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: WARRIOR: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED by Jessica Duemig

WARRIOR: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED by Jessica Duemig

A Women’s Health/Cancer Novel published by Bright Publishing, LLC (08/11/20)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

One woman’s story of and experience with a triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment and recovery. The story follows the nine most challenging months of her 32-year old life.

Keywords:

Women’s Health, Cancer, Breast Cancer Survivor, Triple Negative Breast Cancer, 2017, Age 32, Aggressive Treatment Plan, Chemotherapy, Surgery, Fertility Preservation, Reconstruction

My Review:

I zipped through the first half of the book, mesmerized with Jessica’s story and all the fascinating details of a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Jessica’s writing style is charming and humorous. She provides the full picture, filling in all the little details as she tells her story. As someone who has not had firsthand or even secondhand experience or knowledge of cancer of any kind (let alone breast cancer), I felt like I could truly empathize with Jessica’s story and truly understand what she was going through. I know cancer is no joke but I never really knew what it felt like to go through a double mastectomy surgery and recovery before reading her story. Jessica was just one year older than me when she was diagnosed and she brought a little more fear of this unknown into my heart. But she also laid it all out there. If I were to receive a similar diagnosis or knew someone going through something similar, I would definitely recommend a book like this. Fear of the unknown can grip you and fester but knowing all these little details could pull back some of that worry. And Jessica writes about her experience with more than just details, firsthand knowledge, and a little bit of advice, she also writes about her experience with humor, compassion, and wit.

The second half of the book started to lose my attention. After Jessica finished with the details of her experience – Parts 1 and 2 of the novel – she delves deeper into the self-help/inspiration/motivation/support aspect that makes the reading experience feel much more like reading nonfiction than the first two parts. I started to lose interest in Part 3 because this is the part of cancer that I’ve read about over and over. The Grief, Strength, Attitude, etc. is generally what I’ve read over and over when it comes to cancer. I did not appreciate this part as much as the more detailed first two parts; however, I’m sure that for someone who is actually experiencing a similar diagnosis or supporting someone with cancer, this is the moment that could help provide momentum and strength.

Jessica has a natural writing style that is easy to read. She is a great storyteller and has a knack for punchy hashtags. Though I hope not to read a similar book by this author (#cancerfree), I would definitely pick up and read her next book.

This novel was published by Bright Publishing, LLC on 08/11/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Book Review: Money: What I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger: A Cautionary Tale & Lessons Learned for Teens & Young Adults by Brian Siemens

Money: What I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger: A Cautionary Tale & Lessons Learned for Teens & Young Adults by Brian Siemens

A Personal Finance Novel published by Brian Siemens LLC (10/27/20)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

Brian Siemens is a financial educator and a public speaker, but he wasn’t always so money savvy. This nonfiction book on personal finance follows Brian’s early relationship with money, the pitfalls you should avoid, and how he learned to manage his finances. Through his own choices with money early on, Seimens shows the reader where he went wrong and how the reader can start off their personal finance journey on the right foot.

Keywords:

Personal Finance, Money, Debt, Student Loans, Personal Loans, Habits, Lifestyle, Quality of Life, Impulse Buying, Budgeting, Money Management Software, Credit Cards, Interest

My Review:

Out of all the personal finance books available, this book stands out because it is geared towards a younger audience. It is both a cautionary tale and a book full of words of advice. It is easy for adults to tell young adults and teenagers to avoid making the same mistakes they did. Usually, this phrase is accompanied by a lecture and a warning to avoid certain pitfalls. In personal finance, these pitfalls are abundant and include credit cards, student loans, impulse buying, etc. Brian Siemens expounds on these pitfalls with well-thought-out details and his own experience. He tells the whole story, including his own. For instance, he brings the reader’s attention to the concept of tax brackets. Even as an intermediate/advanced personal finance enthusiast, I haven’t fully taken tax brackets into consideration. Some of these small details can be very important and if overlooked, as Brian did early in his life, they can lead to poor financial decisions. Bad habits early on can be even harder to break. Even if you don’t know the difference in cost between getting new tires for a truck and getting new tires for a car, you’ll understand why the difference is important after reading this book. Maybe, if you’re a younger reader, you might even start an investment account!

Though this book is short, most of it is to the point and very practical. The last chapter is a tl;dr of advice that sums up the rest of the book. For those with short attention spans, this is a great beginner’s comprehensive guidebook for personal finance that is full of relevant and interesting personal anecdotes. 

I loved reading the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Typically I skim over quotes like these, but I really enjoyed each of the quotes that Brian Siemens chose. 

This novel was published by Brian Siemens LLC on 10/27/2020 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Brian Siemens’ Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Horizon Found (Relic Trilogy Book 2) by Claudia Blood

Horizon Found (Relic Trilogy Book 2) by Claudia Blood

A Sci-Fi YA Action Novel published by Dragon Bane Publishing (02/15/21)

Summary:

Almost no time has passed between the ending of book one and the beginning of book two. Duff has been with Z-Crew for a few months now. Matilda has been working directly with Ravenne for a few weeks. Z-Crew and Ravenne have been finding fewer and fewer relics. Z-Crew needs a big win in order to survive, but without a Seer, it’s near impossible to find Relics. For Ravenne, time is running out to find the Seer who saved Ravenne’s daughter and send her back to that fateful moment years and years ago.

Keywords:

Assassin, Planet, Jungle, Orphan, Family, Survival, Attack, Mystery, Time Travel, Space, Evil, Power, Tracking, Alien Planet, Seer, Relic, Daughter, Safety

 

My Review:

Horizon Found was a strong middle book in this Relic Trilogy by Claudia Blood. Since motivations and characters had already been established in Book One, this book’s plot appeared more focused. Duff had more of a plan, or at least a place to stay, though even that’s in jeopardy. Both Books One and Two take place on an inhospitable planet, where survival is rough and not everyone can make it…

Though they didn’t end on the best of terms in the first book, Duff and Z will need each other to survive and to save the children of the orphanage. I really enjoyed learning more about Z’s backstory and origins. Since the book changes POV, I also was able to learn more about Matilda and her abilities. I really liked reading more about Matilda and seeing her interact with Ravenne. The more we see Ravenne, the more I wondered whether this conflicted bad character would have a chance to redeem herself in the end and whether she would take such an opportunity. Is she inherently bad? We know that her life’s purpose to save her daughter, even if it’s at the expense of an entire planet’s population.

After becoming familiar with the main characters I was rooting for them to not just succeed and survive, but also to fall in love. I was very on-board with the romantic sub-plots and can’t wait to see how they develop further in the last book of the trilogy.

I noticed more and more that there were certain plot conveniences. In book one I was too enthralled with the characters and the plot to let such details slow me down but it seemed that frequently when a character mentioned something, it would happen. For example, Duff mentioned a planet-dwelling creature for the first time, and then moments later it would appear and move along or dramatize the plot. The world-building sometimes seemed to happen as it’s needed.

I enjoyed the slower buildup of tension throughout this book (and from the first book). The climax was quite satisfying and full of excitement but the end of the book felt like it lacked a proper denouement and ended mid-action. I can’t wait to see what happens in book three!

This novel was published by Dragon Bane Publishing on 02/15/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Claudia Blood’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Company Assassin (Relic Trilogy Book 1) by Claudia Blood

Company Assassin (Relic Trilogy Book 1) by Claudia Blood

A Sci-Fi YA Action Novel published by Dragon Bane Publishing (01/15/21)

First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery

Summary:

On the day Duff turns 18 he will be kicked out of the Company’s orphanage. Almost all of the extra income he’s earned over the years has gone back into helping the others in the orphanage. With nowhere to go and having been turned down at all of the other Families, Duff’s only hope is to attach himself to a freelance crew and hope to survive the harsh jungle. Perhaps he can even prove himself an asset in a crew’s search for Relics, the only thing of value on the planet.

Keywords:

Assassin, Planet, Jungle, Orphan, Family, Survival, Attack, Mystery, Time Travel, Space, Evil, Power, Tracking, Alien Planet, Seer, Relic

 

My Review:

This book had a lot going on!

Right from the start the author set up the problem and pulled me into it. I was worried for the main character Duff and how he was going to survive in this harsh world. I wanted him to succeed and I was rooting for him from the very beginning.

Duff does seem to have quite a lot of skills – whenever the plot requires them. Since he’s been living in the orphanage for most of his life, I’m surprised that he remembers how to do certain survivalist things like tracking, etc. He does have great instincts and a big heart. He puts others before himself constantly and does everything in his power to save those around him.

I really liked how the book centered on Duff for enough chapters where I felt like I truly understood who he was and his motivations and the hopelessness of his situation before the POV switched to Z. Z seems like a really fascinating character with a rich backstory. I really want to know why Matilda has such disdain for Z.

A lot of the characters have rich, yet mysterious backstories. I’m very curious about Ravenne and what drove her to be such an evil person when her motivation appears so virtuous. I can’t wait to see how Matilda will rise to importance further along in this series. Even Simon the orphan has a unique skill set and a brooding temper. Even though he’s a minor character, he is developed enough that he’s interesting and unique.

The plot gets more and more complex as the layers of the action unfold. I love how the more I read, the more details were divulged in this rich sci-fi novel. I can tell that the author has a complete story laid out behind the plot of this first book in the series.

The ending did feel less climactic than I would have expected. The momentum from the continual action slowly built throughout the novel and I imagine is still building to a more climactic ending of the story overall. Though the problem introduced in the first part of this book – how will Duff survive being kicked out of the company-sponsored orphanage – was answered in the course of this fast-paced novel.

Though this book is set on another planet where time and space are not the same as Earth, I felt very engaged in the environment and wondrous of all the little details of the world. I really liked how this sci-fi was very focused on the characters and the plot, keeping world-building lean and relevant.

I am anxious to find out what happens to Duff, Z, Matilda, the orphans, and even Ravenne.

This novel was published by Dragon Bane Publishing on 01/15/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Claudia Blood’s Website

Goodreads

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: Canopy by D.M. Darroch

Canopy by D.M. Darroch

A Dystopic YA Novel published by Sleepy Cat Press (01/04/21)

Summary:

“I had tremendous arm span, enviable upper body strength, and powerful feet that gripped tree limbs like hands.” (Kindle location 1703).

Many, many years ago people lived on the ground. When the earth was on the brink of destruction, a group of people climbed thousands of feet into the trees. Now, the community in the canopy is a close-knit group. So close that gossip spreads almost as fast as the potential plummet down to the ground. Everyone has their place and their purpose. Ostrya’s place is as an apprentice doctor. Her mentor is also her mother. Her purpose was assigned to her at birth when she inherited the canopy doctor’s trademark blue/green eye combo. But Ostrya doubts her role as community doctor. She is too different from the others. Too alone and outcast for them to trust her. She would rather spend her time climbing, exploring, or making rope anyways. But she bears the teaching and tries to settle into her role until a devastating storm tears through the canopy and reveals new gossip that could unravel everything Ostrya has been working towards.

Keywords:

Dystopian, Coming of Age, Canopy, Trees, Climbing, Gossip, Friendship, Doctor, Community, Rationing, Apprenticeship, Teaching

My Review:

If I were to describe this book in one word I would say that it is ‘polished.’ I couldn’t put this book down it was so entirely engaging from the plot to the characters to the pacing to the writing style and word choice. Even the ending was  flawless. The story that follows the main character Ostrya was expertly wrapped up but the overarching story of the world she lives in – the Canopy and the ground below – left me wanting to start the second book in this series immediately. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a solid story that was very well written.

I really liked Ostrya and the way that she was portrayed in Canopy. She has her faults and she makes poor decisions but she is almost always making choices as a good person. Sometimes she cannot see beyond her own teen angst and wishes, but she also cares so much about those around her! Ostrya has a purpose in her world, as the future doctor in the community, but she doesn’t feel like she can live up to her Mother’s and grandfather’s examples. She also doesn’t feel like being a doctor is her real calling. But what else, other than climbing, is she good at? Ostrya questions herself and her abilities (not her climbing skills though) throughout the course of the book, meanwhile she knows that what she’s been told her whole life about her society and the world below on the ground can’t possibly be true. What is the truth and why are the elders spreading lies?

The world building in this story was masterfully woven into the descriptions, dialogue, action, and thoughts of the characters. I loved the details of everyday life in this tree world. They elevated the story and set it firmly in this science fiction/dystopic place of what if… What if humans abandoned the ground and generations of evolution passed thousands of feet above in the trees? The world felt genuine and alive. This civilization felt unique yet still surrounded by the faults and flaws of humanity. Gossip runs rampant in this society. Societal pressures still exist but are different because of the environment that the characters live in. I love how the story included multiple aspects of society so that I felt like I could see the world as a whole – including school, daycare, doctors, gardens, hunting, exploring, love, relationships, etc.

I received a free ARC for an honest review.

This novel was published by Sleepy Cat Press on 01/04/2021 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

D.M. Darroch’s Website

Apple Link

Barnes and Noble Link

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