Books I Read In March 2016

The Running Game

by L.E. Fitzpatrick

This book has it all… friendship, courage, intrigue, suspense, murder, betrayal and more, and I loved it.

I was hooked by the end of the opening chapter and the unique plot kept me captivated right up to the last page.

L E Fitzpatrick’s vivid descriptions depict S’aven as a dreary place with a dark and corrupt society, – not a great place to live.

The main characters, both good and bad, are well-rounded and believable with their own traits and behaviours, and I found myself rooting for Rachel, John and Charlie.

The ending was well done, no cliffhanger, but plenty of room for a sequel, and I’ll be waiting for it.

 

Rachel’s father called it the running game. Count the exits, calculate the routes. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.

On the surface, Rachel is just an ordinary doctor, trying to stay alive in war-torn London, but she has a secret. Rachel is a Reacher – wanted by the government and by the criminal underworld – for her telekinetic powers.

Charlie and his brother John had a reputation for doing the impossible. But after losing his family, Charlie is a broken mess and John is barely keeping him afloat. In desperation, they take a job from a ruthless ganglord only to discover the girl they are hunting is a Reacher – one of their own kind.

James Roxton, a conman and thief, is searching for the man who tried to kill his mother. Suddenly embroiled into the plan to kidnap Rachel, he decides he can turn things to his own advantage.

Even with the help of dangerous and dubious allies, can Rachel turn the game around and save herself?

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Illusional Reality

by Karina Kantas

An interesting and enjoyable read from Karina Kantas.

This well-written story clipped along at a good and steady pace.

The detailed descriptions let me see the magical land of Tsinia, with it’s tree-top dwellings and it’s friendly and peaceful inhabitants. Senx, the home of her ‘intended’, Kovon and his father, Darthorn, is a much darker and gloomier place.

The main characters are well fleshed out, and Thya/Becky runs through the whole spectrum of emotions, from disbelief to acceptance, anger to peace, and love to heartbreak, and I felt them along with her.

I am hopeful that Illusional Reality is the first book of a series!

 

Nobody expects to stare death in the face only to find out your entire life is a lie.
Rescued by Salco, marketing executive Becky finds herself in an unknown magical world filled with happy people that try to forget their land is on the brink of destruction.
Becky will soon learn none of this was an accident, and the council of Tsinia are certain her union with Darthorn’s son, Kovon, will create peace. And although her future has been planned out, she gives her heart to another.

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The Journey of the Marked

by Rebecca P. McCray

Rebecca P. McCray has a fantastic imagination and her vividly detailed writing brings to life the complex world of Zolei.

The many different species living on the planet are wonderfully described and I have a clear picture of most of them, although keeping them straight was hard at first, I soon figured out who was who.

In some chapters we join the five marked teens; Eros, Tip, Kenrya, Prizene, and Azetan, as they make the dangerous journey to the Miyran training camp. Other chapters follow the family members and friends who were left behind, as they meet up while searching for news of the five. There are also chapters that show the story from the Tyrnotts and Graeliths (the bad guys) point of view. These different perspectives give the story and the characters a great deal of depth.

It’s an amazing book that I did not want to reach the end of, but I have, and now I’m desperate to read the next one!

 

The mark means honor. The mark invites death.

On a distant planet, Eros thrives in the Human settlement he calls home. Raised to follow his grandfather’s noble footsteps, he studies the details of each species that co-exist here. But when his sixteenth birthday arrives and the mark appears, he’s called to fight, which changes his life forever.

Forced to abandon his home, the mark makes him the hunted. He’s attacked the night he arrives in the city. A tough, street fighter named Kenrya saves his life. When they join others on the same journey, her cynical attitude drives a wedge between the group.

Given the perils facing them, can they put aside their differences and trust each other long enough to survive?

Discover this epic adventure where an individual’s unique abilities can change the course of the future.

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Jade (Three J’amigos, #1)

by Rose Montague

A great start to what promises to be an entertaining and original series.
The writing flowed well making it an easy read, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
It’s fast paced, crammed with action and has plenty of mystery to keep you guessing

Fae, Witches, Shifters, Vampires, they’re all in this well-written and intriguing book, and then there’s Jade, who’s a little bit of everything.
Jade and the cast of supporting characters are well fleshed out and easy to connect with.

I will definitely be reading the next book in the series and I’m looking forward to spending more time with the Three J’amigos.

 

Three against Three Hundred.

Jade is a little bit shifter, a little bit witch, a little bit Fae, a little bit vamp, and a whole lot of fun. Jade has arranged things so she is partnered with a shifter bear as police detectives on a big case involving vamps killing humans. There is some mystery to the book and many surprises. Jade’s origins, where she came from and why she is here are revealed along the way. A lot of humor, action, and fun involving a visit to Faerie, assassination attempts, adventures in driving, a magical dagger, and a little romance happen along the way. By the end, much of the mystery and her beast is revealed, and her origins and background are explained. All of this with a good deal of humor and some real shockers along the way.

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Defying Darkness

by Thanna Setliff

An awesome start to a new series by a new author. This is a great debut from Thanna Setliff.

The detailed and descriptive writing drew me in and I got lost in the fascinating world of the vahmpyr with Máire and Dorian, as they struggled with misunderstandings and their feelings for each other, at the same time as staving off attacks from Maire’s sire.

The characters were multi-dimensional and they all had their own personalities, complete with virtues and flaws.

I thoroughly enjoyed Defying Darkness and hope I don’t have to wait too long for the next installment of Worlds of Darkness.

 

Máire is being stalked by her Sire, a serial killer unequaled who is using new, otherworldly powers. She, and her former pack, is also being hunted by Vahmpyr ranger, Dorian, whom she mistakenly thinks is an Archangel sent to punish them. Dorian is rapidly attracted to and perplexed by Máire; how does a Master damned retain its soul?–or is it a ploy to capture him? When she leads Dorian into an ambush, he thinks he has his answer, but then the starving vampire uses precious energy to save him. Now she won’t survive teleporting, necessary to elude her Sire, unless Dorian feeds her. Could that make him damned? She’ll die if he doesn’t.

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Souls of the Reaper

by Markie Madden

This second book in the Undead Unit series is as good as the first.
Over two hundred pages of action and, edge of your seat, suspense.

Rookie, Kazz, joins Lacey and Colton as they race against time to bring down the rogue reaper, who’s stealing souls.
Kazz fits into the team perfectly and adds an extra dimension to the supernatural crime fighting unit,
while Lacey and Colton’s personalities continue to develop as the story progresses.

I am now eagerly waiting for book 3.

 

A rogue Reaper is on the loose in the city of Dallas. Su Xiong is a sociopath with no care for human life. He steals souls whose numbers are not yet up in order to become a more powerful Immortal.

While he’s on the prowl to gain power, his soulless victims roam the streets without morals, without inhibitions, without any code of conduct or social mores. Crime has risen tenfold: petty crimes, road rage, prostitution, drinking, and gambling. But for each soul that he captures and keeps, his own mental stability begins to degrade, a fact that Xiong is dangerously blind to.

Can Lacey and Colton, along with Doctors Matthews and Dilorenzo, find him and stop him, before the insanity inside spoils the souls he holds within?

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Summer’s Destiny

by Ariel Marie

This short novella is good, quick read, filled with action, and hot and steamy romance.

With some short stories it’s hard to get a feeling for the characters, but not in this case.
The chemistry between Summer and Ryan was great and I liked how her belief in him as a leader, helped him believe in himself and spurred him into action.

I was gifted an ARC of Summer’s Destiny by Ariel Marie – no review required.

 

The hunters came in the middle of the night. Killing every vampire in sight. Their screams still haunted her. Summer Rayne was one of the lucky vampires to escape the massacre. She did what every other vampire had been doing for the past decade— she ran. She ran as fast and far away as she could, not knowing that destiny would lead her to her future.

He failed his people. Vampire king Ryan Valerian lived in his own personal hell for years. Vampires were no longer the top of the food chain— they were now the hunted. The hunters wanted to eliminate the vampire race, killing them as they hunted them down. Ryan did as other vampires did— he ran. He remained hidden until destiny presented him a small curvy vampire that blew into his life like a hurricane.

Their meeting was destined. Their love was instant. Their chemistry sizzled. Summer was convinced that the vampires would once again rise but would her love be enough to convince Ryan to be the king he was destined to be?
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Lycan Heart

by Barbara Chioffi

A quick, easy and captivating read.
This short story is well-written and interesting and the characters are well developed. The instant attraction between Julia and Justin is undeniably passionate and steamy.

This is the first book of Barbara Chioffi’s that I’ve read and I’ll certainly be reading more!

 

Julia Monroe has been wandering all her life…from one foster home to another, then one job to another. She meets a wealthy man, Robert Flannery, who becomes her employer. His son, Justin, is attracted to Julia, but has a secret she needs to know. One evening, he reveals himself to her; first as his wolf persona, then in his human form. As their relationship develops, Julia learns more about the secrets the Flannerys hold…ones that will lead to love, friendship, and danger. Due to sexual content, recommended for 18 and older.

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Half Flashed

by Patrick Elliott

Another journey into the weirdly wonderful imagination of Patrick Elliott.

Most of the stories in this book are fairly dark, although not as dark as the ones in Half Flashed. There is something about each story that keeps you reading and makes you wonder what the author can come up with next. Some stories are only a page or so long, while others cover several pages.

My favourites from this book were a couple of the longer stories: Songs of the Lost and Flames of the Nightand the short story: Snow King, Gypsy Queen, along with Imaginary Friends, which has six linked shorts scattered through the book.

I won a signed copy of Half Flashed in a Facebook Giveaway – Thank you Patrick

A group of short stories and novellas. Great for reading on public transportation if you are trying to save the planet. If you drive this will fill the downtime at work and escaping life at home.

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Ghosts in Macau

by H.N. Wake

A short and entertaining quick read, with non-stop action from start to end.

The story was well thought out and sped along at a good rate.

The female agent Mac is a great character who only follows the orders she agrees with and appears to be prepared for any eventuality.

 

Why is the young mistress of a senior Chinese military leader under constant surveillance? What intelligence is she offering the US? Based on a cryptic note from the US Embassy in Beijing, Mac Ambrose is called back to duty for a last-minute assignment. To uncover the mystery, Mac must trust her intuition and look past Macau’s glitter, into the perilous shadows. She’ll be forced to rely on wits and grit to get the job done.

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The Mansion’s Twins

by Rose Channing

An enchanting and enjoyable story, which I imagine, would appeal to younger teens and the simplified writing style suggests that this is the intended audience. Although at just over 400 pages, it may be a bit long for young readers.

There were a lot of different characters, with different magical abilities, which got a bit confusing at times, although they were brought to life quite well. The main characters, Ellie and Savannah, were well written and grew emotionally (and magically) through the book. I’m sure that teenage girls will find them easy to relate to.

The plot was well thought out and had enough action and intrigue to keep me reading.

I received an eCopy of The Mansion’s Twins from Rose M. Channing in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

 

A beautiful, magical world has been ravaged by a terrible storm. Homes were destroyed, families torn apart, and even the sweetest magic twisted by darkness. Even years later, the world remains damaged, unbalanced, and dangerous, waiting for someone who might restore what was lost. Only the magic of twins has a chance, but the birth of twins is exceedingly rare.

In our own world, Ellie and Savannah know nothing of this. They know nothing of other worlds, magic, or even each other. Until magic blooms inside, them and draws them together. After years of feeling alone, raised apart and in the wrong world, the twin sisters are reunited at last. They find their way home, and discover their destiny.

The girls are welcomed into a grand mansion, the safest place in the aftermath of the storm. There, they learn who they are and what they have to do. To restore the world, they must travel through the mansion to the center of magic and reset the balance.

They discover their magical abilities, find joy and friendship in the mansion’s family, and face the dangers of the storm’s left-behind magic. The journey to the center of magic is full of twists and turns, magic and excitement. Ellie and Savannah support each other to overcome obstacles along the way, knowing the whole world is depending on them.

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The Jacq of Spades

by Patricia Loofbourrow

An intriguing mystery set in a ‘neo-victorian’ world, which was brought to life by Patricia Loofbourrow’s descriptive writing.

Written from the main protagonist’s point of view, Jacqui is fleshed-out, realistic and likeable. However, I found the supporting cast to be somewhat less dimensional.

Jacqui’s investigation into the mystery of the missing boy, was well-plotted and brought to a satisfying conclusion. Her other investigation into the Red Dog Conspiracy was left unresolved, and I presume will be continued in the next book.

I received an eCopy of The Jacq of Spades from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

 

The once-beautiful domed neo-Victorian city of Bridges is split between four crime families in an uneasy cease-fire. Social disparity increasing and its steam-driven infrastructure failing, a new faction is on the rise: the Red Dogs.

Jacqueline Spadros has a dream life: a wealthy husband, a powerful family. But her life is not what it seems. Kidnapped from her mother’s brothel and forced to marry, the murder of her best friend Air ten years before haunts her nightmares. She finds moments of freedom in a small-time private eye business, which she hides in fear of her sadistic father-in-law.

Air’s little brother disappears off his back porch and the Red Dogs are framed for it. With the help of a mysterious gentleman investigator hired by the Red Dogs to learn the truth, Jacqui pushes her abilities to their limits in hope of rescuing the child before the kidnapper disposes of him.

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Bad Men & Mad Men

by Anthony O’Brien

The storyline is intriguing and unusual, and is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing. The ending, however, left me with more questions than answers, although maybe that was the authors intent.

For the most part, it was well-written but tended to stray a bit too far into ‘poetic’ descriptions for my taste.
A page-turning psychological thriller. An unexpected phone call from an ex-student and lover, and for Jefferson Davies his life takes on an unexpected, dark and chilling twist.

Casey Lee Jones is a convicted killer, his defense for the murder of two police officers is his knowing, he knows the future, moments, hours, days, weeks or years before it happens, it was kill or be killed. Eve’s the psychiatrist at the prison, and her patient is Casey Lee Jones, and he will only cooperate if Jeff’s involved, yet both men have never met.

Jeff flies out to Colorado convinced that he’s dealing with a psychopath, yet no matter how hard he tries to scientifically explain away the phenomenon, he’s beginning to have serious doubts.

Through a series of mysterious incidents, he starts to question his own sanity, and discovers that by seeking the truth, a Pandora’s Box of paranormal happenings has been unleashed, and that what’s been started cannot be undone.

A fast moving, chilling, dark, psychological thriller suspense novel that will keep you guessing right to the end.

 

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