My Rating: 5 Stars
A memorable, unique historical thriller packed with action and an impressive research of historical poisons. It’s very hard to believe this is a debut novel.
This is the tale of a female assassin on the 16th century that uses different poisons as weapon of choice. Lavinia Maud craves for the death fashioned by her own creations, her preys both poor and rich. However, fame brings risk to a higher level. Between avoiding the anger of her patron and struggling between love and death, Lavinia finds out the hard way that the heart is hard to silence and that revenge is served better with a tasteless poison.
Now, this is a new, refreshing novel with an original plot and a fantastic main character. A femme fatale that murders all levels of society, aiming for the ultimate game of her career: what is there not to like? It’s darkly compelling and addictive until the very last page.
The plot is brilliantly thought and developed. It’s fast paced with twists and turns that will swep the floor from under your feet. The originality of the plot is a breath of fresh air in the world of historical thrillers and the level of suspense is enough to make any heart skip a few beats.
The setting is perfectly chosen, the research made by Kara Pohlkamp on the time period and the poisons are impressive and perhaps even a bit scary. The Tudor era is one of my favourites in English history so I was more than pleased to jump into the story. The author provides just the right amount of detail to give the reader the perfect view of this dark tale.
The seductive and hypnotic style of writing pulls the reader deep into the story of this murderess and turns this journey of sin, obsession and murder into a pleasant ride. Pohlkamp is a magician with words, so smooth and seductive that will make readers fall for her novel like clockwork.
The main character is great and memorable. I know she’s an assassin and I know she has an unhealthy obsession with poisons and killing, but at the same time, the way the author presents her, it’s impossible not to connect with Lavinia and admire her. She is a powerful, deadly intelligent woman that uses everything she has to survive a world ruled by men. Her battle between cold logic and her heart is mesmerising to read and her struggles give her an incredible depth as a character.
I can’t wait to see what other tricks Kara Pohlkamp has up her sleeve!
For all the fans of historical thrillers looking for something new and exciting, you can’t let this one get away.
I want to thank the author Kara Pohlkamp for reaching out and sending me a digital copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
This is the type of comic that never disappoints! Beautiful art mixed with a great story.
The tale starts with Lady Mechanika on a journey, trying to put a tragic event behind her. In the small town of Santa Catrina, it’s that time of the year, the celebration of the Dia de Los Muertos. As she learns more and starts enjoying herself, a mutilated boy comes into town before collapsing. He is the latest victim of the Jinetes del Inferno, a group of gods that require sacrifices every year. If they don’t get what they want, they torture children as the warning. This time, they get more than what they bargained for. Lady Mechanika makes it her mission to put a permanent end to them.
I read and reviewed the previous volumes of the Lady Mechanika collection and this one can be read as a stand-alone. There is enough background story in the plot to make sure the reader doesn’t feel lost.
The storyline is very nice and dramatic. For the readers of the previous volumes, you will know there is nothing new to that. The story is simple, easy to follow and very compelling just as the style of writing.
The art is memorable as usual. The excellent graphics, the steampunk mixed with the typical Mexican art is simply amazing. The lines, the colours and the attention to detail blend perfectly with the story and the character of Lady Mechanika. The reader ends up being pulled into her world and her adventures.
Another great read, one that I recommend to the fans of the series and of steampunk art.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Benitez Productions and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
This collection is the perfect read for lovers of books and mysteries. What can be better than murders themes around books?
These 15 short stories were written by distinguished mystery writers and they make every story count. The editor Otto Penzler put together an anthology of crime between books that fill fit the likes of most readers. From hidden messages inside old books, a deadly bookseller and the deep secrets a library might hide, make this book impossible to put down.
Each storyline is different but they all have something in common: books. The title was definitely well picked and it describes perfectly its content. All the stories take place in modern times and they all involve different types of books or characters related to books like booksellers, book collectors, books privately owned, public displayed books and even an old scroll. Even though most of the stories can be classified as thriller/mystery, some of them have a fantasy touch to them and one fits in the fantasy genre completely.
The authors with stories on this collection, by order of appearance, are:
The editor Otto Penzler did a great job putting this anthology together. All the authors have different styles of writing, different ways of describing and interaction with the reader which is very refreshing when you’re jumping from story to story. Some of the authors I’m familiar with and it was a treat to read some short works from them, like Jeffrey Deaver, Thomas Cook and John Connolly. Additionally, discovering other authors just made my to-read list a bit longer for next year.
I absolutely recommend this anthology to all the fans of murder mysteries and books. These great authors write great stories and getting to know other creators of this genre might help you discover some great books you haven’t read yet.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Pegasus Books and the editor for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A wonderful plot, unlike anything you’ve read before. A great beginning of an epic journey.
A storm during a delivery to a rural area completely changed the life of Robby Ribbon. After a few wrong turns, he’s completely lost and without meaning too finds and rings a Bell that isn't supposed to ring at all. After the incident, everything changes and war follows. Was it just a coincidence? Robby embarks on a journey that he doesn’t understand, meeting companions along the way that in the end will change more than just his world, they will reveal who he truly is.
I completely fell in love with this book. It starts with something so simple and develops into something more complex and it turns the novel into something epic and memorable. I’m counting the days for the next instalment. It’s a novel that is to be read at a steady pace. For me, it’s not meant to be rushed, it’s meant to be savoured and to be enjoyed to the minimal detail.
The world building of The Bellringer is fantastic. The author takes his time to explain the history of this world and build you a complete painting of how it’s organized. I really enjoyed the map detail: there are maps in the introduction that shows each continent and country. For me, it’s a very positive point since it allowed me to have an overview of the general lines of this world. In the beginning, I had struggled to read it since the pace was a bit too low for my taste, but it’s needed to have a better grasp of everything that comes after. Once the bell in rang, all hell breaks loose and the pace speeds up significantly. Sadly for me, it doesn’t have a happy ending and it leaves the reader with a big book-hangover.
There are several storylines and each one is a different adventure. The best part is that some of them come together in the end and others are left to the imagination of the reader, which for me it’s a positive point. The characters are incredibly created: there are several main and secondary characters and they are all developed in depth. In this novel, it’s easy to be drawn to the characters and just journey with them. Sometimes the reader might even wish to be there to give some insights and advice. They are so well imagined and developed that I could almost hear their voices in my head throughout the novel. Robby, the main character, has a great heart. Even though he’s completely at loss, in the beginning, he takes on a journey that might actually be the death of him and he still has his head held high. Better than Robby, just Shelia, the female character. She is a badass, tough because of her background. I’m curious to see what her role is going to be in the next instalment. There isn’t much information about her apart from glimpses of her past, but I have a feeling she will be very important in the future.
This isn’t the typical fantasy book. I can’t really put it in words, but the feeling it gives and the feeling it leaves in the reader is deep and long-lasting. I have a major book-hangover with this one. I highly recommend it to all fantasy fans. This is the beginning of an epic saga!
I want to thank Xpresso Book Tours and the author William Timothy Murray for sending me a paperback copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
An absolutely brilliant plot: mesmerizing narrative and gripping from page one.
What if the ancient Aztec civilization survived the trial of time and still existed today? In a world of stone pyramids and wild parties, the old traditions prevailed and the belief that a blood sacrifice is needed for the sun to rise is still practiced like clockwork. This is the reality that Maya lives in. She is the daughter of an upper-class family that spends her time partying with her friends and the man that claimed her as his wife. Her life is turned upside down when she gets kidnapped by a group of rebels that want to put an end to the theocratic regime. Maya learns that everything she has been told in her life is a lie and that the sun will rise with or without a human sacrifice. Will she join in the rebellion to save the people or will she be the next offering to the gods?
A brilliant novel that I will re-read many times over.
The storyline is solid, well-structured and consistent. It’s very rich in historical facts and they are slowly revealed through the novel, so it doesn’t overwhelm the reader with information.
The pace builds up very nicely in the beginning and then it's complete non-stop with action, filled with twists that make the story impossible to predict and pure adventure. This world is so well created that it seems like it actually took place. It was a breath of fresh air to read more about Mayan culture, their cults and rituals since it’s a story of a civilization that I know little about. Val Bodurtha presents a deep knowledge on the subject and presents it beautifully. Not only that, but it also shows a knowledge of politics and religion and how society promotes equality but in the end, it’s structured, my classes. The Aztec society is built by the elite and the ones that aren’t. Unfortunately for the peasants, that title comes with a deadline as a sacrifice is needed to gain the favour of the sun deities.
The characters are very well characterized and they truly seem to come out of the pages. They are flawed with moments of arrogance, ignorance but also courage and growth. Maya, the female protagonist, is a spoiled brat at the beginning of the story, she doesn’t care about anyone but herself and her inability to see through her own circle is annoying. But, I’m glad to say, she improves throughout the novel and actually becomes a mature young woman, driven by the need to help others and change the course of so many lives that were meant for a short life-span. The main male lead is Tezca and he is the definition of a fearless warrior. He leads the rebel group, organizes raids and builds the plans to overtake the theocratic ‘government’. He definitely adds energy to the plot and his intelligence makes the plot more believable and solid. The secondary characters are just as important and they give the support that changes the course of a few occurrences during the adventure.
Even though this book is classified as YA, I recommend it to all audiences. It has some juvenile moments but the storyline is brilliant and it’s very different from any setting the reader may encounter. It definitely deserves all its 5 stars.
I want to thank Lanier Press and the author Val Bodurtha for reaching out and sending me a paperback of her novel in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A great sequel to the memorable first novel The Red Pyramid.
Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt got released into the world, the lives of Sadie and Carter Kane has been turned upside down. Now responsible for the House of Life in Brooklyn, the siblings train others with pharaohs’ blood, trying to get ready for the dangerous mission ahead. The most feared enemy of Ancient times is awakening and with it bringing destruction to the world and drown it in Chaos: Apophis, the serpent of Chaos. To stop it, they must do the impossible: find the god of the sun, Ra and re-establish him as the King of the Gods. Easier said than done, however, no one knows where the god retired to exile and no one has seen him in decades. So, the world is about to end and they have no idea where to start. Just another normal day in the lives of the Kane family.
This adventure keeps getting better and better! Just as the first volume, Sadie and Carter narrate the tale of their impossible missions in a witty and entertaining way and this time their adventures will them to a trip around the world.
The story-line is great, consistent and leaves nothing to chance. Every detail the reader learned in the first book is explored and easily understood throughout the story, going deeper into the characters and the plot itself that starts to become more complex than the reader would have expected. Action, funny interactions, dangerous encounters are only a few of the moments that make this story so addictive.
The writing style is typical of the great writer that Rick Riordan is known for and it keeps the reader glued to the pages from beginning to end.
The settings in this instalment change just as quickly as everything else: from Brooklyn to Egypt and Russia where the characters explore the extended influence of the Egyptian culture across the world and how powerful symbols can be.
Rick Riordan presents a new group of characters that complement the story perfectly. Bes, the god of dwarves that has the power to scare people away with his ugliness, the handsome Walt that makes Sadie’s life a bit more complicated and true Zia that makes Carter’s life a lot more difficult. Carter and Sadie grow so much in this novel that it’s Impossible not to grow attached to them. Their relationship changes as time pass and it’s a nice change to see that even though they get along better actually able to have a normal conversation, they still have their snarky comebacks and rocky brother-sister conversations.
This series keeps getting more and more interesting and I’m sad that there’s only one volume left.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Another brilliant series by the renowned author Rick Riordan, and this time with Egyptian mythology.
The Kane siblings have two very different lives ever since their mother died. Carter, raised in the US, the oldest, travels the world with his father, being home-schooled and used to the fact he never stayed in one place long enough to make friends; and Sadie, taken under their grandparents wing in the UK, goes to school, has friends, but only has the chance to see her father and brother no more than a few times a year. Their lives change forever when an accident unleashes the gods of Egypt into the world, the good and the bad ones. They soon discover that the gods are unable to stay on their plain unless they take a human host, one strong enough to sustain them. Thrown into a world that was hidden from them, Carter and Sadie find themselves on a race against time to save the most important person to them and stop Set, God of Chaos, from destroying the world.
Rick Riordan did it again: a mind-blowing and involving middle-grade novel that all ages can enjoy. In this novel, he takes on one of the most complex religions and manages to make it very simple to the eye of his readers.
The story-line is very solid and the reader is taken on an adventure of a lifetime with the Kane siblings. All the mythological myths, legends, and godly characters are very well represented and their story is presented in a way that will keep even the younger readers engaged in the story and the characters. The novel is fast-paced, filled with action and unexpected twists that will leave the reader second-guessing throughout the story. There are two perspectives in the novel, both from Sadie and Carter which allows the reader to get to know them simultaneously and have a better understanding of the story.
The characters are amazing. For the first time, the main characters of this novel are brother and sister and with such dynamics that is both refreshing and very entertaining. I think readers with siblings will be able to identify to some of their thoughts about each other and their reactions. At the same time, I think the author did a great job in developing their relationship since they were raised apart. In the end, they don’t know each other that well and struggle to understand one another. Furthermore, Carter and Sadie are very different: Carter is humble, methodical, logical and with a vast knowledge of Egyptian culture; and Sadie is sassy, rebellious and usually acts before thinking. Both characters are very well-developed as well as the secondary characters, which become more important throughout the story.
I really enjoyed this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s an action-packed adventure that will impress all ages.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Another amazingly written short-story crossover between the Egyptian and the Greek mythologies and this time around with the ladies! The perfect continuation for the Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles Crossover collection!
In this adventure, Annabeth's life is about to take a huge turn and she doesn't realise how much when she follows a two-headed monster on the subway. She ends up coming face to face with a young blond-girl that reminds her of herself. Confronted with a different world so different from their own, Annabeth teams up with Sadie Kane to take on an ancient foe that was raised into the Mortal world by someone Sadie is, unfortunately, very familiar with.
The most exciting thing about this story is, of course, the two blondes with an attitude taking on a common enemy. On the contrary of Percy and Carter in the first story, Annabeth and Sadie are immediately taken by one another and a friendship blooms in the midst of battle. I could feel from the beginning that they would become great friends based on their temperaments and snarky sense of humour.
What I found hilarious was the whole situation and the correspondent reactions of these two compared to their boyfriend and brother. Whoever said girls were more suspicious than boys? Complete nonsense. Furthermore, the ladies adventure was, in my opinion, a lot more complex and a lot more life-threatening. This story is full of action and it was great to read how Annabeth and Sadie work together and how they complement their abilities so nicely.
The second instalment of the Greek - Egyptian crossover that I highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 Stars
A great novel filled with action beautifully described and with a memorable plot. It’s a very enjoyable wild ride!
In a distant future, Demons and angels are at war and Earth is the battlefield. Poverty, death and power struggles are the consequences of a war that doesn’t seem to have an end. But a prophecy that has been passed down for 600 years describes that a man half-angel half-demon will change the course of the war and the fate of Earth. His name is Drake Blackfaith and this is the beginning of his journey.
It has been a while since I’ve read a novel that takes place in the Heaven/Hell reality but I couldn’t get enough of it. From adventure, action to romance this instalment creates the perfect base for the other novel that comes after.
The plot is very well-developed and all its details are important to the story and its characters. In the beginning of the novel, there is a lot of information to process but the author gives space to the reader to actually understand it. The war is brutal and it’s easy to see who the good guys are and the bad guys but even so, humans suffer in the hands of both. It’s an action-packed novel with a number of twists that arrive unexpectedly.
The descriptions are incredible and they pulled the reader straight to the story. I really enjoyed reading and imagining this world with all the details the author provided: nothing satisfies me more than a world built in solid grounds; its halfway for me to fully enjoy a book.
All of the characters have enough depth to actually seem real and they aren’t perfect. The protagonist Drake is easy to relate to and even easier to feel for him and his inner struggles. He isn’t perfect, and despite the fact that he is half-light and half-darkness, he acts and feels like a human being. The reader can see his character development throughout the story and grow into the man that will change the world.
I highly recommend this book to fans of the reality of angels and demons in a future setting.
I want to thank D.L. Colón for reaching out and sending me a free digital copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A brilliant, memorable novel. This is a book that shows the other side of the very debated issue of illegal migration. I’m not usually a fan of books that approach the dark side of society, but this one is a must-read for people to realise that in the end, we’re all human and most of the time illegal immigrants are victims forced to flee their homes due to events beyond their control.
A peaceful night of celebration turns into a bloodbath. During the birthday party of his cousin, Pato, Arbo, Gladys and Marcos sneak away quietly from the house to smoke. Suddenly the sound of multiple gunshots ring through the night and the group returns home only to find their families dead and the shooters still in the house. Forced to run, with nowhere to go and a bounty on their heads, the four teenagers are driven across the desert in hopes of finding sanctuary in American territory.
The storyline is very solid and the details are very nicely described. This truly is the perfect novel that portraits the current issues of society and how quickly the media and the people forget that sometimes illegal immigrants are running from life-threatening situations, in this case, extreme violence. It explores how much a person can endure, how they react in extreme conditions just to have a chance at an unknown future. Steve Schafer managed to capture perfectly the effects of the traumatic experience of these characters and it’s both admirable and heartbreaking. This novel shows that all a person has at some point can be taken away and that nothing should be taken for granted. If the objective of the author was to inspire compassion, understanding and empathy towards the victims of the horrors that lead to illegal immigration, he did a brilliant job. For me, he marked literature with this novel.
The characters are very well-developed and it’s very easy for the reader to connect with them. Each one reacts to events and interprets information different, which gives the reader to understand them and bond with them in different ways. It’s even easier to get entangled in their story, to really feel for their struggles and to root for them in their journey. I felt emotionally connected to them and it was both a pleasure and a struggle for me, to know that even though these are characters, these are the struggles of a lot of desperate people.
The story is quite fast-paced and intense at times but it has its slow moments too; I would say that it’s to give the reader a break and to give some time to adjust to the events that occurred before. There aren’t just moments of sadness or fear; there are also moments of humour and some drama when a line of romance starts to develop between two characters, which softens the story a bit and lightens the mood. One thing is for sure, the plot isn’t predictable at all, and the reader doesn’t know what is just around the corner.
It’s a fast-paced, heartfelt novel that I can’t recommend highly enough. It fully deserves its five stars and people should definitely read it at least once in their lives.
I want to thank the author for reaching out and for giving me access to the digital copy of his book through NetGalley.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.