Operation Salazar by Dan Lawton — A Review

28246585Operation Salazar by Dan Lawton

RaeleighReads rating:love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236


From Goodreads:  “A home invasion uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to overthrow a nationwide criminal enterprise.”

The above is a really great summary of this book. Home invasion –> Bigger criminal network than we originally thought –> Our characters are in too deep to get out. So, all you folks who like to binge on every variation of Law & Order ever…you may dig this. Or, maybe if you’re a fan of Breaking Bad or Narcos. This story is told from the perspective of the “bad guys” after all.

Operation Salazar is pretty typical mystery/suspense fare. I’m not sure if I was given an uncorrected proof or not, but the thing was riddled with enough errors to set my teeth on edge, and I almost gave up more than once. I didn’t though. I powered through. Why? I don’t really know. I didn’t particularly care for it. The plot was stale and overdone and it failed to ever really pull me in. But, it may be a pretty decent read for someone who likes mystery and suspense. Maybe? Or, if you need to tick another book read off your to-read list, this one will do. It’s pretty short and easy to read.

I wish I had some positive things to say about this…The ending was pretty decent. It was realistic. I appreciated that.

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I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.



Sisters of Sorrow by Axel Blackwell — A Review

25348662Sisters of Sorrow by Axel Blackwell

RaeleighReads rating:love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236


Anna Dufresne lives in a factory that eats children. If the brutal machines don’t kill Anna, her guardians’ neglect and abuse probably will. The only thing this abandoned teen wants is out. But the factory is inside a stone fortress, on an island, where people are sent to be forgotten. It serves as a dumping ground — both for orphans who are not welcome at finer institutions, and for nuns who have disgraced the Church. The walls of Saint Frances du Chantal’s Orphan Asylum hum with secrets and buried scandal.

In the catacombs below the factory, something long dead, something almost forgotten, stirs. It offers Anna a key, and promises freedom, if she will seek it out when she escapes. She knows her plan will endanger the other children, but Anna cannot resist the call of freedom.

Her escape attempt triggers a chain reaction of chaos, shaking the orphanage to its foundation and laying bare its deadly secrets. As Anna flees into the night, she discovers that the evil nuns were the least of her worries. The swirling mist of the island hides terrors more dangerous than she could ever imagine.

Oh. My. God. Just, wow! I was surprised at how good this was! Very original. I did not want to put the darn thing down! Too bad I had to do things like sleep and go to work. Why are those things always getting in the way!?

Anyhoo, Anna. Poor Anna. What a truly awful hand she was dealt in life. The first bit of the book set up my expectations for a kind of Annie-like story where a beaten-down orphan may eventually overcome her life of misery and find some happiness. But. That’s not exactly what happened.

I do NOT want to give away any kind of spoilers for this because in my opinion, what makes this book work so well is that you are constantly wondering what is going to happen next. There is some serious edge-of-your-seat writing going on here.

It’s suspenseful, atmospheric, heartbreaking, scary, and wonderful. I highly recommend it.

If you like dark, moody, supernatural settings, this one is definitely for you! I now have to get my hands on anything else Axel Blackwell has written. Happy reading, loves!

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


The Architect’s Apprentice by Colin Garrow — A Review

25997243The Architect’s Apprentice by Colin Garrow

RaeleighReads rating:love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

“A big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff.” Thus is time, according to The Doctor. And, perhaps, according to Colin Garrow. 🙂

The Architect’s Apprentice is a wonderfully twisty little novel about time travel and family. But deeper than that, it’s about the consequences of one’s actions, and with time travel, actions can have serious consequences. Take a peek at the synopsis:

Forced to work for the dubious Savidge, eleven-year-old Tom Fennel is desperate to find his father. Distrustful of what he’s heard, he’s sure Savidge is involved. Meanwhile, books are vanishing from architect Martin Deacon’s library – books from the future. Enticed into the mysterious world of updrafts and secrets, Tom learns that finding his father is the least of his worries.

I loved the mystery in this novel and the twists that just kept on coming. Novels about time travel can be tricky, but this one is very well thought out and executed. I’m so pleased that it is part of a series because when I finished it, I literally yelled, “Noooo!” It was over far too soon for my liking.

Now, while the logistics of this novel were managed well, what I felt was lacking was a bit more description — of the world and of the time travel itself.

The setting, for the most part, is in London in 1630. Such a cool time period for this novel. I wish there had been even more description of the setting. I’m a sucker for those kinds of details.  Plus, not many people write adventure/time-travel novels set in this time period. It’s usually turn-of-the-century or present-day. It was really nice to see something a little different here, but I wish there had been even more.

I also wanted so badly to know how time traveling, or perhaps more accurately time slipping, worked. Spoilers! So, I won’t go on, but maybe those of you who have read it will understand my meaning. And for those of you who haven’t, aren’t you intrigued now!?

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If you like action/adventure novels that are a little more plodding in the beginning but really amp up toward the end, if you like time travel, if you’re interested in the 17th century, read this! Now, where is book two…

Happy reading loves!


April Update

I’m a bit behind on my review schedule so I thought I would just take a little pause here to provide an overview of what I’m reading right now and what is coming up.

death unmaskedCurrently reading:

Death Unmasked by Rick Sulik. I should have this one finished this week, and my review will be up next Thursday. So far…it’s a bit odd. There is the police detective who believes he has been reincarnated, and also the woman he loved and lost so long ago, possibly also reincarnated, mixed together with a rash of violent acts against women. :/ Not really sure what I think of it yet.

Coming up next:

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki.

SuperMutant Magic Academy, which has been serialized online for the past four years, paints a teenaged world filled with ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.

Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy. Whether the magic is mundane or miraculous, Tamaki’s jokes are precise and devastating.

Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Featuring a new Introduction by Sagan’s collaborator, Ann Druyan, full color illustrations, and a new Foreword by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.

Until Sunday (when I’ll be back with another Sunday Quotable)!

Clarence Olgibee by Alan S. Kessler — A Review

29464607Clarence Olgibee by Alan S. Kessler

RaeleighReads rating: Hot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_EmojiHot_Coffee_Emoji

Synopsis: In 1974, 17-year-old Jimmy Tate Sullivan watched his two friends bludgeon to death a black man. Sentenced to life for abetting the crime, Sullivan is initiated into a white- supremacist church by a fellow convict, once the best friend of an African-American teenager, Clarence Olgibee.

Shifting back to 1954, this family saga is about race, religion, and the powerful white men in a sleepy Midwestern town who plan a new world order Olgibee tries to escape.

Small choices have fateful consequences— in this life and the next. Olgibee’s choices lead him back to the two women he loved and an ultimate decision.

The terms like and dislike do not seem to apply here.

This is a very well-written indie book, though the writing style did take some getting used to. Mr. Kessler most certainly has a voice all his own.

For most of this book I could not connect with the main character, Clarence. His outlook on life, and his actions, were foreign and appalling to me. I think, perhaps, that was intentional. Kessler spares no character in this novel. The whole thing is overridden by a cloud of pessimism and disgust at the human condition, and most of all, a disgust with the racism that still pervades this country.

He shows us the worst of humanity — lying, cheating, degrading, using. No character was redeemable. They were all complicit in their own state of misery. Honestly, it’s left me feeling a bit hollow. I began this book with a pretty low opinion of most of human-kind, but after this book, I’m feeling a little hopeless. I need some puppies or unicorns.

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There, that’s a little better.

Please don’t mistake me. I do not mean to make light of this book. In its pages, one can find very real parallels to today’s events even though its setting is back in 1954 and 1974. It is as though nothing has changed. It gives me an eerie, spider-crawling-up-my-spine feeling. White supremacist groups, racism, eugenics…those are just a few topics Mr. Kessler’s pen stabs into the page.

It really was quite a read! It has made me ashamed of humanity, aware of my own privelege in that I rarely, if ever, have to think about these things, and pumped up to do something that will change our world (starting with myself) for the better. This is a read I’m sure I will not soon forget.

The cover of my review copy looks like this:

clarence olgibee

I happen to prefer my cover to the one with the smudgy red background. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

N.B. I believe this book may have undergone some edits since I received my review copy, so please keep that in mind, and apologies for not getting this review out sooner.