Eden Chip – Scott Cramer

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Author: Scott Cramer
Pages: 294

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Thanks to nanochips implanted in human brains, the world is at peace in 2055. But not everyone likes having their emotions controlled, or their religion suppressed.

Eighteen-year-old Raissa embarks upon a perilous mission to free the world, just days before the release of nanochip Version 7, which will broadcast every citizen’s thoughts to the Collective.

The countdown has started, and Raissa must make choices that jeopardize the lives of billions, including the only boy she has ever loved.

I must be running out of luck with the giveaways, bercause I haven’t won one in months. A digital copy of Eden Chip is the last one. It also came with a couple of signed bookmarks, so I must thank the author for them! Science-Fiction is a genre I enjoy, but I barely touch due to lack of time (and a crazy long TBR list!!), so I was excited to put my hands in this world controlled by chips!!

The author takes us to the near future (2055 is just around the corner). A scientist called Doctor Pretov has built a nanochip using a new programming language named M-Code, that only him and Ashminov (his rival and true inventor of the code) understand. Those chips are implanted in every single human being and it has been used to erradicate violence, intolerance and many other bad things. It has also been used to ban religious beliefs and even all kind of unproductive emotions. What it started as a way to improve humankind, it has become a control instrument for a madman. Obviously there is a resistance and they have a plan (a real one, not like the Cylon’s plan…).

The setting is pretty amazing. I love all the chip history and the details about every version. I could have taken a lot more, but the author prefers to keep a light pace in order no to bore the readers. That is possibly the main strength of the book. In every page there is something happening, no matter if it’s a revelation, a new important data about the future or a fight scene. Even though there is no time to soak in the information we are given before getting something else, it is threaded in a way that doesn’t let the reader get lost. All those words could have been summarized with: What a ride!!

Even though I congratulate on the good pace of the plot, it hits a bump in the last quarter. In my opinion, the end is stretched unnecessarily to increase the drama… but the only thing that is really increased is my boredom. During the last chapters I lost complete interest in the story and I just wanted to get over it. A condensed version of that part would have done much more credit to the rest of the book. It is not a bad ending per se… just a bit too long.

To unravel the story, we follow three characters: Raissa, Caleb and Ashminov. Raissa is the rebel who wants to get rid of Petrov and the chip. Ashminov is the developer of the chip that would liberate humankind. And poor Caleb is just a guy who loves his job and chip, but gets dragged into the plot to take it down. The characters are the perfect fit por the story, but i won’t recall any of them with any kind of special fondness. They are just pawns for the story. The most interesting part, character-wise, was the role of Caleb’s sister. I think that was the only moment in the book when I felt more engaged to the characters than to the story.

During the whole book I was wondering if I would be pro-chip or not. I obviously wouldn’t want something as drastic as the chips found in this book, but the first iterations of the hardware and software to avoid violence and crappy human behaviour in general sound pretty sweet. We seem incapable of getting there by our own means, so maybe a technological hack would do us a solid. Too bad something like that tends to be easily polluted by people with no real interest in human improvement (like our dear Doctor Petrov from the book)…

Strong story, really nice pace and good enough characters are a win combination. There are some bumps along the way, but in general is worthy of the time invested. I will have to check other books by this author to see if there is something that catches my eye!

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2019 – Book Gallery

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I Wanna Text You Up – Teagan Hunter

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Author: Teagan Hunter
Series: Text #2

Pages: 300

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ROOMMATE WANTED
Chicks or dudes welcome!

Looking for a new roomie? I have a place for you! Like your music loud? I own headphones. Enjoy having late-night guests over? Again, headphones. Want someone to help pay the bills? Do the dishes? Take out the trash? You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours (metaphorically, of course).

Check us out, getting along already.

Must be able to pay first and last month’s rent up front.
Must be okay with Breakfast & Beats.
No dogs.
No trying to sleep with me.
Two bedrooms. One bathroom.
$350/month plus electricity.

If interested, email ineedarobin@gmail.com.
P.S. Wiener pics sent directly to my grandmother. Don’t do that crap to her.

First book of the year!! Actually, my intention was for this one to be last of the past year, but life sometimes doesn’t want to follow my plans. I’m not going to lie. This is an awesome book to start a new year. Teagan Hunter doesn’t disappoint, even though I haven’t loved it as much as the first book of this saga.

This time the story focuses on Delia’s roomante, Zoe. Due to the fact that her best friend is moving out to live with Zach (who wouldn’t!!!), she is in need of a new roommate. So she has the happy idea to create a notice to pin it in a common board. You know, the one that you can touch… not the virtual copy that is used nowadays. And who is behind the perfect answer for the notice? No other than Delia’s ex-boyfriend: Caleb. They start flirting right away, but the relationship has two obstacles: Zoe’s fear of angering her best friend and Caleb’s mysterious past.

I have read this whole book with a huge smile from ear to ear. I love the easiness among the characters and all the witty banter. It makes them so much more lovable and approachable. Not to mention all the good laughs I have had following these crazy characters. I guess it lacks more of the surreal sense of humor of Zach and Delia (although there is good dosis of it) and it lays more heavily in the sexual innuendos. Luckily, Teagan is master at those and that kind of exchanges doesn’t make me cringe.

The author’s style makes me so comfortable reading the book. I find myself feeling extra-good and happy when I enter in the Text universe. That atmosphere helps a lot to fell in love with the characters. Especially Caleb. He is so dreamy. Aside from the obvious (Zoe killed me everytime she commented on the abdominal muscles… cruel woman!!), the guy can cook. And I mean really cook. He is also very attentive most of the time, responsible, a good listener and SO charming. I was on my toes dreading the other shoe dropping. That moment where the author would reveal some dark secret about the perfect guy that would break Zoe’s heart (I was more concerned about mine, though)… But in the end, his secret wasn’t that bad.

And maybe it’s in that part were the book feels a bit short. I missed more drama or a better developed one. Part of the issue is trying to make us believe that Delia would be pissed if Zoe dates Caleb. I mean, we have already met that girl. Zoe could have an orgy with all her best friend’s former lovers and Delia wouldn’t bat an eye. In my opinion, those doubts of Zoe should have been resolved sooner. The mysterious past of Caleb is also not such a big deal. I was expecting something that would put the relationship in danger and that would blemish Caleb’s perfect record (and give my heart a rest!!), but in the end his past is not really the issue.

There are still two more books on the Text saga. Two more books to enjoy these crazy and fun characters. I’m going to miss them once it is over. I will have to try other books by Teagan Hunter to see if I will find the same magic. By the way, I’m glad that these books have finally been grouped in a saga of stand-alone books. It helps a lot to read them in order.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Ante Up – Charlie Cochet

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Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: Four Kings Security #2.5

Pages: 41

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Look but don’t touch. That’s the rule concerning dancers at Sapphire Sands, the prestigious members-only nightclub where Seth works at as a bartender. Seth has never had a problem following the rules until the day one of the dancers falls into his lap. Literally.

Kit loves his job dancing at Sapphire Sands. Every day his job brings him closer to his dream of opening his own dance studio, so risking it all on the hot bartender is not an option. Or is it?

My last book of the year 2018. I’ve been busy this last days, so the review comes a bit later than planned, but… here I am!! Trying to write something about a short story that won’t leave a mark in my life.

In this story we follow Seth, a bartender in the Sapphire Sands club, and Kit, one of the dancers (the kind of dancer who uses few pieces of clothing…). There is a really strict rule about working not dating dancers, so they found themselves in a tight situation with the boss…

The story is plain. It seemed the main characters were going to have a bigger problem for breaking the golden rule about not dating. Frank is even presented as kind of an ogre that would eat them alive if they show any kind of personal relationship. But in the end… it wasn’t that bad. The boss even comes up with a solution without making a big fuss of the situation, so in the end the story feels a bit hollow.

There is also not enough time to make me a fan of any of the characters. I guess I prefer Seth. He looks like a good guy and, well, I’m not going to deny that the descriptions of his body also helps to put him on top of the list… It’s such a short story that I won’t apologize for being a bit shallow. I’ll alawys save whatever I can of a book to grant it higher marks.

This story is included in the Four Kings Security saga. Do not expect any mention of the previous books or any appearance of the guys (no Ace, no fun :_( ). The only point in common is the club itself that was mentioned in the first book. Yes, that weird club for elite gay men. Waaay to peculiar for my taste, if you ask me.

I wanted to cramp another book before the end of the year, but the crazy Christmas schedule at home has kept me from fulfilling that goal. But that also means that I’m starting the year with a book by the fabulous Teagan Hunter, so… :).

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2018 – Book Gallery

Before They Are Hanged – Joe Abercrombie

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Author: Joe Abercrombie
Series: The First Law #2

Pages: 584

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Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged.

The year is almost over and I can already say that the first two books of the First Law Trilogy are the best ones I have read in 2018. I’ve been always too scared of the Epic Fantasy genre, but in reality it has given me a lot of happy moments during my whole life (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones…). Joe has revived my interest for a kind of book I thought it wasn’t for me.

This second book is split into three different threads of action: the war in the North with West and Threetree’s gang, Glokta defending Dagoska from the Gurkish Empire and the quest of Bayaz and company. All of them are challeneged at every step and they will have to do their best in very tight situations.

Even though the three stories are not connected (at least not yet), that doesn’t make the book convoluted or hard to follow. Joe’s style helps the reader to enjoy the story and the characters without losing any step through the differente chapters of the book. Not time to breathe, though. The pace is so much faster than the one in the first book. All the presentations were done, so the author had plenty of time to feed us lots of action and epic battles. All of that without forgetting some character development for his amazing cast.

In the North we follow West and his annoying task of babysitting Prince Ladisla through the war agianst Bethod and his forces. The Prince is in command of the worst soldiers, because his duty was supposed to keep him far from the war. But between the cunning of the enemy and the glory starved idiots that follow the Prince, eveyrthing goes the south way. West is forced to drag the Prince all over the North in order to flee the enemy. At least they had the help of Threetree and his gang. During this ordeal, I didn’t want to sympathize with West after what he did to his sister; but he claims to be sorry over and over again and I guess that I believe him… That’s not enough to forigive him, but it’s a first step. West should check his anger issues or he is going to be very alone the rest of his life… Which could not be very long, because the situation in the North doesn’t look promising with Bethod and Flatheads working together… Kudos to the author for being able to add some good sesne of humor in the middle of a war!!

Glokta had it easier, but this guy is always uncovering hidden plots and corruption at every step he takes. His luck is holding, but sooner or later… His first task was uncovering who was the traitor among the Union in Dagoska. The one that tried to sell the city to the Gurkish Empire. I don’t think becoming a traitor was really necessary. With the war in the North, most of the Union forces were comitted there, so taking the city was a done deal without any hjelp from the inside. But give Glokta a mission and he will stick to it until the end!! He discovers the traitors in the city and tries his damndest to save the city. But it was hopeless, so he is ordered to abandon it before is too late. So far he seems almost lucky, but that is about to end. I foresee a third book with a lot of trouble for Glokta: the mystery of the murder of the other son of the King, the favours he owes to the bank, his soft spot for Eider will bite him in the ass sooner or later… I wonder if he will be still alive to meet Jezal again and see what his adventure has done for the cocky captain. Will his jelousy grow bigger or smaller?

And finally, the main quest: going to the end of the world to retrieve the Seed that will help Bayaz to fight Khalul. For that pupose, he recruited Logen, Ferro, Quai, Jezal and Longfoot. Everyone has their own pupose: Ferro can hold the Seed and fight, Logen can talk to spirits (the keepers of the Seed) and fight, Quai is there to take care of Bayaz, Longfoot is the navigator and Jezal… I still don’t know why the First Magi needed the Captain. It’s by far my favourite character, but his purpose in unclear. He can’t barely fight, complaints about everything and he is more of a burden than a help. Am I missing something? All in all, I’m SO glad he is in the quest. I knew this journey would change Jezal. Make him more humble and even more heroic. He is even badly wounded, which has left an ugly scar in his fomrley handsome face. All of that has made him a different person. A much better person. I loved him before, but now… I am a passionate defender of Jezal. I’m a groupie!!

Another character from that group that has gotten a lot of points on my particular ranking is Logen. I still don’t know what his Bloody-Nine persona is, but his “normal” self is amazing. Such a good guy. He may be big and dangerous looking, but his emotional intelligence is boundless. The Northman has an uncanny ability to offer everyone what they need at every moment. Friends like that are rara avis, so I hope the rest of the group appreciates what they have found. The one that has fallen several positions in the before mentioned ranking is Bayaz himself. He is on edge almost the whole journey, being very unfriendly to the rest of the company. And after that ending, I guess his sense of humor is not going to improve any time soon…

I’m going to be strong and not dive into the third book so soon. I will let this one rest and enjoy other genres for a while. The truth is I don’t want it to finish. I’m enjoying this saga so much!!

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2018 – Book Gallery

King Consort – J.R. Gray

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Author: J.R. Gray
Pages: 279

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Avoiding sleeping with women was my specialty, an art form even. As the future King of England I couldn’t be caught sleeping with men. My whole life played out in front of the paparazzi, and they didn’t miss a thing.

I had a carefully crafted womanizing persona to maintain. My life came with rules, all of which I broke when I couldn’t resist a one night stand with the enemy: A beautiful paparazzo with a heart of gold. He may be the only person who doesn’t want me for my title, and he can never be anything more than my secret.

But secrets have a way of coming out and not only will they scare him away, but they’ll lose me the crown.

I was away from Romance books (and books in general) for several years and when I came back (2018) romance novels with Royals had become a huge deal. One of the current trends for a genre liable to have new ones every single year. Back then stepbrothers were all the rage!! This is my first taste of this flavour of the hour and I must say it wasn’t tasty enough…

In this book we meet Prince Louis of Britain, a womanizer who is going to inherit the Crown sooner or later. His misadventures with multiple women are well recorded in the media, but the truth is he is not the kind of guy who goes through female after female to quench his thirst. Actually, he doesn’t like women at all, but his hmosexuality must be a well kept secret due to the out of date rules of the monarchy. On the other hand; we have Xavier, a paparazzi who is not comfortable at all in his own skin. The attraction among them is very strong, but the relationship seems doomed before starting. Will they be able to make it work?

I’m going to focus first on the good part: the characters. Well, not all of them, but most. Louis has been a nice surprised. He seemed pompous with a stick through his… uuuhm… noble back parts? You get my meaning ;). But in reallity he is a really good guy who wants to make right to everyone surrounded him, especially his sister. The struggle of the Prince is the best part of the book and it makes the reader fall in love with the character quite easily. The guy has to deal with his secret, his troublemaker of a sister and the weight of the Crown. It’s a wonder he is able to keep a good humor most of the time.

With such a co-star, Xavier falls in the short side. It’s not a bad character, per se; but his constant insecurity bores me a little too much. I guess it can’t be easy to handle with the special life of Louis, but Xavier has too many demons that make him blind to what he has in front of him. It’s not all bad, though. His sense of honor and morals is remarkable in a profession that usually works in simple terms of prey and hunter. So, kudos for him!!

Too bad the rather good character are paired with a boring story that goes in circles over and over again and doesn’t even end. Yes, we knew since the beginning the difficult situation for their relationship. That’s chaprter 1. By charpetr 10 I expected the plot to have gone forward, but it was totally stuck. My hope gets renew when they travel to London, but it’s totally crushed with the most unemotional and sloppy ending I have read in a long time. The way everything ends makes me believe that the realtionship has no real future, just wishful thinking…

I can’t finish the review without mentioning the real star of the book and the main reason this book has got one more point in its mark than what it deserves: Doug. The bodyguards steals all the scenes when he has an appearance. His brotherly relationship with Louis and his peculiar way of dealing with Xavier bring always a simle to my face.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Rebellion – Kass Morgan

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Author: Kass Morgan
Series: The 100 #4
Pages: 352

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Centuries after nuclear war destroyed our planet, humanity struggles to rebuild. It’s been a month since the dropships landed and the Colonists joined the Hundred on the ground. The teens, once branded juvenile delinquents, are now leaders among their people.

The Colonists and the Earthborns are celebrating their first holiday together when, to everyone’s horror, they’re attacked by a group of strangers whose unusual battle cries fill the air. The newcomers kill scores of people, seize prisoners, and pillage crucial supplies. When hotheaded Bellamy and his analytical girlfriend Clarke discover that Wells, Octavia and Glass have been captured, they vow to get them back at all costs. But as they go after their new enemies, Bellamy and Clarke find themselves increasingly at odds, unable to agree on a plan to save their friends.

Meanwhile, Wells, Octavia, and Glass are being slowly brainwashed by their captors, religious fanatics with one goal: to grow their ranks and “heal” the war-ravaged planet… by eliminating everyone else on it.

But centuries of radiation exposure have taken their toll, forcing the cult to take drastic steps to survive. And unless the rescue party arrives soon, the teen captives will face a fate more terrifying than anything they could imagine. In this thrilling fourth installment, the hundred fight to protect the people they love on the dangerous planet they always dreamed of calling home.

As far as I know, this fourth book is the last one of The 100 saga. If the author is going to write more books based on that universe, she hasn’t breathed a word about it. Even though I have liked the saga in general, I’m not really going to miss it. At least, this one is much better than the previous one!!

In this book, half of the main characters (Wells and Glass ) are kidnapped by a group of people that called themselves “The Protectors”. They do not protect anything. It’s just a bunch of people who are a bit crazy and they think they are doing Earth’s work by raiding other settlements. While Glass and Wells do whatever they can to survive, Clarke and Bellamy have to lead the rescue party…

After the crazy slow third book with many letters but zero content, the last book is a change of pace. In every page there is something happening. Lots of action and plotting that keep the characters on their toes the whole story. Once again, there are no more annoying flashbacks. And this time the romance is also left behind to focus on the Protectors and their craziness, which has proven the right step for the saga. I think this is the first book of The 100 where I couldn’t stop reading.

If you are a fan of the TV show, you are going to be disappointed with the role of Clarke and Bellamy. They have their moments, of course, but the plot has been stolen by Wells and Glass and their way more interesting situation. The most famous couple of the saga is just there to add some romantic tension, that is pretty well handle for a young adult novel (I’m looking at you, Divergent saga!!). Some other characters get a bigger focus, such as Octavia and the newbie Paul. That last one, although easy to hate, it’s also a nice addition to the mix. I would love to know more about him!!

As for the end itself… it doesn’t feel like the end of a saga. It was a bit… meh. Just the end of a book. Putting some honey in our lips to make the wait for the next one easier… but there is not other one!! I guess I needed more closure. There are so many questions unresolved. So many groups roaming the surface that could change the lives of our heroes forever. It would be so easy to keep going, that I wouldn’t be a bit suprised if the author announces a new book sooner or later.

There is nothing elese to say. A well paced book that redeems Kass as a storyteller after an easy to forget Homecomig. She is currently wirting another saga called Light Years. I will have to take a look at it to see if it catches my eye; so I can fill my needs for Sci-Fi Young Adult books!!

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2018 – Book Gallery

 

Darkest Night – Megan Erickson

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Author: Megan Erickson
Series: Wired & Dangerous #2
Pages: 320

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Bodyguard Jock Bosh has one job: keep Fiona Madden safe. Safe from the men who’ve been hunting her. Safe from the bastard responsible for ruining her life. And with the attraction sizzling white-hot between them, that means keeping Fiona safe from him too.

Fiona has spent the past decade on the run. Her survival is the single greatest weapon she’s had against the men out to destroy her. Until Jock. Now, with him by her side, she finally has a chance to bring them down. But when her enemies make their next move and Jock puts himself in the line of fire, Fiona realizes that there’s more at stake than just her life – she’s also risking her heart.

When I finished Zero Hour I was disappointed with the romance part, but very happy with the suspense side of the story. With this second book, the feeling is the opposite. Nice romance, but the rest… kind of meh, actually.

In the last book, Jock volunteered to keep an eye on Fiona due to the threads of Maximus. Fiona was the friend of Wren who was kidnapped 10 years ago to be used as a sex toy by rich men. A throwback party by those same guys put Fiona again in danger, so Jock has to take a more hands on approach for her protection. Both of them are not precisely good at getting close to another person, so their romance is a bit tricky. Add that to inminent threats of kidnap and murder and the plot of the book is presented.

Before diving in the story and characters, I need to point out that these so-called hackers don’t hack shit. Sometimes they look more like hitmen or conmen than hackers. Jock would be the perfect example of the former. I know about his hacking skills thanks to the previous book, because in this one… he is a bodyguard most of the book and a hitman the rest. He is rarely seen in front of a computer… It’s not something bad per se, but I started reading these books due to the hope of reading Romantic Suspense with characters far from the military or law-enforcement lifestyle. I guess I will have to keep looking for something like that. Maybe Jock’s hacking skills are what explain his weird superpower of knowing the genre of the book Fiona was reading in the park. I mean, how could he know if he was spying on her from a fifth floor without using equipment?? (Yes, that is bugging me).

At first the suspense part looked promising. Fiona was again in danger, Jock had to protect her and Maximus’ shadow was getting bigger and bigger. The problem is that it takes too long to develop. And when it does… well… it’s a bit boring and uneventful. In general terms I liked it, but there were enough meat for something with a bigger punch. No surprises, except at the end fo the book. Too late if you ask me. Now a war between the crew and Maximus has started, so I expect more action in the future books.

Luckily, the romance is much better than expected. It’s no secret that I didn’t like at all the romance between Roarke and Wren, so I was a bit reluctant at first. But Jock was there to save the day, the girl and my faith in love. Under his reinforced armor of pure steel (a very, very good-looking, mouth-watering armor…) lays a turmoil of feelings that make the reader sympathize with him pretty easy. Yes, he sometimes behaves like an ox with his monosyllabyc language and his larger than life frame, but deep down you know he is a sensitive guy who is in sore need of a good cuddling. Fiona is the perfect match, because she doesn’t take any of his usual bullshit. Good characters for a nice slow-paced romance that leaves us with a nice aftertaste.

It doesn’t hurt that Jock is a Viking god, detail that the author reminds the reader more often that maybe necessary; but, oh boy, no complaints there. My naughty imaginatiuon was already overworking after taking a long look at the cover. I’m so glad there are not weird photo manipulations to add any kind of tattoo in “Jock’s” skin… The ones in the cover of Zero Hour were a bit… lame.

Next one is a shorter book. If I’m not mistaken, it’s going to be Erick’s book. There is a glimpse of it at the end of this one, so I guess Tarr is going to be the love interest. It could be very fun if handle right, so… fingers crossed!!

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2018 – Book Gallery