Book Review: Sting of the Scorpion: A YA Epic Fantasy (The Outlawed Myth Book 3) by Evelyn Puerto

Sting of the Scorpion: A YA Epic Fantasy (The Outlawed Myth Book 3) by Evelyn Puerto

A YA fantasy novel published by Open Water Books (1/7/2022)

Summary:

“No sense imagining trouble. We’ve got enough already.” (Kindle Edition, 37%).

Damira and her clan members struggle every day to survive. One day almost everyone is slaughtered. Damira, her brother, and best friend only have two choices – cross the desert and hope there is peace on the other side, or join the local warlord and forever be his pawns. But a new power is rising and nothing can stand in this new warlord’s way. She uses a magical amulet and the only way to stop her is to wield one of these magical amulets. Are they evil? Damira doesn’t care, as long as she will never again have to worry about her safety and that of her loved ones.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Travel, Journey, Risk, Attack, Flee, Hide, Town, Secrets, Power, Rulers, Magic, Amulets, Love, Friendship, Romance, Training

My Review:

Much like the second book of this series, Sting of the Scorpion starts out with a new protagonist, and this time the setting and the world also appear to be different. The author once again builds the fantasy world setting, showing us a new previously uncharted portion of the map. The books, since they feature different characters and almost different settings, could be read as standalone fantasy books in the same world, with similar themes and character arcs. I’m immediately invested in this world and I’m immediately on the side of and rooting for the new main character, Damira.

There is so much at stake for Damira. She has everything and nothing to lose. Mush like Tereka in the previous novel, Damira grows into her role over the course of the book. The author knows how to write strong female main characters who don’t stick to the status quo.

This book, like the others, was well-paced and picked up momentum more and more as the plot unfurled. Throughout the novel, as things change, there are always high stakes and you won’t be able to put the book down.

I loved the changing POV from the three main characters and I love the distinct cultures of this fantasy setting. I thought there was a nice balance between politics and war as well as personal stories, struggles, and present actions.

If you like grounded fantasy with high stakes and strong, interesting characters, you will enjoy this series.

This novel was published by Open Water Books 1/7/2022 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Evelyn Puerto’s Website

Book Review: Vanish (Seahaven’s Orphan Mystery Book 1) by Victoria Bastedo

Vanish (Seahaven’s Orphan Mystery Book 1) by Victoria Bastedo

An Inspirational Mystery novel published by Amazon Digital Services (9/8/2021)

Summary:

“If you let Him, He’ll bring adventure into life you weren’t expecting.” (71% Kindle Edition).

Lowtown in 1905 isn’t safe for young men. They are oftentimes snatched. Michael’s father creates a disguise so Michael won’t vanish. As Vanish, over the years, many crimes are attributed to Michael in this disguise, growing the legend. After his father passes, Michael will either have to take up his father’s occupation of fishing or find something else to support himself. The promise of money paid to help solve a kidnapping is too good for Michael to pass up since he doesn’t want to be a fisherman. As Vanish, he has the perfect disguise to sneak around and solve the mystery.

Keywords:

Religious, Inspirational, Mystery, Historical, Young Adult, 1905, Docks, Sea Town, Caste, Kidnapping, Rich, Poor, Family, Crimes

My Review:

I don’t often read inspirational, religious, or Christian fiction. I was unsure how the subgenre would present in this historical fiction mystery novel. Bastedo ties in an element of Christian awakening and finding one’s path to God as a form of Coming-of-Age in this young adult novel. The Coming-to-God revelation could have been fleshed out more in the scene that it occurred but it did tie into the plot nicely and makes a lot more sense in the early 1900’s in a small town near the sea. The people, almost all of them Christians, openly talk about God and his influence in their lives. The characters reference God and the Spirit as a positive influence, giving the book a very wholesome feel. It was nice to read a Christian fiction novel without religious controversy, to have religion be more of a theme and influence, than anything else.

I really liked Michael as both Michael and as Vanish. He is a wholesome young character without a lot of teen angst. He, like many young people, doesn’t know what he wants to do or be when he grows up but is thrust into the world to fend for himself after his father dies. Instead of resigning himself to a life he doesn’t want as a fisherman, he instead takes to wandering the streets in his grief, curious about the world and open to other options.

I enjoyed how the mystery played out. It was simple enough to visualize but complex enough to keep the plot moving. This book was nicely paced overall, seemed realistic for 1905, and played out in an interesting way up through the moderate climax and ending.

Like other Bastedo books, this one features a feel-good message and a happy ending.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 9/8/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

Book Review: Asylum (Americans in Love) by Betsy Adams

Asylum (Americans in Love) by Betsy Adams

A Contemporary Romance Novel published by Americans in Love Books (11/16/20)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

“These things couldn’t mask the horror of the port, the great divider between those privileged by their birthplace, and those cursed by it.” (44% Kindle Edition).

“America would break his heart again. There would be new challenges, new disappointments. But at least he would be safe, and his life would be his own.” (86% Kindle Edition).

Adela pushes against the justice system every day as an immigration judge. She believes in fairness and honesty but the system is rife with injustice, prejudice, and plain meanness. Paul left behind his high-end lawyer life in New York City to work as a lawyer advocating for asylum seekers at the border. Love, at first sight, can’t happen between a lawyer working on the same cases as the judge!

Keywords:

Romance, Love, Asylum, Lawyer, Immigration, Immigration Lawyer, Judge, Immigration Judge, Border, Mexico, Cartel, Tent City, Policies, Asylum Seekers, Courtroom

My Review:

I chose to read this book because it looked well researched regarding asylum seekers, the writing style flowed from the very first page, and it was easy to read. I was more intrigued by the descriptions of the courtroom scenes and the way that the author described asylum seekers, immigration, and prejudice near and far from the border than by the love story. This book would appeal strongly to those who enjoy love-at-first-sight romances, courtroom dramas, and social issues.

Regarding the romantic plot – I felt like the novel could have been longer to fully develop the romantic relationship between Adela and Paul. I felt like the romance went from first dates and lust to in love too fast. I really, really wanted them to get together after their compelling backstories. They were meant for each other but I wanted the relationship to grow more before they encountered complications at the border. I don’t believe highly educated people would drop everything and risk so much for each other after only spending a few days together.

The courtroom action and legalese speak were fascinating and cleverly explained through the character’s thoughts and opinions and even body language. When the characters showed how they felt about some of the legal actions (or inactions) I learned about the implications of these actions.

I learned so much about asylum seekers from reading this book. Some of the details about the hardships endured during the months’ long uphill legal battles for gaining asylum into the United States didn’t even seem real! The difficulty and apathy of the system for those seeking asylum were hard to swallow. A country that advocates for freedom isn’t free for everyone. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that birthplace is enough for some people to discriminate against. Birthplace can be a privilege. I know I take it for granted. It made me angry, just like it made Adela and Paul angry, to hear about these injustices and the blatant lies and prejudicial treatment people in positions of power wielded towards those less fortunate or just trying to make a better life for themselves. A good book can make you angry, make you feel something, make you understand and sympathize. Asylum made me feel all sorts of angry. But the book also reminded me that not everyone is a good person or has good motives. How far does the corruption go? This book points out small injustices and biases as well as indicating a larger issue with the justice system, immigration law, and asylum in general. I started to question the more I read. What if there is even more conspiracy? What if cartels pay off someone in the system to deport those who will be granted asylum just so they can be held for ransom? How far does it go!?

I really liked the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, especially where she talked about the importance of the subject matter versus the romance… “That said, my greatest fear in writing Asylum was that the romance would trivialize the importance of the asylum issue. I felt a heavy obligation not just to the story, but to the people behind the story. The ones living it. I did not want to insult them. The love story is meant to bring the reader in and keep her engaged. To provide just enough distance, a reminder that love is never far away, even in the most desperate of circumstances.” (Betsy Adams. Asylum (Kindle Locations 3096-3099). Americans in Love. Kindle Edition).

This novel was published by Americans in Love Books on 11/16/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Book Review: A Chance At L.O.V.E. (Love At Last #1) by K.L. Myers

A Chance At L.O.V.E. (Love At Last #1) by K.L. Myers

A Romance Novel published by KL Myers Publishing (7/2/18)

Summary:

“Normally, just the words ‘Lincoln Oliver Vincent Eastwick’ have people dropping money on anything I tell them to. Not this time.” (Kindle Edition 7%).

Lincoln will not settle. Not for an off-the-rack suit. Not for a relationship. He isn’t looking for love when he provides himself as a masked bachelor for the night at a local auction. But he is more than happy that Dr. Lillian Vicci won him in the auction. Dr. Lillian doesn’t have time for a relationship. She’s too busy saving lives as a renowned pediatric surgeon. When her best friend wins her a night with bachelor Linc, she will be more than a little upset because Linc’s nephew is going in for open-heart surgery on Monday.

Keywords:

Mafia, Surgery, Pediatric Doctor, Sex, Date, Millionaire, Family, Uncle, Siblings, Avoiding, Worry

My Review:

Lincoln has such obvious glaring flaws but also very strong virtues. He is endearingly loyal and caring towards his family, especially his young nephew Peanut, yet all his dates always end with sex. Linc would never bring a woman home to his real house (i.e. he won’t let a potential partner see his vulnerable side). I at first didn’t like Lincoln, especially from the very opening paragraph of the story, which set up the book as an average romance featuring a stereotypically egotistical male protagonist. Except, he isn’t… He is charismatic and charming for sure, but he’s also confident and devoted and would make an exceptional parent. I couldn’t wait for him to meet the woman who would prove to him that dates shouldn’t always end in a one-night stand.

I’m glad the author stuck with Lincoln’s POV for several chapters, as I really felt like I knew him by the time the POV switched to Dr. Lillian. Both main characters had equally strong backstories that made them very compelling and brought them to life. From the time that the two of them met, I was rooting for them.

The sex scene, when it ultimately arrived felt untrue to the story buildup. I much preferred the foreplay of all their previous interactions than to the sex scene that felt like a scene out of Literotica. I also was very turned off by the scene and how it starts. It also does not feel genuine to the characters that had been developed over the first 2/3 of the story. I am turned off by stories that feature romantic scenes where the woman says no (either verbally or through body language or both) but the man doesn’t listen and continues regardless… until she gives in. ‘“You’ve been avoiding me, Doc. This time, I’m not letting you avoid me.” I push my way past her, then I slam the door behind me. Before I know it, my animal instincts take over, pressing her back against the door and consuming her lips with mine. At first, she fights the kiss, but I can feel the moment she gives in.’

My other main issue with this quick and fun read was the lack of true climax and resolution. Though the author states that this story ends on a cliffhanger, I still think novellas and novels should have satisfying endings. This novella was like a prequel to the full story and should have just been part of the main story, in my opinion. Otherwise, it was a delightfully fun read and I really enjoyed all the character descriptions and motivations.

This novel was published by KL Myers Publishing on 7/2/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Book Review: The Rally (Americans in Love) by Betsy Adams

The Rally (Americans in Love) by Betsy Adams

A Contemporary Romance Novel published by Americans in Love Books (7/10/20)

Summary:

“Being one third a lawyer does come in handy sometimes, I guess.” (33% Kindle Edition).

Madeline’s a corporate lawyer working for an insurance company that’s overseeing the use of a stadium. On the lineup for the week is a music group and a Trump rally. Madeline must coordinate details of these events with representatives from each group. The person working the Trump rally happens to be the guy she fell in love with during law school who suddenly dropped out and never contacted her again. Is this a second chance at love or will she have to make nice with the enemy to show her boss she’s ready for that promotion she’s been promised?

Keywords:

Romance, Love, Insurance, Rally, Politics, Trump, Stadium, Political Climate, College Flame, Opposing Political Views

My Review:

This book was a quick read, fast-paced, and short. I liked how the romantic buildup happened as part of the main characters’ backstory that happened years ago so it had proper time to develop. The romantic plotline was predictable but happened amidst an interesting and drama-filled environment – a rally where the main characters are on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

The characters both made assumptions that caused the dark moment of the plot arc. I just didn’t believe the characters would fall for those assumptions, both being mostly educated lawyers. Some of these plot points did feel a bit rushed due to the length of the novel. I wish the dark moment was more believable and heartrending. I knew a happy ending was going to happen, regardless of the ups and downs of the romantic relationship and I was more invested in the political drama butting its way into the relationship.

I found the political aspect fascinating but not every reader might feel this way. Strong political opinions are expressed directly through Maddie’s thoughts and what she says as well as how the scenes and people are described. If you are left-leaning politically you will most likely feel that this book confirms your opinions. If you are much more right-leaning politically… Maybe you’ll learn about the strength of conviction of the other side? Or you might be put off entirely.

I was satisfied that everything tied together in the end and that there was an adequate explanation as to why Jake suddenly stopped all communication with Maddie when they were in school together.

This novel was published by Americans in Love Books on 7/10/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Book Review: Flicker of the Flame: A YA Epic Fantasy (The Outlawed Myth Book 2) by Evelyn Puerto

Flicker of the Flame: A YA Epic Fantasy (The Outlawed Myth Book 2) by Evelyn Puerto

A YA Fantasy novel published by Open Water Books (2/17/2021)

Summary:

Tereka just wants her mother’s approval, to fit in, and to be loved. There are things her Da hasn’t told her about who she really is and why there are secrets about her and a mysterious prophecy. Secrets that keep her safe and keep her from being Taken. After being kicked out of her mother’s house, Tereka will live with her Da and work as a trader. Keep her head down. Follow the rules. But will she be able to keep her tongue against the mounting unfairness and struggles against her Aunt Juquila’s ironclad rule over their village? As the threats against Tereka mount, will she choose to embrace her destiny or keep her head down?

Keywords:

Fantasy, Travel, Journey, Risk, Attack, Flee, Hide, Town, Secrets, Dystopian, Power, Prophecies, Rulers, Guardians, Guards, Peace, Safety, Love, Friendship

My Review:

What happened to Iskra from book one? This second book starts off with a new protagonist – Tereka. The author cleverly brings us back into this fantasy/dystopic world with a new character who I fall in love with almost at once. Tereka is an underdog – full of life and spirit and questions. She is stubborn about being fair and honest. As Tereka slowly uncovers the dishonesty and immoral behavior of those in power around her, she will begin to question her upbringing and the society she lives in – much like Iskra did in book one. But Tereka just wants to succeed. To be a trader with her Da and show everyone that she can follow the rules and be a good trader. Except they won’t give her a chance.

I absolutely loved how this book two reintroduces us to this well-built fantasy world and their semi-dystopic environment where everyone is supposed to be equal (but of course they’re not). Book two also does not seem to acknowledge book one until Tereka learns of her own secret and goes to meet the Riskers. I realized that one of the characters was actually from book one!

Tereka is a worthy underdog and Chosen One. She is headstrong and powerful. She believes in her convictions but is willing to step into someone else’s shoes and empathize with them. She gives those around her a chance to be good people and make good choices.

The book was well-paced and picked up momentum more and more as the plot unraveled. I love how Tereka grew into her role over the course of the book, along with the help of her family and the friends she made along the way, as well as the power of the amulets. Tereka reminds me of Katniss from the Hunger Games. Tereka has a rebellious streak, especially when it comes to being a good person. She is also a great archer, courageous, and has the ability to rally those around her to her cause.

This novel was published by Open Water Books 2/17/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Evelyn Puerto’s Website

Book Review: The Alien in the Backseat by Phillip Scott

The Alien in the Backseat by Phillip Scott

A Science Fiction/Satire Fiction novel published by Independently published (10/16/2020)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

Jake doesn’t necessarily lead a boring life, but he has his routine. Hang out with his girlfriend, have a beer at the local bar with his best friend, and go to work. Then the inevitable happens and his girlfriend breaks up with him. Jake still has routine nights with his friend and a locally crafted beer as well as the usual at work. Jake accepts his life for what it is, until he discovers the alien in the backseat of his car. Upsetting his typical day, Jake decides to seize this opportunity and take a road trip with the alien. It should be simple to drive from North Carolina to Florida, except this trip is anything but routine. Jake already took a leap of faith when he agreed to bring the alien to Florida, but he’ll start to doubt his decision and the alien when he finds out more than just the feds are in pursuit.

Keywords:

Satire, Science Fiction, Aliens, Road Trip, North Carolina, Florida, Federal Agents, Destruction, Fireworks, Friendship

My Review:

The Alien in the Backseat is a delightful space comedy/road trip that takes place almost entirely between North Carolina and Florida. The writing is concise and the plot is straightforward and fun. This story is told by several characters, but the main character is Jake Whitman. He continuously tells the reader that he likes his routine and isn’t one to take chances or put himself out there, yet his actions speak differently. Jake wants to break out of his routine life. He wants to have an adventure, but he’s never really pushed himself before. The alien that randomly chooses his car to take a nap in is just the push Jake needs to let go of his daily habits. He already lost his girlfriend, so what else does he have to lose? Jake keeps telling us that he’s uncomfortable in the situations this road trip keeps thrusting him into, but he does seem to handle disaster and aliens quite well. I enjoyed the contrast between how Jake viewed himself and how he acted. Some chapters featured other characters’ points of view, like the reporter who is also stuck in a dead-end job, a federal agent, and an alien. These chapters helped to create more tension and elevated the humor present in the back and forth between characters.

The writing style immediately caught my attention. From the first page, I was hooked by the witty use of words and phrases. The prose was delightfully entertaining. The first chapter was the perfect starting point to the narrative. The narrative style and the presence of aliens reminded me of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Science is not at the forefront of this science fiction novel, but instead, the novel focuses on a fun story and the humor in the situations and between the characters. Sometimes the deadpan delivery was so surprising that I had to laugh. If you enjoyed the humor and the outrageous aliens in the Men in Black series, you will surely appreciate this book’s humor.

Jake (and by extension the author) express themselves in a blend of sarcasm and wit that comes across naturally and not at all in a pretentious manner. When we meet the alien and he does come across as pretentious, it is all the more hilarious. The alien is so aggressively outgoing and is written perfectly. The author is able to write the perfect blend of detailed descriptions with dialogue and action. The subtle continuity between chapters was simple yet ingenious. The ending was well set up, made sense to include Jake and his friends, and was wholly satisfying to read.

This novel was published by Independently published 10/16/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Phillip Knight Scott’s Website

 

Book Review: Flintelf (Exili’s Excellent Elucidation Services, #1) by Victoria Bastedo

Flintelf (Exili’s Excellent Elucidation Services, #1) by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy/Cozy Mystery novel published by Amazon Digital Services (10/13/2020)

Summary:

“What made the pure elves in the past great, or their bloodline desirable, if it wasn’t the quality of their souls, and their actions?”

Exili has started his own business of elucidation. His clients are also victims. Potential victims, if he can convince them to pay him to prevent their murder, that is. Exili’s next potential client happens to also be a previous school mate. Exili and Goodall hadn’t spoken since school when they had a falling out. Exili doesn’t want his client to die, but he’s also annoyed that he’s got to convince Goodall to hire him. Why couldn’t it be someone else stalked by a murderer?

Keywords:

Caste, Elves, Mystery, Murder, Murder Prevention, Entrepreneur, Friendship, Bad Blood, Pure, High Born, Feet

My Review:

Quirky Fantasy. Fantasy with a foot focus…

I don’t often read fantasy so I was delighted that this book was part fantasy, part cozy mystery, part supernatural. I also really liked that I couldn’t guess the ending until the end and that the mystery the main character Exili has to solve is part of a larger plot that is revealed slowly over time.

I loved the quirky fantasy element that the author creates with her idea of ‘elucidation.’ I especially enjoyed the fact that Exili elucidates… with his feet! He must actually touch items with his feet to elucidate as accurately as possible and the scene where he must touch a bunch of things with his feet was particularly hilarious.

I’m not sure how I feel about the caste system and the various people groups’ placement in society based on ‘true blood’ that Bastedo describes in this world. This would be a great discussion for a book club, especially the fact that features and skin color were ascribed to certain people groups. I liked the term ‘people groups’ as well. There are humans (as I call myself) as a people group. There are the Flintelfs and the Farris people groups.

Like other Bastedo books, this one features a feel-good message and a happy ending.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 10/13/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

Book Review: Destination Azurah by Victoria Bastedo

Destination Azurah by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy/Romance novel published by Amazon Digital Services (09/17/2020)

Summary:

Romiya is determined to uncover the secret to her uncle’s mysterious and amazing sandcastle builder. After his sudden disappearance years ago, Romiya has been determined to uncover its secret and perhaps learn what actually happened to her uncle. Suddenly Romiya gets a breakthrough when she sees a sinister face stamped into the sand, but the other scientists don’t believe her. It will take much more physical evidence to convince them of what she saw overtaking every single grain of sand. Her bodyguard couldn’t protect her from the face’s attack, but he’ll help to whisk her away from the beach and the desert while she figures out her next move. When he resigns, Romiya will also see him in a different light.

Keywords:

Romance, Fantasy, Sand, Portal, Scientist, Female Scientist, Attack, War, Evil, Power, Sandcastles, Friendship

My Review:

I loved, loved, loved that every time someone refers to Romiya as a, “girl” she corrected him! This is such a pet peeve of mine in books and real life. Romiya even explains that if Ruedolf is no longer referred to as a “boy” then she should not be referred to as a “girl.” Thank you, Romiya!

The fantasy element – sand and time and alternate worlds was well described and very interesting to read. Every time that Bastedo dips into fantasy/science fiction, I’m captivated. Much like her novel The Kiss of the Blue Howler, this book is full of imagination and a new perspective. I was mesmerized by her descriptions of sand and memory and loved how she integrated that into a thoughtful and well developed romance/action story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this mashup of romance and fantasy. It was a fun, easy read with an adorable romance, a hint of mystery, and a strong female STEM leading the way!

(READ ON FOR VAGUE SPOILERS)

The plot was well paced and there was the perfect amount of action. However, I did find fault with the characters in the alt-world for letting the newcomers walk into evil hands! This was most likely on purpose to push through more drama, but it felt at times unrealistic (just like many blockbuster action movies). I also felt like the nighttime romance scene was out of place.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 09/17/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

Book Review: Moordym Downs by Victoria Bastedo

Moordym Downs by Victoria Bastedo

A Fiction/Mystery novel published by Amazon Digital Services (06/07/2020)

Summary:

“Like the wind comes on purpose to nudge you. You look out into the expanse and you feel like that land knows mysteries you’ve been trying to understand all your life. All you have to do is go out there. Become like one of the creatures that belong to it.” (p. 101).

Every year Locke’s mother insists on going to Moordym Downs. She was always tight lipped about why she went, other than to get her yearly stipend. Locke never much bothered to get to the bottom of this mystery until she has him go in her stead. Locke will discover and uncover more than this mystery as he searches the Moordym family, Moordym Downs, and the moor beyond for answers. During his stay at the castle of Moordym Downs, Locke will uncover truths about his family, fall in love, and become entangled in the secrets of Moordym Downs and the ever present lure of the surrounding Moor.

Keywords:

Family, heritage, ancestry, relatives, mystery, intrigue, castle, father, mother, Lord of the manor, legend, adventure, travel, disappear, farm, love, choice, history, greed

My Review:

Locke wants to pave his own path but it seems fate wants to give him a choice between two predetermined paths. He has to figure out what he wants in life and if he will follow one of these paths or rebel altogether. He struggles throughout the book with these choices and his apparent lack of choice in the matter. I could feel his frustration and relate to feeling helpless to his societal and familial expectations. Though this setting is unique from our own world, I could very much relate to Locke’s anxiety and stubbornness. He just wants to live his own life and be his own master, not relegated to the role others have in store for him.

The intro of this book took a bit longer to get to the inciting incident than most books I typically read and I kept putting the book down after a few pages until the exciting first bit of action and mystery took place. After that, the pacing increased and the mystery was a whirlwind that kept me fascinated and I couldn’t put the book down. Be sure to stick through the set up.

The continual play on the ‘long corridors’ of Moordym kept making me chuckle.

I wanted much more of Sintion! He seems like a really interesting character and could have his own novel to tell his story.

Though the two intertwined mysteries in this book were not as elaborate, the novel reminded me of the movie Knives Out. Each family member had a distinct voice and personality and there were quite a few of them!

 

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 06/07/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress