[Roxie Reviews] | ‘Heir of Doom: The Roxanne Fosch Files Book 2’ by Jina S. Bazzar

‘Heir of Doom: The Roxanne Fosch Files Book 2’ by Jina S. Bazzar

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5

Finished on May 20, 2019

GIVEN A FREE COPY FOR REVIEW

FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $2.99 on Kindle | $14.99 in Paperback

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Joining the Hunters means Roxanne no longer has to run and hide, but her life is still not her own. With her lineage coming to light, she now has a clan to answer to, too. Will she always be at the service of someone, or will she one day gain autonomy over her life?

Her clan does not embrace her as she hoped they would. They look down on her for her lineage, and they don’t trust her. More people than ever surround her, yet she’s also more alone than ever. 

When a little girl goes missing, Roxanne becomes the prime suspect. To survive, Roxanne will have to choose between being labeled a traitor and cast out as a rogue – or join hands with the darker powers to save her life, and the lives of her friends.

MY REVIEW:

I was given a free copy of this book for review.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment of this series, and I liked the second one even more. The excitement is amped up in ‘Heir of Doom’. The questions posed in book one are answered, but they open up their own cans of worms for Roxanne. 

I felt like the pacing was better in this book. (I had no issues with the pacing in book one.) A lot happens in this installment, but at no point does it feel rushed or confusing or overwhelming. This book was easy for me to devour, and I wish I had the third book in my hands already.

I liked how the hierarchies of the clans and the Sidhe, both, were portrayed. In many of the character’s cases, they want to do better by Roxanne but are limited by their statuses within their societies. Most of them recognize that Roxanne has been abused from the start of her life, but they can only do so much to help her. The tension this creates made for a compelling plot. 

Roxanne’s character develops a lot through this book. We see her tenderness and humanity a lot more than in book one. Her friendship with Vicky brings it out the most, but we see it with Zantry and Mwara, too. She’s still hurt, jaded, and ever-suspicious, as she should be based on her experiences, but she still wants to believe people are good. And she wants to do good, too.

Roxanne and Logan’s relationship is totally different in this book, and that felt weird to me at first. But, once I understood where both she and Logan rank within their clan, it made sense. Besides, just because two people go through something harrowing together, doesn’t mean they are destined to fall madly in love.

I’m unsure if I was sent an ARC of this novel, but there were several spelling and grammatical errors. All stuff easily fixed with another round of edits.

The book wraps up this chapter of Roxanne’s story nicely, but I felt a little disappointed that Vicky’s story was left hanging. I hope that’s going to be resolved in the third book.

All that said, I very much look forward to the next installment of this series, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fantasy adventure.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘Heir of Ashes: The Roxanne Fosch Files Book 1’ by Jina S. Bazzar

‘Heir of Ashes: The Roxanne Fosch Files Book 1’ by Jina S. Bazzar

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5

Finished on May 9, 2019

GIVEN A FREE COPY FOR REVIEW

FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $2.99 on Kindle | $16.99 in Paperback

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

At twelve years old, Roxanne Fosch was taken by a group of clandestine scientists and subjected to a decade of experiments. After escaping, she is relentlessly hunted and living on the run.

Roxanne is desperate to discover the truth about her past. Why did the Paranormal Scientists Society want her? Her quest reveals that she’s not human. She doesn’t know what she is, but she’s rare even among other preternaturals.

Everything Roxanne has ever known is a lie, and she must know the truth.

MY REVIEW:

I was given a free copy of this book for review.

This series was recommended to me by a friend as something I might enjoy, and she was right. ‘Heir of Ashes’ is a fast-paced, exciting, supernatural story. For fans of the genre, the lore is familiar yet unique enough to make for a thrilling new read.

I loved Roxanne as a character. She has been through hell and back. It changed her in ways that she doesn’t entirely understand. She’s tough and paranoid but, deep down, she’s tender and wants nothing more than to be understood — to be normal. She knows she’s unlikely ever to experience the things a normal twenty-something woman does, and she mourns the childhood she should have had. Despite her exceptional circumstances, she’s relatable, and that’s not always an easy thing to accomplish.

We, as readers, are as clueless about Roxanne as she is. What exactly is she? Where did she come from? She’s clearly special, but why? Bazzar maintains the suspense with an expertise that makes for a fun read. 

I also liked her relationship with Logan. I felt like Bazzar handled it very well. As someone with PTSD, I know all too well how hard it is to trust someone after you’ve been through extensive trauma. I think it would have been easy (too easy) to turn their story into a romance, but Bazzar gets it. Yes, Roxanne wants a normal life and to be loved, but after everything she’s been through (and continues to go through), it only makes sense that she and Logan’s relationship would be complicated.

As a small side note, it was pretty cool to see someone with a variation of my name as a main character. We don’t often see Roxie (Roxy in Roxanne’s case) used very often, so that was neat!

I finished this novel, immediately dove into the second one, and look forward to the next installment.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘The Good Samaritan’ by John Marrs

‘The Good Samaritan’ by John Marrs

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5

Finished on April 30, 2019

Read with Kindle Unlimited Subscription

FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $4.99 on Kindle | $14.99 on Audiobook | $10.87 in Paperback

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

End of the Line is a hotline for people who need hope. Who need a reason to go on. Who need someone to talk to and remind them they are not alone in the world. But some of those calls are answered by Laura, and Laura wants them to die.

Laura has had a difficult life. She’s pushing forty and unhappy with almost every aspect of her life. She’s angry, and she craves speaking with people who have it worse than her. She craves pushing them over the edge.

She can’t get away with it forever, though. Ryan’s life was devastated when his pregnant wife jumped to her death with a stranger. Ryan is determined to make sense of his wife’s choices, and it all leads straight to Laura.

MY REVIEW:

‘The Good Samaritan’ is a wild and entertaining read — if you can suspend your disbelief. The characters in this book are so sick and demented that it’s hard to believe anything contained within could actually happen. 

But that’s the point of good fiction, isn’t it? To find yourself immersed in a story that transports you to an alternate reality. 

This book could be tough for some people to get through. Suicide is almost a character unto itself, so if that’s a trigger for you, you should probably avoid this novel.

If you’re looking for a dark and chilling read, though, this is likely a story for you. Marrs delves into some of the darkest aspects of humanity. Despite the truly evil acts committed in this book, there are opportunities to feel empathy — even sympathy — for their plights. Trauma sometimes changes people in terrible ways.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘Press F5 to Load Game’ by LeVar Ravel

‘Press F5 to Load Game’ by LeVar Ravel

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5

Finished on April 26, 2019

GIVEN A FREE COPY FOR REVIEW

FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $2.99 on Kindle | $9.99 in Paperback

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When Rep. Frannie Upwood allies with an illustrious senator, the gossip flies. Frannie is known as an underachiever and is often the butt of jokes. Everyone wants to know why such a prominent man intends to align with the likes of Frannie.

Lars Uxbridge is said senator’s staffer. He’s a disloyal man who only looks out for himself, and he’s decided it’s up to him to figure out what’s up with Underwood and the senator. 

He discovers something amazing he could have never imagined in his wildest dreams. Frannie Underwood has a time machine.

Frannie shows that when you’re armed with time travel, you’re the star athlete in a game where the world is your playing field, you make your own rules, and you always beat the shot clock.

But as Frannie will learn, this game has opponents to contend with. Rivals who might not play fair. When the prizes are enormous power, money, and control of time itself, watch out for cheat moves and low blows…

MY REVIEW:

I was given a free copy of this book for review.

‘Press F5 to Load Game’ is a unique read. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, in a good way. We are so inundated every day with political news; the last thing I want to do is read fiction about it. This story, while having a political setting, they are not the focus. 

Instead, this book is about how greed corrupts and how self-obsession can pickle a person. The characters in this book, especially Lars, are almost insufferable in their self-aggrandizement and greed. I typically have a difficult time sticking with fiction that focuses on deeply unlikeable characters, and I almost threw in the towel with this story. 

I’m glad I didn’t, though. Ravel’s writing style is entirely his own. The language and cadence are different from most everything else I’ve ever read. I don’t think this is a detriment, but I can see it not being for everyone. I think Ravel’s target audience is likely as unique as his voice.

I read a few other reviews of this story that said they wished it was longer. I have to agree with that. I think there’s potential here for a much more in-depth story. Underwood’s machine in itself has endless possibilities.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s a short read, and if you find you like the style, it’s worth the time and effort.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘Where the Forest Meets the Stars’ by Glendy Vanderah

‘Where the Forest Meets the Stars’ by Glendy Vanderah

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5

Finished on April 21, 2019

Read with Kindle Unlimited Subscription

FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $4.99 on Kindle | $21.99 on Audiobook | $15.99 in Hardcover | $10.37 in Paperback

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Graduate student, Joanna Teale, has jumped headfirst back into her work after the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer hoping to prove to everyone — including herself — that she hasn’t been broken. She’s studying the nesting patterns of birds, and her research brings her to a secluded cabin. 

Her routine is interrupted when a barefoot, bruised little girl shows up at the cabin late at night. She calls herself Ursa and says she comes from the stars. She won’t be able to return home until she witnesses five miracles. Joanna tries to put the child out of her mind, but she can’t because Ursa’s confusing story and her unsettling situation nag at her heart. And she keeps showing up.

Joanna reluctantly lets Ursa stay, fearful that she either has nowhere else to go or, if she does, that it’s a bad place. She’s determined to discover the truth about Ursa’s past.

With the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel, they set out to solve the mystery of Ursa’s miracles. The three form a strong bond, but they know they’ll soon have to make difficult choices regarding Ursa’s wellbeing.

When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.

MY REVIEW:

I loved this book. I devoured it in only a couple of sessions and didn’t want to put it down between them. 

This novel was not what I expected. I thought I was getting into a lighthearted supernatural tale. Instead, I got a poignant, touching, and profoundly human story.

The characters are well-developed and moving. They worm their way right into your heart. They battle their own monsters while trying to make sense of the circumstances surrounding a remarkable little girl, and they do it with humanity and grace.

‘Where the Forest Meets the Stars’, at its core, is a love story. It’s a story about the love of family, and about how sometimes that family is made by choice, not by blood.

Vanderah’s writing is smooth and pleasant. Nothing feels rushed or forced or lacking in context. It feels almost as though you’re witnessing real-life events, mistakes, the forging of relationships, and the development of love.

I have a feeling this is going to be one of my top five favorite books of 2019. 

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘Monstronomicon: 100 Horror Stories from 70 Authors’ by Various

Hello! Before I get to today’s review, I want to apologize for not posting much. My pain and fatigue levels have been through the roof, and I’ve found it hard to do much of anything beyond the most basic of tasks. I am still reading, but I am behind on reviews. I am slowly working my way through them, so thank you for being patient.

I also plan on updating you all, eventually, about my plans for book reviewing in the future. A lot has changed for me, both in perspective and circumstances, so I need my reviews to reflect that. Expect that post shortly. 

Now, without further ado, here’s today’s review!

‘Monstronomicon: 100 Horror Stories from 70 Authors’ by Various

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5

Finished on April 19, 2019

Read with Kindle Unlimited Subscription

FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $4.99 on Kindle | $26.21 on Audiobook | $24.99 in Paperback

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

THE MONSTRONOMICON is a collection of 100 stories from around the world. These aren’t your everyday Werewolves and Wendigos either. Each story is told by the survivor of an encounter with a unique and mysterious creature more wild and varied than you can imagine. This book has something for everyone with a dark mind, so read now to find the perfect monster for you.

Some monsters are quirky and friendly, while others are apocalyptic behemoths crawling up from the depths. Some stories are heartwarming, funny, or profound, while others are a blood bath.

MY REVIEW:

When I heard about the upcoming release of this collection, I was excited. I am a huge fan of stories about monsters, and what could be better than a bunch of them by some of my favorite NoSleep authors?

Well, I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t as impressed with this book as I wanted to be. I wanted to love it, but I closed it and felt hollow.

There are some excellent stories in here by talented authors, but I think the not-so-great ones overshadow them. That’s unfortunate. Whoever put this collection together should have been more selective, only selecting stories by authors who are on par with one another. Failure to do so made this collection feel imbalanced and took the shine off the good tales.

There were way too many stories in this collection I couldn’t finish for me to give it anything above a 3-star review, and even that feels generous. Some of them were rambly and all over the place. Some of them did the thing I dislike the most and sacrifice solid plot and character development for gore and shock value. And others were just poorly edited — inconsistent tenses, grammatical errors, etc. 

I read this with my Kindle Unlimited subscription, and I’m glad I did. If I had purchased this collection outright, I think I might have felt even worse about it.

[Roxie Reviews] | ‘Demon King’ by Erik Henry Vick

‘Demon King’ by Erik Henry Vick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5

Finished on April 6, 2019

FREE on Kindle Unlimited | $2.99 on Kindle | $17.99 on Audiobook | $19.99 in Paperback

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Demons walk the earth, hiding behind human faces, and they feed on mankind’s negative emotions. But to some, there is nothing sweeter than the terror of children.

If demons can hide their true nature from everyone, is anyone safe?

MY REVIEW:

I really enjoyed this book. I am always on the lookout for the extraordinary story that will actually scare me, and this one came pretty dang close. The only novel that’s ever given me nightmares was Stephen King’s ‘IT’, so it makes sense this story would give me chills, too. 

‘Demon King’ has a lot in common with ‘IT’: back and forth timelines, a town overtaken by monsters, children terrorized by an unspeakable evil and confronting said evil again in adulthood.

Vick has crafted a frightening world filled with vibrant characters and nightmarish monsters. The pacing is great, and the suspense builds organically. I particularly liked the way Vick melded real-world horrors with the supernatural. In my opinion, that’s the recipe for compelling horror.

This was a hard book to put down, and I didn’t want it to end. I will absolutely read more of Vick’s work in the future.