Blog Tour Stop: Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis

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I am excited for the opportunity to be one of the stop for this blog tour. This is one of my anticipated reads for this year.  I am going to put all of the info about the book and author first, but keep going. I will be giving a first impressions review and  there will be a link for a giveaway at the end!

game-of-shadows

Synopsis 
Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.
Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.
Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

 

Praise for GAME OF SHADOWS

“A fantastical journey that I didn’t want to end!” ―Sherrilyn Kenyon, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“It’s impossible to put this riveting page-turner down!” ―Stan Lee, author, editor, actor, and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics

“This book’s got heart . . . a wonderful adventure.” ―R. A. Salvatore, New York Times bestselling author of The Hunters Blades novels

“One of those thrilling tales you can’t put down . . . the perfect blend of imaginative world-building and nonstop action wrapped up in a compelling mystery.” ―D.J. MacHale, New York Times bestselling author of Pendragon and The SYLO Chronicles

“We were hooked. This is an adventure story for the ages.” — John Barrowman & Carole Barrowman, authors of the Hollow Earth trilogy & Conjuror

“Riveting from the start.” ―Steven Gould, author of Jumper

“Lewis has created a whole new world that is at once exciting and affecting. . . . She weaves a web of mythology that is both reminiscent of the Celtic world and redolent of the unique creation of a rich and fertile imagination.”―Dara Hellman, Lecturer, Celtic Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley

erika-lewis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 

Erika Lewis graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Math. And what do you do with a degree in Math? You become a writer of course… eventually…

She moved to the west coast following her dream to work in television. And after fifteen glorious years developing and producing for truly awesome places, like Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fireworks Television, 20th Television, that’s a division of Fox if you didn’t know that, and then at G4, where she could finally be free to be the nerd she had always been. She had more collectible toys in her office than even the famed executive producers of ATTACK OF THE SHOW and XPLAY. At least that’s the way she remembers it.

So how did this circle back to the beginning of this bio? A Math major becoming a writer? Because she’d actually always been a writer, she just never told anyone. She would write and write, edit and edit, then realize that it wasn’t good enough and go back in for yet another pass. And when she finally had several projects she really loved, that’s when she knew it was time to unleash them to the world.

Her first project, a graphic novel, THE 49TH KEY, is currently being featured in Heavy Metal Magazine, and will be released in trade in summer, 2017. Along with her amazing partner, Jessica Chobot, she’s currently working with LINE Webtoon and Legendary Comics on FIREBRAND, an ongoing comic series. Her first novel, GAME OF SHADOWS hits the bookstore shelves February 28th, 2017 from TOR/Forge Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

There are several other really exciting projects that you will be hearing much more about soon, but if she leaked them now, she’d get in big, big, big trouble. She resides in the sunshine state of California. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she’s usually playing with her big fluffy Golden Retriever, or running, or at one of the bookstores or comic shops by her house. And always drinking coffee.

My First Impressions:
Normally, with a blog tour I would post a full review to go along with all of the promotional items. Unfortunately, I had to choose between making sure that my post would go up on time or post a full review. So, in short, I have never done a first impressions review. I’m not certain that it would be fair to my readers since I have not read the entire book. At this point I have about a hundred pages left, and I am certain that the ending will not be disappointing. So here we go:
I was immediately drawn into the story from the first few page. Lewis starts the story off with hints that something much bigger is going on. But it is impossible to tell how big the secrets are until the action starts.  Ethan Makkai is a surprising character. He teeters between being completely lost and afraid in the new world that he is thrown into and being a very capable brave leader. I would have to say that the journey to save his mother helps him grow into the person his country has been waiting for.
Lewis has worked really hard in creating characters with distinct voices and personalities and talents that propel the story forward without losing momentum. Also the work that went into the world-building of Tara is evident. Even things that are out and out unbelievable are molded into something familiar and real.
The whole “character doesn’t know who he is until a catastrophic event reveals the truth, leaving him with no one and nothing to trust” trope is a bit old and annoying in most works. But not here, Lewis makes it work. She keeps the pace steady between learning  what is really going on and the action that is engaging and captivating.
I find it really hard to put this book down. I am sure if life, I.E.  my two year old, did not interrupt, I would have finished this book.  From everything that I’ve read so far, I can easily say that this is one of my favorite reads. Regardless of what happens in the last one hundred pages, I am certain that this book is one that I will continuously recommend to friends and fellow readers!
Want a chance to read this amazing book for yourself? Check out the rafflecopter link below for a chance to win your own copy!
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
 

 – 10 Winners will receive a Copy of Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js” target=”_blank”>Rafflecopter Giveaway  for Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis
Check back soon for my full review!
Always Shine!

BookLook Review: Merlin’s Nightmare

Merlin's Nightmare (The Merlin Spiral #3)

Merlin’s Nightmare by Robert Treskillard

Merlin Spiral #3

Blink – May 13, 2014

Purpose: Review, Complete a Series

Source: Booklook Blogger Program

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

5 Stars

This is the third and final book in the Merlin Spiral trilogy.  So I can’t say very much about what happens in this book without spoiling the book. I can say that this is the book where Arthur has grown up and learns the truth of his birth and history. If you have been following me for a while you know that I have thoroughly enjoyed the first two books. So no surprise that I enjoyed this one, though the enjoyment is bittersweet. I am very happy to have arrived at the end of this trilogy, but I am also very sad that this adventure has come to an end.

I am only sorry that it has taken me so very long to read this. Part of it was my aversion to reading the final book in a series, something that I am getting so much better at. Part of it was simply that I knew that it was going to take me a while to get through. I say that not to turn people away from this book, it is not a quick read. Though, it is hard to put down.  Once again, Treskillard has a way of packing his books with so so much goodness. It doesn’t feel like you are not just captivated by the story but that you are right there along the characters experiencing their adventure with them.

We have a returning cast of characters, and while they are all essentially the same, they are also different. So much has changed, the characters have grown and gone on with life. They have different roles and have taken on new challenges. I, once again, really enjoyed this book. It is hard to pick a favorite, so I would recommend that you just read the entire trilogy.  And once you have finished, keep an eye out for Treskillard’s new trilogy The Pendragon Spiral, where Arthur steps into his role and becomes the main character.

 

Revell Reads Review: Justice Delayed

Justice Delayed (Memphis Cold Case #1)

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

Memphis Cold Case #1

Fleming H. Revell Company – January 31, 2017

Purpose: Review

Source: Revell Reads Review Program

 I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

2.5 stars

Andi Hollister is a TV crime reporter for a Memphis news station. Detective Will Kincaide has recently been promoted to the newly established Cold Case Unit. Eighteen years ago, Andi’s sister Stephanie was murdered. Eighteen years ago, Will’s cousin, Jimmy, was convicted of Stephanie’s murder. Today, in less than a week, Jimmy is scheduled to be executed. Today, he receives a letter stating that he did not kill Stephanie. And so the story begins.

I wanted to review this book because Bradley keeps popping up on my book radar. I really wanted to like this book, and for the most part I did. Well, it was just okay. There are some things that stuck out to me that I had a problem with. And I guess I should start with them.

First, Will was not the only detective investigating this case. There was his supervisor/partner in the Cold Case Unit, Lieutenant David Raines, and Brad Hollister, a homicide detective. Brad is investigating a case that may or may not have anything to do with Stephanie Hollister’s homicide. Andi is also investigating her sister’s murder, though she is doing so under the guise of reporting and making a documentary. So in total, you are following four different people as they investigate the same case. Some of it is them trying to cover as many possible bases as possible since they have such a short amount of time. That is not the problem. The problem is that they don’t talk to each other.  If they had talked to each other, they may have been able to make connections a lot sooner. Characters (Andi) would not be put into unnecessary danger or accidentally reveal information to the wrong people.

Something else that bothered me was the fact that none of the detectives were suspicious of anyone that they talked to. I understand that they were talking to people that were prominent figures in the community. They question each person, again not discussing what was discovered with each other, but it seemed to be more of going through the motions than real investigating. I would think that as detective that they would be more suspicious, or at least curious about the people that they talked to. But, no, they detectives and Andi took everything that was told to them at face value.

My final issue is Andi’s addiction to pain pills. It didn’t read as authentic as it should have been to make it believable. It read as more of a plot device than something that was really affecting the character. It read as if it was something thrown in to move Andi in and out of different positions that would move the story along. If she was not addicted to the pills, there would have been something more believable that would have done the same thing.

But on the other hand, I did  find the  story interesting enough to finish the book, I did like the characters and their relationship to each other.  I also liked the fact that the romance part of the story really did take a back seat to the main story thread.  Though the problems did stand a lot to me, enough to affect the rating, I would be interested in seeing where this series goes next.

Always Shine!

Adult Psychological Thriller: Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin

Sister Sister

Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin 

HarperImpulse – January 6, 2017

Purpose: Review, Book Club Pick

Source: Edelweiss, HarperImpulse

I was given a  copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

4 Stars

The last time that Clare had seen her sister Alice was when she was in the car being driven away to America by their dad. Despite every effort to find Alice, going through multiple private investigators and internet searches, Clare has been unable to locate her sister. An unexpected letter arrives, announcing that Alice is indeed alive and looking for her sister and her mother. But meeting her sister does not go according to any of the fantasies that she had imagined.

Without giving too much away, somebody is crazy and it’s really not clear who it is until the end. That makes for an enjoyable reading experience. I really enjoyed this book, it kept me guessing. While there were a few twists that I was able to predict, I was never 100% sure that I was right until it came to pass in the story. I can’t say that there was any one character that I truly liked, it’s hard to say that when you see how they react. I think it was unreasonable, considering how involved that they were with each other.  And that would be my one complaint, there really wasn’t any allies for the person who needed it most.

If you are into psychological thrillers, or family dramas, I would definitely recommend this one!

Always  Shine!

Adult SFF Review: Department Zero by Paul Crilley

Department Zero

Department Zero by Paul Crilley 

Pyr- January 24, 2017

320 pages

Purpose: Review

Source: Edelweiss

 I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

2 stars

 Harry Priest is divorced with a daughter he is devoted to. He is a crime scene clean up technician. The book opens with Harry and his co-worker, Jorge the boss’s son, being called to a crime scene at a motel. When they arrive, Harry observes that the crime scene doesn’t appear to be ready for them. He is looking for some sign that the police have been there and have already processed the scene. As he is trying to figure this out a team from some unknown organization comes and claims jurisdiction over the crime scene. Harry and Jorge leave, Harry a bit curious but nothing more.  This is the night and the crime scene that changes everything and challenges everything that Harry has believed. The team that took over the crime scene is demoted and blames Harry. Harry is then recruited for what he believes to be for interstitial detective work, but it’s not.  It’s to do the exact same job that he had been doing but on a multiverse level. Havelock Graves recruits Harry in hopes of figuring out what happened to the case that caused him and his team to be demoted. Pursuing this case will take them across dimensions, universes and deep into the mythology of Lovecraftian monsters.

That sounds interesting, to say the least.  The actual book summary caught my attention and made me want to read this book immediately. Unfortunately, it didn’t maintain that level of intrigue throughout the book.  If I had to choose one word to describe this book, it would be absurd.  There was enough action and mystery and “what the hell is going on?” at the beginning to draw me into the story.  But it didn’t last.  And it wasn’t any one thing that didn’t work for me, it was a bunch of little things. Let’s start with the villains. There were quite a few, but only two really spent the time interacting with the other characters. And both villains sounded the same. Their speech patterns had the same lazy speech rhythms and tones, and they both used the same outdated lingo. Then there is the good guys, the team that you are supposed to be rooting for. But, Graves was an ass and not likable in any way. Ash was just there. I think Crilley missed a lot by not flushing out this character. The dynamic between her and Graves could have made some of the scenes so much stronger and convincing, but instead it was just disappointing. Then there is Harry Priest, himself. I guess he would be the main character, but he is a bumbling idiot. With the amount of times that he stumbled across something only to be knocked over the head, he deserves to end up with permanent brain damage.  While there were surprising moments of impressive instincts, they happened so rarely that it was mostly out of luck or out of character.

Yes, there is a certain amount of suspension of belief when you are reading any fiction book, more so with fantasy. When you decide to add in touches of science fiction, you are looking for science that makes it a bit believable. It is hard to fall into this story as even plausible when the characters themselves are not convinced. It’s like listening to someone tell you a lie when you know that they are lying and you know that they know that you know that they are lying. I really wanted to like this book, I thought that it had a lot of potential. But unfortunately, it was unfulfilled potential.

Always Shine!

Adult Thriller Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes

Behind Her Eye by Sarah Pinborough

Source: Contest win

Purpose: Review, personal choice

5 stars

This is the story of a twisted love triangle. That is the easiest way to describe this book without giving anything away. Adele and David are new to town. David, a psychiatrist, joins the office where Louise works. The more that Louise learns about David and Adele, the more she realizes that she doesn’t know.

And that makes for a mind twisting adventure for the reader. This is not an action-packed story, but it is one that compels you to keep reading. I slowed my normal reading pace almost immediately after starting this book; I knew that this was going to be like nothing I had read before. Thought Adele, David and Louise are three major players, the book is told in alternating timelines, as well as alternating viewpoints.  With Adele, you are given glimpses of her life before and her life presently. But you also get to read from Louise’s perspective as she is entrapped in the mystery of David and Adele. To be honest, her involvement and the fall-out from it was genuinely her own fault.  There were quite a few moments where she could have walked away, starting at the very beginning. But no, she just couldn’t let it go.

That is about all I can comfortably say without giving anything away. Follow the breadcrumbs that are left along the pages and you will reach the truth of the story a step or two before Louise, but it may be too late.

The ending makes absolutely perfect sense, but it is such a mind-blowing ending that I was left wondering how I could have missed such a natural conclusion. I enjoyed the story, and the experience of reading it. I would highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially if you like psychological thrillers, or twisted love.

Always Shine!

Young Adult Review: Shock Point by April Henry

Shock Point

Young Adult Review: Shock Point by April Henry

Source:  Library

Purpose: Personal read

3.5 stars

 

“It was the rough hand over her mouth that convinced Cassie Streng that what was happening was real”

 

I received a book that Henry co-authored for review a very long time ago. Since then I kept saying that I wanted to read some more of her work. I also follow her on Facebook, so I have heard about all the research and work that she puts into her writing. This has made me even more curious, so I finally picked up her first published YA novel. Henry does not disappoint.

 

Cassie’s situation is one that is all too familiar for a lot of young people, unfortunately. Her parents are divorced. Her dad has remarried and so has her mom. Her mom is now pregnant and her stepdad is a jerk. She has moved to a new school in a new city and doesn’t have any friends. There’s a lot of transitions and changes that would explain -not excuse-  Cassie acting out.  When Cassie discovers facts that Rick, her stepfather, would like to keep hidden, Cassie finds herself going through one more transition. This one is life and death.

I liked Cassie as a character. Her situation was familiar, while also being unique. She was not some teen with superpowers. She was in a tough situation and only wanted to do the right thing.  Even if the right thing was not easy and put herself in danger. Her father sends her away to Peaceful Cove. This place masquerades as a place for helping troubled teens. In reality, it’s sadistic a place that resembles more of a prison.

When Cassie arrives at Peaceful Cove, I found this hard to read. Not because of the writing. It was just awkward and uncomfortable to watch -read- someone endure physical and psychological abuse.  I wanted to jump in and help, to find a way for them all to escape. But I couldn’t, there wasn’t anything for me to do except to keep reading. I don’t think that I would have survived if I had been sent to Peaceful Cove.

This was a very short book, less than two hundred pages, but it packed quite a punch. There’s no “convenient” tools that suddenly appear to provide an easy out. Escaping is a struggle and a risk. While I don’t believe that the ending was rushed, Henry didn’t dwell on Cassie’s escape. There was enough to envision what she was going through without passing into the annoying or unbelievable zone. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Henry’s work.

“And then, while there were still both laughing and before she could think twice about it, Cassie stood on tiptoes and gave Thatcher a kiss.”

Always Shine!