Review: The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin

**3.5-stars**

Hello, my lovelies! Earlier today I posted a bit about Jane Gilmartin’s new SciFi release, The Mirror Man.

At the time of that post, I was 71% of the way through and was predicting a final star rating of between 3.5 and 4. I am happy to say, I finished up with it a couple of hours ago, and as predicted, my final rating is 3.5-stars!

On my rating scale, a 3-star book is a good book and a 3.5-star book is getting close to really good. It’s a book I would recommend to certain people with particular tastes, but not necessarily to everyone.

For me, the first 3/4 of this book was quite compelling. Our protagonist, Jeremiah Adams, finds himself in a precarious situation, essentially held hostage at his place of employment due to an illegal cloning experiment.

As we get towards the end however, it loses all its danger. It’s like the baddies just give up. It just didn’t make sense and ended up way to neatly for the protagonist. I didn’t get that choice. He should have had to fight harder or something. There were also a few plot holes that I thought could have been improved upon. I’ll admit, I was let down by the way it ended.

Overall though, it is an interesting story that would translate well into film. Perhaps they could add a bit more suspense towards the end. I think this would be a great read for someone just getting into Techno-Thrillers or SciFi in general as the concepts are all easy to understand.

Thank you so much to the publisher, MIRA, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review, as well as including me in the blog tour. I appreciate the opportunity and had fun reading this one!

Blog Tour: The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin

Hi, book friends! Good morning! Happy Sunday and start to Halloween Week! The most wonderful time of the year.

Let’s chat about The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin. This fast-paced, Sci-Fi Suspense novel explores the ramifications of a near future, illegal cloning experiment.

Our protagonist, Jeremiah Adams, works in the marketing department for ViGen Pharmaceuticals. He’s surprised when he is offered the opportunity to take part in a top-secret scientific experiment, for which he will be generously compensated. We are talking millions of dollars.

What does he have to do? It’s pretty simple, he agrees to allow ViGen to create a clone of him that will then go out and live his life, while he is secluded in a luxury apartment for a full year.

Just to be clear, this means, the clone, who will have Jeremiah’s memories basically uploaded into its head, will then go and live at Jeremiah’s house with his wife, Diana, his teenage son, Parker and their dog, Louie.

Jeremiah agrees. He’s been having a rough go of it at home lately, anyway, and could use a break.

As part of his agreement, Jeremiah will be required to watch the clone go about his life for a minimum of 4-hours a day, via carefully placed video cameras. Another employee of ViGen, Brent, is to be his companion during these viewing sessions. They’re trying to determine if the clone veers at all from Jeremiah’s normal pattern of behavior.

He also must meet with a psychologist to discuss how the whole process is making him feel. Other than that, his only contact is with the two heads of the experiment, Drs. Scott and Pike.

I am currently 71% of the way through this novel. I have been flying through it. The narrative style is very addicting. It’s a solid Techno-Thriller and would definitely make a good movie.

I was impressed with how quickly the action kicked off. There’s no pages and pages of background filler on the experiment. The opening scenes are the clone getting its finishing touches before heading out into the world, and just like that, Jeremiah is enclosed in his room.

It’s mere moments before you can feel a sense of dread starting to seep in. Like when Jeremiah realizes the exterior door of his apartment doesn’t have a handle on his side. He is literally a prisoner at the mercy of the few ViGen employees who are actually privy to the experiment and know of his whereabouts.

As you continue turning pages, the true sinister nature of the story begins to reveal itself. I am loving the relationship between Jeremiah and Brent, right now. Brent brings a lot of much need humor. Although some of the plot is predictable in a 1990s-Techno-Thriller way, it’s still fun and engaging.

According to my e-Reader, I have under two hours left. So, I am going to go finish it up now and then I will circle back here with a full review. Right now my star rating is hovering between a 3.5 and 4. Stay tuned to find out more!!!

Review: Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

Five Total StrangersFive Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Mira lives in California, while her mother lives in Pittsburgh. It’s Christmas and Mira wants nothing more than to be over on the other Coast with her Mom.

Last year, her Aunt, her Mom’s sister and closest friend, passed away. They both took it hard, but her Mom really struggled.

Mira is concerned about her mother’s mental health as she tries to cope with that loss around the holiday.

So, when her connecting flight from New York to Pittsburgh gets canceled due to inclement weather, Mira needs to find another way to get home to her.

Luckily, the girl she was sitting next to on the plane, Harper, is renting a car, along with three of her college friends, Brecken, Josh and Kayla.

There is room and they are heading in the same direction, so Harper offers Mira a ride. It would sure beat any of the other options, like sleeping at the airport.

Mira accepts, but she has her reservations. She doesn’t know these people at all.

As they hit the road, the weather gets progressively worse. They see a lot of accidents and even have a few close calls themselves. As you can imagine, the stress level in the car is ratcheting up.

They’re now at each other’s throats and it’s not pretty.

Anything that could possibly go wrong, does for this group. Conditions get to the point where they are barely able to drive at all.

They make a few pit stops and yep, you guessed it, those don’t go well either!

I had fun with this one, y’all. Richards did a great job or bringing your typical Teen Scream to the page.

The cast of characters played well off of one another and it definitely kept me guessing. There’s some uncertainty as to what people’s motives are and I enjoyed that element a lot.

The suspense continues to build throughout the story. Items start to disappear from the car and it feels threatening rather than accidental.

Although there were some plot holes, and I wasn’t sold on the ending, I did have fun with it. I think if you don’t take it too seriously, it’s quite an enjoyable read.

Thank you so much to the publisher, SourceBooks Fire, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

Blizzard Scares are some of my favorite scares, so I am definitely happy that I had the opportunity to read this one. It’s perfect for this time of year!!

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Review: The Brightest Night (Origin #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Brightest Night (Origin, #3)The Brightest Night by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, this is going to get uncomfortable.

The Brightest Night is the third installment to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s, Origin series.

Since this is the third book, some minor spoilers may lay ahead.

First off, the rating for this book currently is off the charts, so please do not let the fact that I did not enjoy this one, sway you from picking it up if you have been loving the Origin series.

I too, had been loving the series, but this felt like something completely different. I feel like I read the wrong book, and with that cover, who knows!? Maybe I did.

For me, this was incredibly boring. Gone was the witty banter, the high body count, the twists and reveals.

Now that Luc and Evie are together, I found their relationship completely insufferable.

60% of this book was them professing their love, their feelings, their attraction, their obsession. You are a gift, you are the greatest, you are amazing, how can a creature as perfect as you exist, I love you, I can’t live without you, I will die for you, have I mentioned I love you?

30% was talking about other topics, mainly babies, making babies, giving birth to babies, raising babies and, oh yeah, Evie’s powers.

10% was engaging plot.

Unfortunately, I had to push myself the entire way through to complete this. I was so relieved when it was finally over, and with it, my commitment to this series.

Obviously, Armentrout is a widely talented and successful writer, this one was just an absolute miss for me.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. As always I appreciate the opportunity.

There’s a Reader for every book, and a book for every Reader, sadly this one just wasn’t for me.

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Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

The Devil and the Dark WaterThe Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

1634 — Our story begins with a mixed bag of passengers, and crew, preparing to board the Saardam on a voyage from Batavia to Amsterdam.

On the docks, a leper appears high atop a pile of crates and issues a warning that the voyage will end in merciless ruin.

He subsequently bursts into flames and dies a painful death. The observers, although chilled by his damning proclamation, shrug it off as the ramblings of a madman.

It’s harder to ignore the devil’s mark that suddenly appears on the sails, however. The incident, understandably, casts a sense of foreboding over all.

Samuel Pipps, a detective of some note, happens to be aboard, but as a prisoner.

Due to that status, he is locked in a grimy, claustrophobic cell, without even enough room to stand up.

Luckily, his faithful bodyguard, Lieutenant Arent Hayes, is aboard and he happens to have a close connection to the Governor General, Jan Haan.

Through Arent’s suggestion, Samuel earns the right to be taken out of his cell every night to get his exercise and fresh air upon the decks.

As mysterious happenings continue to plague the ship, paired with reoccurrences of the devil’s mark, Arent teams up with Jan Haan’s lovely wife, Sara Wessel, to try to get to the bottom of it.

An important piece of Arent’s past, the lore of a demon named Old Tom, plays a large role in this story. Some say Old Tom is aboard this ship; he’s the cause of all the problems.

There’s a ghost ship stalking them, their food source is threatened, a storm like no other threatens to sink them, people die, things disappear and throughout it all, Old Tom is trying to sway all aboard to his side.

This book has such a vibe. I don’t quite have words for it, but I love it!

As with The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, The Devil and the Dark Water is such a complex, suspenseful mystery.

The tone of this novel, the is it supernatural, is it not-feel of it all was masterfully done. Additionally, the use of Arent and Sara as an amateur sleuthing team was incredibly executed.

Together they are trying to work out who among them has been possessed by Old Tom. Their investigation has a lot of twists and turns, casting doubts on numerous passengers and crew.

All of the characters were so interesting. Anyone could have been the baddie. I had no clue who to suspect!

The entire story was completely original. I have never read anything quite like it. Turton’s imagination knows no bounds.

Apparently, 17th-Century Supernatural Mysteries are now my jam, because I am OBSESSED with this!

Thank you so much to the publisher, SourceBooks Landmark, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. This was by far, one of my most anticipated reads of the year, so I certainly appreciate it.

I am such of fan of Turton’s writing and look forward to seeing what he comes up with next!

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Review: Queen of Volts (The Shadow Game #3) by Amanda Foody

Queen of Volts (The Shadow Game, #3)Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Welcome to New Reynes, self-proclaimed City of Sin, and one of the most interesting worlds in YA literature.

Queen of Volts is the final installment of The Shadow Game trilogy and therefore, was destined to break my heart.

I dragged out my time reading this. Literally, tried to make it last as long as possible.

Picking up where King of Fools left off, this third book finds Levi and Enne forced to play the most dangerous game yet.

Levi, who is being drawn to the straight life of politics, and Enne, who must figure out how to navigate with her true nature exposed, grapple with their feelings for one another.

Should they play the game as allies or enemies?

I mean, that was my vote.

If you know nothing about this series, I urge you to go read about Ace of Shades. These books are full of intrigue, plotting, scheming, backstabbing and compelling ambitions.

There are street gangs, crime lords, corrupt politicians, gambling dens and magic.

Legends come to life. It’s a dangerous, seedy world and I loved every minute of it. Such a vibe.

I could go on and on about the many things I loved about this series, but honestly, you just need to try it for yourself.

I will say the story truly matured along the way, so perhaps if you picked up Ace of Shades and it was just okay for you, I would urge you to give the second book a shot.

This is one of my favorite YA trilogies of all time. I love the low key MacBeth vibes that I picked up throughout.

It’s just everything. I love it. Amazing job, Amanda Foody. I can’t wait to binge read the series in its entirety someday.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

This was absolutely one of my most anticipated books of the year, so I truly appreciate it!

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Review: Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Invisible GirlInvisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa Jewell’s latest Thriller, Invisible Girl, kept me up all night! Literally. Last night. I’m exhausted.

Following multiple perspectives in one UK neighborhood, this story had a nice build-up of tension the entire way through.

We get present perspectives, most notably that of Cate Fours and Owen Pick, as well as a past perspective from a teenage girl named, Saffrye Maddox.

Cate Fours is a stay-at-home mom to two teenage children, Georgia and Josh. Her husband Roan Fours, is a child psychologist, who keeps late hours and isn’t particularly present in the day-to-day functioning of the home.

Saffrye Maddox, a teenaged girl with a troubled past, was a patient of Roan for over three years due to self-harming behaviors. When he abruptly decides her care has come to an end, Saffrye feels abandoned by him.

Owen Pick is a single-man in his 30s, who recently lost his job as a teacher due to allegations of sexual misconduct, which he vehemently denies.

Owen becomes of interest to the Fours family when Georgia claims he was following her home from the tube station late one afternoon.

She’s freaked out by the encountered and in turn, Cate becomes equally on edge about Owen’s seemingly disturbing existence.

Adding fuel to the fires of the Fours family’s suspicions are a string of sexual attacks occurring within their neighborhood.

In fact, one of Georgia’s friends claims to have been a victim of such an attack after departing their flat one night.

When Saffrye Maddox goes missing on Valentine’s Day night, many believe the sexual predator has escalated from groping in alleys to potentially kidnapping, or worse.

Owen Pick ends up arrested for the crime. Through the multiple perspectives, the reader is brought on a journey through domestic life that will chill you to the bone.

I loved the way Jewell formatted this story. We start following Cate and Owen on the same timeline and Saffrye’s perspective begins farther back.

Her perspective, which I personally found to be the most interesting, progresses along at a nice steady pace, ultimately revealing what happened on the night she disappeared.

The lives of all of these characters are deeply intertwined. There’s deceptions and mistrust, scandal and heartbreak, twists and turns.

Owen’s perspective is also extremely interesting. His entire personality, treatment by the media, family and neighbors, offers up a lot to consider. I thought his point of view added depth to the story.

There were many times that I thought I knew who was behind Saffrye’s disappearance. I am happy to report, I was wrong every time.

One of the people I suspected, I’m honestly so glad it wasn’t them. That would have hurt my heart.

Overall, I had a great time reading this one. I felt like it had plenty of tension and drama throughout, while also offering up some great examinations of domestic interactions. Two thumbs up!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I certainly appreciate it!

TW: sexual assault, sexual molestation, self harm

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Review: Lobizona (Wolves of No World #1) by Romina Garber

Lobizona (Wolves of No World, #1)Lobizona by Romina Garber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Lobizona was a mixed bag for me, however, it has given me a lot to think about and for that, I am grateful.

Manuela Azul, our protagonist, is an undocumented immigrant, living in Miami with her mother and a surrogate grandmother.

She has learned to be hidden in plain sight because of that, but also for another reason, her odd eyes; eyes like no other.

When her grandmother has an accident that forces Manu to call for help, a series of events begins that will change Manu’s life forever.

Manu’s mother gets arrested by ICE, leaving Manu to fend for herself. On her own for the first time, she sets out to discover the truth about herself and her past.

She knows her father’s name and that he was from a crime family. A family that her mother was on the run from, or at least that is what she has been told, but is that the truth?

Manu ends up stumbling upon an entire magical world that she is a part of. The mystery of her eyes is finally revealed to her. She is the first known Lobizona, a female werewolf.

There are brujas and lobizons galore. A magical school. Magical sports that Manu happens to excel at and that is where the story started to lose me.

The beginning of this was strong for me. The opening scenes were quite intense.

Garber did an incredible job of portraying the stress and fear experienced by undocumented peoples within the United States.

It was visceral reading about the way Manu and her family had to adjust so much about their lives in order to remain safe; really well done.

I appreciate the topics covered within this story. They’re so important and need to be discussed. Things like gender, identity, culture, immigration and sexism.

Garber explored these elements in great detail within the story and those aspects were my favorite parts of the book.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel compelled or attached to the YA Fantasy storyline. It’s funny because it contains some of my favorite tropes, magical school setting and a competition element.

I think honestly, I did myself a disservice by reading this pretty much concurrently with the Akata Witch duology. I knew it too, I could tell by about 50-pages into this one.

They are so similar. We follow teenage female protagonists, who due to a specific physical abnormality stand apart from their peers, discover they are part of a magical world based on the lore and legend of their particular culture, begin training in a magic school setting, but are a little behind their magical peers since they discover their powers at an older age, both excel at a sport that girls aren’t traditionally expected to excel at; the list goes on an on.

For me personally, I love the Akata Witch books so much and in comparison, this one just didn’t shine as bright.

Perhaps that is unfair of me to say, however, I do rate books based upon my experience reading them and while this is a good story, the pacing issues caused it to fall short of the, really good, category for me.

With all of this being said, again, I appreciate the content and important topics that Garber tackles within these pages.

This is a necessary story and I’m extremely glad it exists and is out there in the world for people read. So many people love this story and have written glowing reviews. I agree it is a good book and feel like everyone should give it a shot!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and will, in fact, read the next book upon its release!

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Review: Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker

Over the Woodward WallOver the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seanan McGuire, writing as A. Deborah Baker, brings a book within a book to life with Over the Woodward Wall.

For those of you who haven’t read Middlegame, first…

I’m kidding, I just couldn’t resist using that gif.

Moving along, A. Deborah Baker is a character first introduced in Middlegame.

She is in fact the author of a book called, Over the Woodward Wall; snippets of which you get interspersed throughout Middlegame.

My recollection, although hazy, is that Baker was high-up in the alchemical world and was involved in some way with Roger and Dodger and other children like them.

In Over the Woodward Wall we follow two children, Avery and Zib, who live in the same town, on the same street, attend the same school, but have never met one another.

One morning on their respective walks to school, they both encounter a detour. Said detour leads them to a wall, the only option is to go up and over.

They do and find themselves in an entirely different world with no immediate evidence of a way to return home.

From there, the kids are forced to become acquainted rather quickly as they work together to survive the somewhat hostile fairy tale landscape known as the Up and Under.

Meeting an intriguing cast of side characters along the way, including talking owls and a girl made entirely of crows, Zib and Avery, come to trust in and rely on one another. A far jump from where they started.

This story is absolutely enchanting. There are so many fine details, I know I didn’t get everything I could out of this first read.

McGuire is a master at making every sentence count. Every word is placed for maximum impact. It’s truly an impressive display of skill.

Do I think people who haven’t read Middlegame can enjoy this?

Absolutely, 100%, yes!

You could compare this to so many things, yet it is like nothing else. I feel Alice in Wonderland. I feel The Wizard of Oz. I feel The Chronicles of Narnia. But at the same time, it is different.

If you have read and enjoyed any of McGuire’s, Wayward Children series, you should definitely pick this book up. I feel like it could easily be incorporated into that series.

I have so many thoughts on this, but as you can tell, they’re a little discombobulated.

As always, I appreciated McGuire’s subtle social commentary with regards to gender roles and the effects of unnecessary expectations placed on children, not just by parents, but by society as a whole.

Although, the ending was a little too abrupt for my tastes, and I would have enjoyed a bit more to the story, overall, I did really enjoy it.

I will end up rereading this at some point, maybe simultaneously with a reread of Middlegame. I am also hoping we see more of Zib and Avery’s adventures in the future.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I certainly appreciate the opportunity and will continue to pick up anything this author writes, under any name!

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Review: The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

The Wife Who Knew Too MuchThe Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Going into 2020, The Wife Who Knew Too Much was one of my most highly anticipated Mystery/Thrillers.

I have really enjoyed previous works from Michele Campbell and was definitely hoping this would offer up the same high-intensity drama.

Unfortunately for me, I was let down by this one. It hurts me to write that, but it’s true.

Please don’t take my disappointment as meaning this isn’t a good story, however.

It is a good book, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

That tense drama I usually enjoy was definitely, in my opinion, toeing the line of eye-roll territory.

We mainly follow protagonist, Tabitha Girard, a recent divorcee, who works as a waitress at a seen-better-days restaurant in rural New Hampshire.

She can’t believe her eyes when, one night, a blast from her past gets seated in her section. A very rich, very handsome guy who had broke her teenage heart at the end of a summer fling. She has never forgotten him.

Connor Ford’s life has changed a lot since the last time he saw Tabby. For example, he’s now married to an uber-wealthy older woman, Nina Leavitt.

He’s a trophy husband, imagine that?! Or is he?

Once they circle back into each other’s orbit, Connor and Tabby cannot get enough of one another.

Cue the sappy music. Right around here was where it started to lose me.

Not long after their rekindled relationship, Nina Leavitt ends up face-down in her swimming pool after a lavish party. The incident is tentatively determined to be a suicide.

Soon after that, Connor and Tabby are married.

The icing on the cake, Tabby is pregnant with Connor’s baby, the timeline of which makes it clear the two of them were together prior to Nina’s untimely death.

As you can imagine, he is desperate to keep that fact hidden. He stands to lose the entire fortune if suspicions of infidelity, and possibly even murder, fall upon him.

I won’t belabor the point, this just wasn’t the book for me. It’s fun for what it is.

Campbell’s writing style is fast and smooth, making this a good, light weekend read. It’s not offending in any way, the content just wasn’t to my tastes.

My main complaint was the relationship. I just wasn’t buying it. For one thing, cheating tropes, like the one here, really get under my skin.

I also found Tabby to be lame and annoying, while Connor was just a jerk. I didn’t even understand why they would want to be together, besides the fact that they were purportedly both ridiculously good looking.

With all this being said, I’m not mad I read this book. I will continue to pick up anything Michele Campbell writes.

She has an addicting style and I’m here for it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity.

As always, just because this book didn’t necessarily work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. There’s a Reader for every book!!

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