**** I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review****
“Pursuing Dreams” is the first installment of what will turn into quite the epic sci-fi series as it follows the adventures of Don O’Hara while he trains as a soldier and then a pilot, all while trying to make his own way free of his father’s imposing shadow. Throughout his training, Don starts to suspect that he is part of something… something bigger and grander then just being the General’s son. As he goes from basic to the Space Jumper’s program, those feelings of unease grow, the prickle of trepidation follows him, and it makes him increasingly more paranoid as he suspects people are constantly watching him and trying to manipulate him, and his friends, from the sidelines. The problem is, Don has no clue to what end these outside forces could want with him or for what purpose exactly. Which leaves Don fumbling in the dark where all he can do is follow his instincts. All that stumbling eventually leads Don to discover the start of several plots and secrets he is not ready to face nor properly prepared to deal with.
****I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review****
“Moon River” is a sweet, but heart crushing, tale of growing up in the heart of Appalachia during the late 1990’s. As I am about the same age as the characters in Tran’s book, and have recently moved to the South (so a bit closer?), I found myself instantly pulled into the story of Abigail and her elementary through early highschool friends. I found myself reliving aspects of my own childhood through Tran’s novel of first love and how abusive so-called “friends” can be, as these kids navigate growing up and all the complex emotions that come along with it. Be forewarned though, this book, while beautifully written with wonderful characters, does not have a happy ending and I find it necessary to give a trigger warning for those who have dealt with bullying, suicide, and depression as this may become exceptionally difficult to read if you have been affected by either (as I have).
****I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review****
The synopsis of this book does not do it justice! "Made Men" is what you'd get if the TV show "Supernatural" and a procedural cop drama had an illegitimate love child. The book focuses on Jim Shaw, an ex-military man who works as a contractor for the government and police (occasionally) to keep supernatural creatures in-line; everything from the classic werewolf, fae creatures, monstrous elves, and wisps so they don't hurt humans. In the world Creamer creates, all the creatures of lore and monsters that go bump in the night are no longer living in the shadows, but out in the open. They are no longer seen as just legends, but a fact of life. Shaw's job is to put the bad ones down and help law enforcement figure out who (or what) is responsible for the mayhem. Personally, I love this kind of stuff as I'm a big fan of supernatural lore and even the crass characters on "Supernatural". And while Creamer does a fabulous job, a bit more editing was needed. As it stands, his book is what it'd look like if "Supernatural" hated commas and paragraphs – which, who knows, maybe it does, but it started to get a bit distracting and it spoiled an otherwise thoroughly entertaining read.
Ticker is about a girl with a mechanical heart, a device she did not want but needed in order to live. Now, in order to keep alive, she needs an upgrade to her "ticker" and the only one who can do that is a mass murderer. It's an interesting dilemma! What would you do if the only way to stay alive was to go with a brilliant, but delusional murder and let him operate on you knowing that he killed dozens in order to perfect the technology? Would you willingly go with him after he kidnapped your family and threatened to bring down the society around you? It's a brilliant premise, but the book could never really deliver on that grand idea.
****I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ****
“Killjoy” is, on the surface, a short tale about an assassin who makes all his victims appear to have committed suicide, leaving those who hire him completely blameless in their deaths. But beneath those themes of revenge, murder, and intrigue surrounding “how does he do it?”, is a lesson about enjoying life and living the life YOU want to live to its fullest, not one that others have dictated is “proper”. For the majority of the story, we are following Gwen, the wife of a prominent mob figure, as she interacts with the jovial assassin (who delights in donning new persona’s and as many overtly fake accents as he can manage) and comes to terms with the complicated feelings she has for Corbin Locke, the politician who is marked for death. Normally, quick reads are perfect for this type of story, but I found myself needing, and wanting, a bit more from Ravel in order to become more immersed in the story he presents.
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