn.

As Manuel gets closer to finding them, she feels herself opening up to the idea of placing her family first and grows concerned with what will happen if the ex-drug lord would find them. Her ambition to remain in the public eye is falling, and she begins to envision a life outside of Channel 5 News with her family. But Crazy Manny stands in the way.

Overall

This is a short story – easy enough to read in one sitting although I did take a break in the middle. The characters were alright, I particularly liked Tony. Although I did admire Kelly’s drive but ability at self reflection (even if it was annoying at first). This was as much of a story about Kelly and Tony’s marriage as Crazy Manny trying to get his revenge. It was a good read, the flow was a little off, but the writing was mostly easy to follow. I really don’t like the cover though – it was very misleading. I enjoyed it but was really irritated me was the outcome of the book. .

Rating

3 stars

Thrilling read with an excellently written bad guy. Just be warned about the questionable ending.

I received a copy in exchange for 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.

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.