Murder in Montague Falls by Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton & Patrick Thomas

MURDER IN MONTAGUE FALLS
By: Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton & Patrick Thomas

Murder in Montague Falls

*Book received in exchange for honest review*

Murder in Montague Falls are three stories set in the same place relating to different characters and also giving them a different element of noir-inspired stories whether its about Satanism or witnessing a murder to bring involved in a murder. All the stories are executed fairly well and have their own little levels of twist. As with most batch of separate stories put together, it each has their pros and cons and some work better than others. It seems natural to review each of the stories separately as they are individual stories.

The first story, Red Ink by Russ Colchamiro, and the only author in the three that I’ve previously read a novel of, is through and through a story, somewhat in the veins of movies like Disturbia where a paperboy witnesses a murder and suspects who does it but ends up being denied and tries to take actions into his own hands to find out the truth. Its the best of the three stories which is great as it starts off the book in a very good pace. The story itself and the main character has a good level of depth and the murder and investigation all are pretty clever with how everything unfolds. It borders a little on whether the murderer he suspects is actually it while also have two sides of the spectrums in play with the paperboy as well as the detective on the case also have parts with his suspicions.

The second story is The Devil’s Delinquents which is very well-written as well. It drags a little longer than it should at some points, however, the trio here are written very well. The whole Satanism concept mixed with the endgame of the entire story is one that I rarely read so it feels like a breath of fresh air to break through the norm. At the same time, what is excellent here is mostly in the descriptions whether its the more blood and gory bits or even in how the group dresses or what they do are all described in such detail that its easy to visualize the scenes as they happen which brings immersion. Its not an easy thing to do and yet, Sawney Hatton does a great job at it.

The third story is A Many Splendid Thing which is probably the weaker of the three stories. It touches onto something of a flipped side of an erotic thriller kind of deal while also having some fairly familiar and obvious outcomes of the story itself. Its predictability takes away from it while the characters are designed to be rather unpleasant to read about making it hard to root for the main character. At the same time, what does work in this one is the final twist, while still easy to figure out, still manages to use the little details to piece together something that works out especially as the ending page or two definitely speaks a rather raw level of truth as a result of what the character went through that seems a given but yet a lot of stories of this variety never say it straight forward like that which has a certain level of satisfaction to read.

The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: An Ava Lee Prequel (#0.5) by Ian Hamilton

Ava Lee Series – previous book reviews

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6

The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: An Ava Lee Prequel
(An Ava Lee Series #0.5)

The Dragon Head of Hong Kong

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Young Ava Lee is a forensic accounting who has just opened her own private firm. One of her clients, Hedrick Lo, has been swindled of more than a million dollars by a Chinese importer named Johnny Kung. Desperate, Lo persuades Ava to find and retrieve the monies owed. Ava goes to Hong Kong, where she plunges into the dangerous underground collection business and meets a man who will forever change her life . . . – Goodreads

It always seemed a possibility to go back to the beginning. As Ava Lee Series step into a new era for its series, it definitely is good to give a wave to the first phase (what I’d call it) and see how Ava Lee got started in this business with Chow Tung (aka Uncle). The Dragon Head of Hong Kong refers to Uncle and how they met through her first case doing forensic accounting and realizing that while she could hold herself in most scenarios. In some others, realistically, she still needed some support. While hesitant to deal with Chow Tung at the beginning, as you would with strangers, its about trust and connections in her business and how her business with Uncle starts as partners, based on mutual respect and business requirements.

In that sense, The Dragon Head of Hong Kong is done really well. We see a much more younger and perhaps, slightly more naive Ava Lee who goes into this tough but never quite seeing too far and taking a lot of it by chance. However, there’s still signs of her character having those traits that she still has in the current books but just less refined. Its still the tough Ava Lee at work. At the same time, this book is fairly short in comparison to the other books in the series and rightfully so, since the story isn’t too complex, at least much less complicated than the current ones and involving less people but gives a foundation of how everyone whether its family and business falls into place. Therefore, the book is fast-paced with a lot of action on the pages and still doesn’t forget a lot of the key characters in the main series that we’ve grown to expect and love.

Its a little backwards to do the prequel after the series turning point (or looking at the release date, right before the last book that leads there). However, it does work. The Dragon Head of Hong Kong shares not only a first look at Ava Lee and Chow Tung but also gives the basic landscape of how she came to those items that she holds preciously in her life and does a good job and giving those connecting points, giving the current series some more substance and meaning to little things that didn’t get explained (or if it was, never thoroughly). Prequels aren’t always necessary but in this case, it was a fun quick read and was appreciated (for me).

Twisted Pines by Lane Baker

TWISTED PINES
By: Lane Baker

Twisted Pines

Where have all the children gone? At rustic summer camp Mendocino Pines, that’s the question on everyone’s mind. First one, then two, then three campers vanish—only to reappear a short while later with no recollection of the missing time. The disappearances raise questions about the children’s safety, not to mention the camp’s time-honored reputation.

When Abe, a freshman camp counselor from UCLA film school, stumbles upon a ghoulish-looking humanoid roaming the coast, he suspects this creature might be responsible for the children’s unsettling disappearances. Armed with a camera, a journal, and a thirst for the truth, Abe sets out to pry the lid off the uncanny mystery hidden among Mendocino’s Twisted Pines. – Goodreads

*Received in exchange for an honest review*

There is an obvious fascination of Lane Baker with science fiction and aliens in particular. Following the previous story Slippery Things (review), this new story is also along the same lines. This time around, the main character is a young adult Abe who takes up a summer job as camp counselor when weird things happen and he discovers what is the cause. As the story unravels about this mysterious lurker, the motives come together.

There are few things done well here. The first is execution. It has something of a novella length which gives it space to develop a story but also a quick pace for events to happen without things lingering and dragging therefore making it a nice little page turner, more and more so as the story pulls together and the heart of the situation and the two central characters start interacting.

Another element done really well here is characters. There are quite a few because of the setting in the summer camp with counselor names bouncing around the pages and young campers being caught up in the mystery. However, there is a definite focus on Abe as the main character and a lot of this going from his perspective. Telling a story from a perspective always works well to still create mystery out of what is unknown to the character. The two sided (both good and bad depending on the part of the story) is that while the humanoid does have some character development and as gaps of mystery behind him because of taking Abe’s perspective, it also has the issue that the character doesn’t have quite the depth and is more of a supporting sort of deal. At times, it works and at times, it doesn’t.

Overall, Twisted Pines is a well-paced YA sci-fi novel. There’s an obvious improvement in dialogue here (in comparison to the previous story).  A lot of Twisted Pines is well-written, whether its building up the suspense or how the chapters are structured and the progression of the Abe’s character and his discoveries, especially on how it starts and ends. I can’t say that Abe, as well done of the character as it is, is too memorable but feels suitable in this story. There’s a lot more that can be explored with this story especially in terms of the humanoid however, its a simple page-turner story that keeps things straight forward and because of that, it also manages to keep it intriguing enough to keep want to know more about what happens next. This one is well worth the read.

Blog Tour: Wild Dark Times by Austin Case (Review/Excerpt)

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Wild Dark Times
By: Austin Case

Wild Dark Times

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Publication Date: July 23, 2019

SYNOPSIS

It’s the summer of 2012 and Elizabeth Megalos is a disillusioned art-school grad getting by as a bank teller in St. Louis. One evening, she’s attacked by a possessed coworker and saved by a mysterious, wise-cracking sorcerer named Eddy. He drags Elizabeth and Hugh—a skeptical scholar of the occult—to Europe, where he introduces them to his three magical celebrity friends. Once there, Eddy explains the group’s mission: preventing a Demiurge—a creature out of Gnostic Christian mythology—from fulfilling the visions of doom in the Book of Revelation. The Demiurge has been drawing power from the misguided beliefs in the Mayan apocalypse and is set to start the destruction on Dec. 21st, 2012. Through ritual magic and a series of psychedelic experiences, the group learns that Elizabeth is the key to taking down the Demiurge, though she can’t imagine how she will be the one to stop Armageddon.

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EXCERPT

“Elizabeth, I don’t think this is the first time that an apocalypse has almost happened. There have been people claiming that the end is nigh for thousands of years. The way things have gone in the past—what, with the awful things people have done to each other and the large-scale tragedies that have occurred—I can’t imagine things didn’t get close to ending quite a few times. But there are good people out there, people who care about the world and struggle to help. People who can see the beautiful in the world and strive for compassion and peace instead of destruction. Have you ever heard of the Gospel of Thomas?”

Elizabeth shook her head.

“It’s a Gnostic gospel. A book of sayings attributed to Jesus but which was left out of the Bible. While the New Testament talks about the Kingdom of God and the apocalypse that would lead to this perfected place, Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas says that it’s here already. That, essentially, it’s a matter of perceiving the perfection of things that are already here. This view is common to lots of other mystical traditions. In a way, the apocalypse could be seen as that Gnostic or mystical insight, where the world as we know or understand it falls apart around us, and all that is left is the Kingdom of God. The falling apart is just a matter of perception and is necessary to see the true beauty before us already… 

Amazon

REVIEW

Wild Dark Times takes a magical twist set in the few months with a group of people with various magical powers joined together to stop the apocalypse set to happen on December 21, 2012. Taking a more enchanted and dangerous adventure towards how to stop it all, the premise itself is intriguing because with fantasy of these types, there is always its own little twist on its own magical world of creatures and elements and how magic works in this urban fantasy reality. Due to those adventure elements, Wild Dark Times is quite a page-turning experience, more so as the novel dives deeper and further into each location that it moves to and the next event that happens as they approach doomsday itself, the stakes are higher just as the characters developed have taken a certain level of importance to the story as a whole as well.

As each of the characters chases down one location to the next and figures out one clue to the next, each of this group has their shine in the spotlight and their worth in the group especially the two people acquired throughout this who initially seem like they don’t quite fit into any particular use in this whole equation. One of such is the the female leading character that somehow gets pulled into this and seems like it is way over her head because of her lack of knowledge and yet the group keeps her and the other more educational fellow along. It gives these characters a space to develop and they do work out quite well despite the fact that perhaps at times, it does feel like for the length of this novel, some of the characters in this group feel a little underdeveloped and some of them don’t quite leave quite the impression making it at times hard to track who is who at the beginning except for some of their more specific uses.

Wild Dark Times is pretty clever with the pacing of the whole story. While some of the characters are quite used as they should, the constant string of things happening does help to keep it very intriguing to follow despite it feeling slightly like its going through a formula for this magic to work as they figure out one place to the next and when and where which feels like it might need a little more back story but somehow still manages to tie it together in the end. What also does work well here is the stakes do seemingly increase as it moves along as the forces they fight against also creep closer as well. Overall, everything balances out between the urban fantasy and the paranormal along with the magic elements and whole saving the world from the apocalypse take in a fun and adventurous way.

Goodreads score: 4 out of 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Pic

Austin Case received a Master’s Degree from the University of Amsterdam in Western Esotericism and Mysticism. His academic knowledge of the occult and other peripheral phenomena has given him a unique take on fantasy and speculative fiction.

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

August 26th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
Entertainingly Nerdy (Spotlight) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com
I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

August 27th

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
Touch My Spine Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://touchmyspinebookreviews.com

August 28th

My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://mybookishbliss.com
Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com
Shalini’s Books and Reviews (Spotlight) https://bookreviewsbyshalini.com/

August 29th

Inked and Blonde (Review) http://www.inkedandblondeonline.co.uk
Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com
Scarlett Readz & Runz (Spotlight) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

August 30th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
J Bronder Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

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Book Review: Within by Clare C. Marshall

Within
By: Clare C. Marshall

Within

Trinity Hartell’s life changed after the accident. Left with irreversible brain damage, she becomes a burden to her mother, a cause for heartbreak for her boyfriend Zack, and a flattened obstacle for her best friend, Ellie.

But then she starts writing. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that the psychotic, murdering protagonist of her novel bears a striking similarity to the charming Wiley Dalton, a mayoral candidate in the upcoming election.

Or, perhaps not… – Goodreads

While it sounds like the plot for a lot of young adult novels out there, especially at the start with the accident and has the potential of going in a very generic direction, however, author Clare C. Marshall has her own unique vision for the story and while it still has the YA elements here, the story takes a much more intriguing turn of events and drags a connection between different elements in the society and the city that these teens live in. The story changes form, touching from one genre to another and making it quite a page-turner.

The novel follows the different characters as it flows through the story. With a more focus on its few leading characters and their observation of Tiffany, it gives each of them a certain level of development. At the heart of this, the main mystery will have to be for Tiffany who doesn’t really get her own narrative but as she is being observed and has each of her episodes, it is suspenseful as it is never certain whether her episodes are supernatural or something else as a result of her accident. On the other side of the spectrum, Ellie as her best friend definitely has her spot and drives the plot development but somehow has some elements that develops which makes her not quite likeable. However, Ellie and Zack are two teenagers dealing with something which is quite over their heads. However, there are always those staple characters like Tiffany’s mother who seems to genuinely lack the understanding and caught up in a situation which causes things to be slightly frustrating at times. However, a really nicely written character is the main character of Tiffany’s character and the politician in running as mayoral candidate who finds his place somewhere near the middle of the story but does have quite a presence and depth. Its one of the well-written characters in the story.

With that said, there are slight pacing issues here. The beginning bits as the youths deal with the accident and their friend with a bright future suddenly reverting back to a child’s mentality is fairly dramatic and very much in the generic which also moves too fast without the characters lacking depth to make it as involving as it should be however, the characters each have their layers and as the plot thickens, the pacing picks up to its advantage creating its suspense and mystery. There are some really plot ideas here and the execution overall works.

Goodreads score: 3/5 (would be 3.5)

Blog Tour: The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw [Review & Giveaway]

The Space Between Time
By: Charlie Laidlaw

The Space Between Time

Expected Publication Date: June 20th, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Drama/Dark Comedy

SYNOPSIS

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

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REVIEW

The Space Between Time is a novel of many good qualities as is expected with Charlie Laidlaw. While I’ve only read one other book from him last year, his writing style and the voice he gives his characters (especially the main one) is very unique. At the the same time, the structure and the story also work very well. In this case, The Space Between Time truly benefits by creating this parallel of the main character Emma’s constant comparison to her grandfather’s theorem of space and time to draw the different events that happen in her life. It is also the unique angle of the story. The novel itself takes form by its different parts (cleverly titled with different space formulas and titles) that take us into the different stages of Emma’s life.

While The Space Between Time does have a good few characters that come in and out of Emma’s life, the main character here is Emma used in a first person voice. This is particularly effective for this story because of one circumstance which helps round up the story and might hit spoiler territory so I’ll avoid it but the second is that it helps capture, like a journal, the different ways of talking as well as the different point of views as Emma grows up, from when she was a little girl just until the present, being an adult. A lot of the novel and plot benefits from this element because the story itself is one that is more dramatic and with that, heartbreaking.

The Space Between Time overall works quite well. It is both unique, well-structured and creative with some unique ideas. The character of Emma is complex, has depth and also is one that grows over time as she fights some of her own inner monsters and grows up to understand more and change her perspective of the people around her. There are so many lessons to learn in this novel through Emma’s story. Its a story about love and loss, family and communication as well as letting go and forgiveness. Its about coming to terms to the different sides of a character.

A lot of elements in The Space Between Time lands really well. The only small issue here was some areas dragged on a little too much with descriptions. There are also some moments where some of the stories seem to drag on too much but then in the sum of things, especially with how it ends, some of the little mundane things come back in the storyline and have their own purpose. On a more personal note, there is a decent amount of dark humor here which (at least for myself) didn’t quite always land as much. However, as much as there are some small issues with the pacing and such, The Space Between Time tells a story about Emma that should be told and probably needs to be told because it highlights some very important elements of life.

Goodreads score: 4 out of 5

Purchase Link

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

charlie laidlaw

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

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GIVEAWAY

I have 2 signed copies of The Space Between Time to giveaway, 3 fun coffee mugs featuring all 3 of Charlie Laidlaw’s books, and 3 digital copies of the book in the winner’s format of choice! Amazing right? Click the link HERE to enter!

*Open Internationally – Giveaway closes June 30th

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Blog Tour: The Finest Supermarket of Kabul by Ele Pawelski [Review & Giveaway]

The Finest Supermarket in Kabul
by: Ele Pawelski

The Finest Supermarket of Kabul

Publication Date: October 30, 2017
Genre: Novella/Terrorism/Inspired by True Events

Synopsis

Kabul, Afghanistan January 28, 2011.

Merza, a freshly minted Parliamentarian receives ominous threats after he wins his seat. Alec, an American journalist, flies from Kandahar without his editor’s permission to chronicle daily life in the capital. Elyssa, a Canadian human rights lawyer in Kabul to train female magistrates, is distracted by unwanted attention from a male justice. On this grey, wintry Friday, all three are embroiled in a dramatic and savage bombing. Inspired by true events and places, The Finest Supermarket in Kabul follows Merza, Alec and Elyssa as their idealistic and visionary hopes for Afghanistan are deeply challenged in the aftermath.

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Quattro Books
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Review

The Finest Supermarket in Kabul is best described as three intertwined stories. What works really well is choosing these characters because one of them is a Parliamentarian, giving the readers an inside scoop of Kabul and the political struggles there. At the same time, having the outside eyes be the opposite side of an American journalist which also gives us the outside perspective while the final one acts somewhat more of a middle ground. They live there for longer duration and know the lay of the land but is still an expat. Their stories definitely are carefully intertwined as the bombing occurs as each person is at a different location and they all react differently but in their timelines still manage to brush past one of the characters in the process. It gives a continuity and fluidity to a thought with taking the time to add that detail.

The stories itself are engaging and intriguing especially as there is a different perspective so the landscape of the lead-up to the actual bombing event also is well-paced. Perhaps, because of this, it has the tightly knit story (or stories) making it a page turner as there isn’t time to add fluff in the middle, and that is fine because the stories being told doesn’t really need it. The story itself is as direct as its characters. At the same time, what makes it a great read is the descriptive nature used it, highlighting the innocent and the unknown and the helplessness for all those involved and the uncertainty of whether they are as well. On another hand, the three stories intertwine here and emphasize a further point that everyone has a different point of view and will be caught up in a different way whether it is physically being there, witnessing its aftermath or even from the sidelines. There’s a lot of thought in the details in The Finest Supermarket in Kabul and that makes all the elements put together a worthwhile one to check out.

Goodreads: 4 out of 5

About the Author

Ele Pawelski

Ele Pawelski has lived in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Bosnia, Kenya, Uzbekistan and Kosovo. She has climbed in the Himalayas, walked the Camino and hiked in Newfoundland. Now living in urban Toronto with her husband, she’s always planning for her next travel adventure. Her stories have appeared in magazines, journals and newspapers. The Finest Supermarket in Kabul is her first novella.

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Twitter: @Eleinthecity

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3 print copies of The Finest Supermarket in Kabul and 5 $20 Amazon GCs (North America Only)

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King of Me (King’s Trilogy #3) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Check out the review of the second book, King For a Day, here.

King of Me (King’s Trilogy #3)
by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

King Of Me

What if you were asked to love a dangerous man who betrayed you at every turn, who terrified you even in your sleep? Could you do it to save the people you hold dear?

Mia Turner is ready to give it all—her body, her heart, her soul—to the mysterious, ruthless billionaire who holds the cards to saving her family. But when this sinfully sexy man, simply known as King, demands something more, something horrifying, Mia will be forced to face the impossible truth about their lives.

Sometimes the truth brings salvation. And sometimes the truth breaks you. – Goodreads

In the final book of the King’s Trilogy, King of Me is a pretty decent read. It has a lot to thank for the first two books doing a great build-up to this point. Of course, this third book also has to bring an end to all the teasing and seducing and arousal from before so we finally get some sexual action here. However, the core of the story is Mia embracing who she is as in the time of danger she escapes to the past before King was cursed. However, history is set in a certain way and even Mia’s Seer abilities aren’t almighty so there is some mystery behind what she does and how things turn out. Its journey to the past that feela destined and changes Mia’s mind about King and his demons and also drawing comparisons to the other people linked to King as well. Its a big unveiling and does a decent job. Everything makes sense and the erotic scenes play out well. It adds even more depth and development for all our characters, King and Mia but also Mack and the Spiros as well as the truth behind the story from the last book while seeing why Mia falling in love with King is the key to changing everything one way or another, at least for a better outcome.

With that said, King of Me did suffer some of the erotic novel pet peeves that I have. I have some odd ones and it comes from a little similarity of finding redemption for King drawing some comparisons to Christian Grey in the last book of Fifty Shades trilogy. Its this way out where they feel compelled to make love center to just giving in to abusive behavior. However, King of Me does give it a reasonable route afterwards to somehow shed the light a little on why there was this drastic change in that point in King’s history that Mia had stepped into.

Overall, King of Me was decent as the supposed final book of the series. It answered all the questions and sorted all the emotions out. It was fast paced and added depth to the characters.

Of course, reading it after the initial release means I also know that the trilogy turned into more so this isn’t actually the end. There currently two more books, #4 Mack and #5 10 Club. I was hoping to wrap up the series and move into something else. I will try to catch up to the final two books later this year. With that said, I wonder how they will be seeing  as the original idea was a trilogy but these two has now turned it into a series. Hopefully it will work out well.

King for a Day (King’s Trilogy #2) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Check out the review of the first book, King’s here.

King for a Day (King’s Trilogy #2)
by: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

king for a day

When Mia Turner’s life becomes tethered to a mysterious billionaire, who she swears is the devil himself, she knows she must break free. It doesn’t matter if everything about him—those sinful lips, those pale gray eyes, that perfect male body—keeps her awake at night. He’s evil. She has to get away.

But when this man, known simply as King, suddenly disappears, Mia will discover she’s not home free. Because without King, she’s no longer safe from his ruthless, depraved, power-hungry social circle.
To survive, Mia will have to conceal King’s absence and walk a mile in the evil man’s twisted, cruel shoes. What she discovers will leave her more terrified and her heart more conflicted than she ever imagined.

King is not who she thought. She wasn’t even close. – Goodreads

One of the things I love the most from the King’s Trilogy, and maybe it has to do with Mimi Jean Pamfiloff’s writing but I have only read this trilogy so I have no comparison, is that the setup of the mystery and the characters are quite multi-layered which makes it intriguing to read. In the first book, we learned the basics of Mia and her dilemma, got hints of King and how he is not quite human and of course, the twisted elite 10 Club and the disturbing people involved. But those are fairly skin deep and leaves a lot of room for both the mystery and the characters to grow. In King For a Day, that was exactly what happened. And no one was left out in this character and situational development process, which is always nice to see, making all the characters meaningful to the story as a whole and more depth for the mystery in this one. At the same time, the scope expands with the story widening to other locations and the extent of King’s “powers” being revealed a little bit more.

King for a Day does fall into a familiar path that I didn’t really want it to go down. Part of it was rather predictable and the story line here really seems to fall away from why I found it unique in the first place. However, Mia stays true to her character and King, well, is King, filled with mystery and discovery. The fantasy of figuring out bad boys really never dies. You know, the quiet and cryptic ones who seem to have a lot to hide and are probably wildly dangerous. This story feeds on that mentality for sure. Its always nice to remember when to pull a character out to cool down a little just as King of a Day does as it removes King and makes him disappear, leaving Mia to fend for herself with the help of King’s loyal helper, Mack. Both properties of King, the 10 Club is ready to claim them and they need to find a way to hide the fact that he is missing even if they know who is behind it all. It add tension when the main character is left in the dark especially when the secrets and dangers seem pressing.

With that said, this is a fast-paced read. Even with the few twists that come in play, there is still a playfulness to this one that transforms quickly into a mix of feelings. It builds primarily the depth of King’s backstory and who he is, while also giving Mia her strength and building upon her learning more about what it means to be a Seer and her abilities. At the same time, what I loved from the first one is that this one teases sexual tension and attraction but manages to keep Mia from doing anything that will betray herself even if she finds this strong attraction and pull to him, not only because she was marked (or claimed) by King. Its been one of the characteristics in this series that I’ve enjoyed a lot.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with King For a Day. Its a worthy sequel. There were some predictable moments but it was a fast-paced read. The story and characters both had a decent amount of development to not only keep the mystery and suspense keeping the matter at hand fairly contained but building on the backstory for King as well as the future of Mia and King as well as their tension. At the same time, the other characters never feel dispensable as they also get a fair growth and development to their characters to make them necessary in the story.

Blog Tour: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw (Review & Giveaway)

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead
by: Charlie Laidlaw

Things We Learn When We're Dead

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Humor
Publication Date: January 26, 2017

Synopsis

With elements of The Wizard of Oz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Lovely Bones, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead shows how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, and how sometimes we can get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home. – Goodreads

Review

Leaning much more towards the contemporary fiction than humorous side for myself, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead works the best in its creative setting. Perhaps the best way to start is that The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is set up in a structure that takes us between the present state of after Lorna’s accident and waking up in a foreign place that she realizes is a spaceship called HVN and is run by a man calling himself God. How can you not stop to think about whether heaven is actually run by some alien life who is stranded in limbo and has the power to live for eternity. The constant question is whether this was the vision of her death or was this all in her head or maybe some other situations will come to mind as we also get Lorna’s significant moments in life that create a connection to the memories that are regenerating as the time passes by in heaven. In many ways, the story here is something of a character study in itself because of the focus pretty much solely on Lorna. Other characters, no matter how close, were simply passing through her life and things that affected or observed her choices. In that way, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead works very well. It actually achieves quite a few moments of where we get to see the little details of her pass sprinkle into the present people and locations that she visits in heaven.

However, where the story that fall a little bit apart is something of the overly descriptive spots or sometimes feeling like the past had way more focus and detail than it needed to have. It is the defining points of her life but sometimes it also failed to really see the importance of some of the people that kept recurring or simply situations that didn’t seem to matter so much. While that is the case, the writing and word choice is something that I haven’t seen in a while using some obscure things in comparison (at least in my opinion) and added that extra bit of detail and creativity that gives it merit. I guess what I’m saying is that the writing overall was very good but the story was a little overly long for its own good and as the book progressed to the end, the past events dominated over the present and it felt like it lingered a little bit too long and the balance of the two was lost on me.

Overall, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a decent read. Its not exactly a page turner through and through but the creativity here deserves a lot of credit. Life is made up of our choices and how we choose to live our lives and in many ways, Lorna’s life story in all its detail is very honest and realistic. It might have dragged at certain parts but very few stories do hit those personal journeys with so much honesty and it works on that level. At least I was able to relate to some of her sentiments that she went through.

On a side note, the guy characters here have last names related to birds, “Bird, Dove, Crow”, it makes me wonder if there’s something more about freedom or something linked that I can’t find a connection to, or maybe I’m just overthinking it.

Goodreads score: 3/5

Purchase link: Amazon

About the Author

charlie laidlaw

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault.  That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father.  That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh.  I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist.  I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries.  Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa.  What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then.  However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

Twitter: @claidlawauthor
Facebook: charlielaidlawauthor
Website: www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

GIVEAWAY

2 Printed Copies of The Things We Learn When We’re Dead

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f35/?

Blog Tour organized by:

r&r book tours