Rivalry (Slay Quartet #1) by Laurelin Paige

Book Description:

Published: June 4, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Edward Fasbender is a devil.

He’s my father’s business rival, a powerful, vicious man who takes what he wants and bows to no one. I only took the meeting because I was curious. I thought he was going to offer me a job.

But that’s not what he’s after at all. His proposal is much more intriguing, and I see an opportunity. An opportunity to turn the tables and bring down the devil.

I’ve gotten in trouble playing these games before. I know when the risk is too great, when the stakes are too high. I know how to be cold and strong-willed and destructive. I know how to withstand dominant men with arrogant charm and rugged features.

Yet I can’t resist taking on Edward.

And I can’t resist the pull he has on me.

Soon I’m not so sure which side of the battle I’m standing on–if I’m the warrior meant to slay,

Or the one who will be slain.

Slay is Book One in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author, Laurelin Paige, next dark and edgy series.

Review –

“SLAY: Rivalry is the first instalment in Laurelin Paige’s contemporary, adult dark, romance quartet focusing on billionaire media mogul Edward Fasbender, and Celia Werner. The SLAY Quartet is a spin-off from the author’s FIXED series, and falls in the timeline before Fixed Forever and a few years after Forever with You. SLAY: Rivalry can be read as a stand aloe without any difficulty. Any important information erom the previous installments is revealed where necessary

Told from first person point of view (Celia) SLAY: Rivalry follows Celia Werner as she is propositioned by her father’s enemy Edward Fasbender. As the heir to the Werner Media Company, Celia finds herself targeted by a man whose predilection towards domination and control may be beyond anything she could have imagined. As one who knows how to play the ‘game’ Celia accepts Edward’s offer of marriage, a marriage in name only that leaves our heroine struggling with a direction in life, but a life that is no longer under her control. Celia entered into the ‘marriage’ wholly aware that her life was about to change but wasn’t prepared for the dark and dangerous consequences of her actions.
Celia Werner is a manipulator who plays ‘games’ with people’s lives. Having previous met Celia in the author’s Fixed Series, we will learn to understand the mind of a woman who battles her own personal demons, demons that lead to her need for control.

SLAY: Rivalry is a story of power and control; of domination and submission; of hatred, anger, vengeance and betrayal; an intense and emotional tale. Celia believes she is in control but she lost that control the moment she agreed to become Edward’s wife. The premise is dark and raw; Edward is a dangerous, angry and frightening b*astard; Celia has come up against someone much stronger at playing the ‘game’. SLAY: Rivalry ends on a cliff hanger-you have been warned.

NOTE: Due to the nature of the story line content, there may be some triggers for more sensitive readers.” The Reading Cafe

Park Avenue Player by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland

Book Description:

Published: September 23, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

It started out like any normal day.

Then the fender bender happened.

The guy I collided with drove an expensive car and was drop-dead gorgeous. Too bad he was also a total jerk. We argued over whose fault it was and any other thing that came out of his condescending mouth.

Eventually, the police came and we went our separate ways. The insurance companies would have to figure things out. I had a job interview to get to anyway—one I was excited about.

Though that excitement changed to disappointment the moment the person interviewing me walked in. The guy from the accident.

Whoops!

Yeah, so I didn’t get the position.

The problem was, I really wanted it. No, I needed it. Anything to get me out of my current career and back into working with kids.

So, even though Hollis LaCroix was as intimidating as he was devastatingly handsome, I went back to see him and begged for a chance.

To my surprise, he gave me a shot taking care of his troubled niece.

At least my attraction to him wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I wasn’t about to jeopardize my job or the strong bond Hailey and I formed.

But resisting the magnetic pull between us wasn’t that simple. (Then there was our little underwear game—don’t ask.)

We continued to flirt without crossing the line—until it finally happened.

This is the part of the story where we fall in love and live happily ever after, right?

Well, life has a way of throwing some major curveballs.

Ours was one I didn’t see coming.

Review –

Elodie is confident, sexy, and sassy. She would love to get back into working in childcare as she’s pretty over her current job. Elodie is independent and may be ready to get back into dating after being burned in her last relationship.

Hollis is a workaholic. He’s sexy, driven, demanding, and goes after what he wants. He’s also struggling to adjust to taking care of his niece. Hailey is a handful and Hollis is determined to remain single. He doesn’t need or want more than his causal hook-ups.

Elodie and Hollis immediately face-off over who is at fault for a fender bender. They give as good as they get during their exchange and never expect to see each other again. Shortly thereafter, Elodie turns up to interview for a position as none other than Hollis’ nanny. She eventually gets the job, which is great since she and Hailey immediately hit it off.

They are like fire and ice and it shows in how they bicker and banter. Hollis does come to rely on Elodie for advice, guidance, and clues on how to handle his niece. They need to develop a functional working relationship for Hailey, but it’s complicated by their very mutual attraction. They tempt, tease, and taunt each other until finally acting on their chemistry. However, they are tested with surprises they couldn’t have seen coming.

Park Avenue Player has it all: banter, heat, humor, heart, heartbreak, and surprises. Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland hooked me from the beginning with witty dialogue, great characters, and ALL the feels. The authors once again delivered another book I didn’t want to put down. 

Keep a box of Kleenex handy, you’re going to need them.

 

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Description:

Published: January 8, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

An electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

Review –

Struggling Manhattan makeup artist Jessica Farris impulsively decides to chase some quick cash by lying her way into an NYU psychiatrist’s study—of ethics and morality, no less—in this slickly twisty psychological thriller from bestselling authors Hendricks and Pekkanen.

 Still shaky after a disturbing #MeToo encounter with a top theatrical producer that dashed her dream of doing stage makeup, the twenty-eight-year-old laps up the supportive attention from impossibly chic and self-confident Dr. Lydia Shields, whose second-person narrative alternates with Jessica’s first person. So when the therapist starts to enlist her in increasingly dicey real-life role-playing assignments, including trying to pick up specific targets, such as a stranger in a hotel bar, Jess pushes aside her doubts and goes along—until she hears some information too alarming to ignore about the fate of Dr. Shields’s previous protégé. The page-turner’s second half whizzes along at a furious pace, exploiting the dual perspectives for maximum tension. Though some of the gasp-worthy final twists require substantial character flip-flops, and an eye roll or two, it’s a fantastic, suspense filled mystery that I HIGHLY recommend .

 

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

Book Description:

Published: April 16, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence .

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover–movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora–and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted–not even those closest to Cora.

Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe–even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

Review –

After investigating a local urban legend, (which was assigned by a teacher )a twelve year old girl(in sixth grade) is brutally attacked in the author’s latest thriller.

Like nearly every almost teen, Cora struggles in middle school. She’s shy and sheltered and tries every day to navigate the stormy social seas of friendships and crushes, even within the small town of Pitch, Iowa.

When Violet and her family move to Pitch,  from New Mexico, she connects with Cora and helps her begin to come out of her shell, but this is complicated by the on-again, off-again presence of Queen of the Mean Girls, Jordyn. All three girls end up working together on a social studies project to explore the truth behind an urban legend; they choose to research the story of Joseph Wither, a boy supposedly responsible for the disappearances or deaths of several local high school students across the decades.

As they dig deeper into the mystery, Cora begins corresponding online with someone claiming to be Joseph, in a chatroom on a “not so safe” web site. She knows this could be dangerous, but when her classmates find out and mock her for believing in the legend, Cora decides to meet up with Joseph and prove them wrong.

The book opens with an assault and then slowly unravels the events leading up to that act of violence; also functioning as a mystery, it is not until the VERY end that the perpetrator is revealed. There are interesting layers of psychology at work here, but it can be exhausting inhabiting the world of these teenage girls, so concerned about appearances, so protective of their own secrets. 

There  are so many suspects and people of the town are visibly cautious of everyone they meet going about their daily routines. You almost have a notepad handy to keep track of all the twists and turns as the end approaches, and they will blow you away. THE ENDING!!! That’s all I’m going to say.

It is so timely, dealing with bff’s, jealousy, cliques, wanting to so badly to belong, bullying many more things that young girls of today come across on a daily basis.   

This is one book that you HAVE to read!.

We Shouldn’t by Vi Keeland

Book Description:

Published: January 21, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Bennett Fox walked into my life on one hell of a crappy Monday morning.

I was late for the first day at my new job—a job I’d now have to compete for even though I’d already worked eight years to earn it, because of an unexpected merger.

While I lugged my belongings up to my new office, a meter maid wrote me a parking summons.

She’d ticketed a long line of cars—except for the Audi parked in front of me, which happened to be the same make and model as mine.

Annoyed, I decided to regift my ticket to the car that had evaded a fine. Chances were, the owner would pay it and be none the wiser.

Except, I accidentally broke the windshield wiper while slipping the ticket onto the car’s window.

Seriously, my day couldn’t get any worse.

Things started to perk up when I ran into a gorgeous man in the elevator. We had one of those brief moments that only happened in movies.

You know the deal…your body lights up, fireworks go off, and the air around you crackles with electricity.

His heated stare left me flush when I stepped off the elevator.

Maybe things here wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Or so I thought.

Until I walked into my new boss’s office and met my competition.

The gorgeous man from the elevator was now my nemesis. His heated stare wasn’t because of any mutual attraction. It was because he’d seen me vandalize his car. And now he couldn’t wait to annihilate his rival.

There’s a fine line between love and hate—and we shouldn’t cross it.

We shouldn’t—but straddling that line could be so much fun..

Review –

Bennett Fox is right now topping my list of the most snarky, rude and insensitive men to make me totally adore them. I fell in love with him right from the start, and every biting comment, every bad-mannered thing he did, just made me love him more.

What I love about Vi Keeland is her ability to take a man that by all accounts is a jerk, and show how deceptive those appearances can be. Take Bennett for example: He doesn’t do long relationships, he’s snide, cocky, overbearing and appears to objectify women. He tormented Annalise from the very start, and yet, he was protective of her. He hated seeing her upset and for reasons he couldn’t even explain to himself, tried to shield her heart from getting broken. His internal arguments were adorable, and he fit perfectly into what the author described as the “Beast syndrome”. Gruff and grumbly, trying to scare away anyone who got close to him, but a big softie underneath the rough exterior.

As the counter to Bennett’s suave, styled Beast, Annelise was perfect. She was endearingly quirky, without being made comical. She had her own glitches, her own little annoying tics, which made her all the more human. I loved how she held her own with Bennett and matched him every step of the way.

This book was a pure joy to read. It was adorable and cute, sexy (the sex scenes were sooo hot, but tastefully done) and fun. It was the perfect mix of flirty with enough honesty to make it be taken seriously, and just one more reason this is one of my go-to authors.

Fantastic soft smut!

 

Redemption (Amos Decker #5) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published: April 16, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars; 4

Detective Amos Decker discovers that a mistake he made as a rookie detective may have led to deadly consequences in the latest Memory Man thriller in David Baldacci’s #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Amos Decker and his FBI partner Alex Jamison are visiting his hometown of Burlington, Ohio, when he’s approached by an unfamiliar man. But he instantly recognizes the man’s name: Meryl Hawkins. He’s the first person Decker ever arrested for murder back when he was a young detective. Though a dozen years in prison have left Hawkins unrecognizably aged and terminally ill, one thing hasn’t changed: He maintains he never committed the murders. Could it be possible that Decker made a mistake all those years ago? As he starts digging into the old case, Decker finds a startling connection to a new crime that he may be able to prevent, if only he can put the pieces together quickly enough…

Review –

By now, readers, of this powerful series, know his story. Years back, the Hulk-sized Amos Decker suffered a bone-crushing helmet-to-helmet hit during his first play in the NFL, rendering him unable to forget anything, ever. Not only is every memory seared permanently into his brain—a medical condition known as hyperthymesia—for good, but the way Decker’s brain sees and processes colors has also been altered (synesthesia). 

Abandoning the playing field for police work, Decker’s condition is both a gift and a curse. While he’s able to remember endless important details pertaining to various investigations, he can never forget the murders of his wife, daughter, and brother-in-law—the images of their dead bodies forever, painfully, preserved in his memory. Now, though, Decker is working cold cases with an elite FBI unit, a job that takes him all across the country in search of justice for those who deserve it most. This time, after narrowly escaping death in Pennsylvania following the events of last year’s The Fallen, Decker is back in his hometown of Burlington, Ohio. 

After swearing to never go back, Decker, accompanied by his partner, Alex Jamison,  makes his return to Burlington in order to visit the grave of his daughter, Molly, on what would have been her fourteenth birthday. While mourning his loss in the cemetery, a man approaches and introduces himself as Meryl Hawkins. The name does more than just ring a bell for Decker, causing the big guy’s jaw to drop ever so slightly. Years back, Decker put him away for murder—the first murder investigation of his career as a cop, in fact. 

Though sentenced to life in prison with no parole, it turns out that Hawkins was recently released after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. From day one, he’s professed his innocence, and he’s sticking to it in his final hour. Moreover, he wants Amos to help him prove it once and for all. As it turns out, Decker’s former partner, Mary Lancaster, thinks there might be something to his claim. After all, why would a man on his deathbed go to such lengths to have his name cleared if he was, in fact, really guilty? 

Still not sold on the idea that Hawkins might really be telling the truth, a skeptic Decker agrees to give the case another look—only to realize that the clear-cut investigation might be a little too clear-cut. Then comes another twist, when Meryl Hawkins is found dead with a bullet hole in his head. Figuring that the only reason to kill a dying man is to keep him quiet, Decker finally realizes he may have gotten it all wrong years ago and sets out to right his wrong, no matter the cost . . . even if it means digging up a dangerous old secret that someone’s willing to kill in order to keep it buried in the past. 

Even just a few years back, Amos Decker was arguably Baldacci’s third-best protagionist, behind Will Robie and John Puller. Now, after several really strong books, you could make the case that he’s the author’s top hero, a dramatic turnaround for a character whose origin book, The Memory Man, wasn’t all that well received, but I loved it. As always, Baldacci’s writing is smooth, and his commitment to fleshing out his cast of characters continues to pay off in this one. The story is solid, with a couple of strong twists, and while some readers might see the ending coming, Baldacci still provides a fun, entertaining journey getting there. 

Fantastic read!

 

 

The Washington Decree by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 4

The president has gone way too far. . . . These are practically dictatorial methods we’re talking about.

Sixteen years before Democratic Senator Bruce Jansen was elected president of the United States, a PR stunt brought together five very different people: fourteen-year-old Dorothy “Doggie” Rogers, small-town sheriff T. Perkins, single mother Rosalie Lee, well-known journalist John Bugatti, and the teenage son of one of Jansen’s employees, Wesley Barefoot. In spite of their differences, the five remain bonded by their shared experience and devotion to their candidate.

For Doggie, who worked the campaign trail with Wesley, Jansen’s election is a personal victory: a job in the White House, proof to her Republican father that she was right to support Jansen, and the rise of an intelligent, clear-headed leader with her same ideals. But the triumph is short-lived: Jansen’s pregnant wife is assassinated on election night, and the alleged mastermind behind the shooting is none other than Doggie’s own father.

When Jansen ascends to the White House, he is a changed man, determined to end gun violence by any means necessary. Rights are taken away as quickly as weapons. International travel becomes impossible. Checkpoints and roadblocks destroy infrastructure. The media is censored. Militias declare civil war on the government. The country is in chaos, and Jansen’s former friends each find themselves fighting a very different battle, for themselves, their rights, their country . . . and, in Doggie’s case, the life of her father, who just may be innocent.

Review –

“The creator of Denmark’s Department Q, that unforgettable squad of misfit detectives, jumps the pond in this ambitious, paranoid fantasy of how quickly things can go wrong in the hands of an American president who’s determined to take a strong stand against threats of violence.

Sixteen years after Virginia governor Bruce Jansen’s first wife, Caroll, was stabbed to death during a very public moment on a visit to China, his successful run for the presidency comes to the worst possible climax when his second wife, Mimi Todd Jansen, is gunned down, perhaps in his stead, on election night. Deeply shaken by the first death, Jansen is so traumatized by the second that observers wonder whether he’ll take the oath of office or resign in favor of Vice President-elect Michael K. Lerner. As it turns out, Jansen not only assumes, but transforms the office, using agencies and executive orders already in place to step up surveillance on his fellow citizens, unplug the internet, defang or shutter critical journalistic outlets, and ban first ammunition, then guns from private ownership. Members of paramilitary militias like Moonie Quale predictably go ballistic, but members of Jansen’s cabinet, many of them touched by personal violence against their loved ones, overwhelmingly support him. So far the scenario recalls that of It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis’ classic 1935 novel of homegrown American fascism. Adler-Olsen’s complication is his decision to focus not on a single American oppressed and powerfully radicalized by the new regime but by an oddly assorted group—journalist John Bugatti, presidential press secretary Wesley Barefoot, Sheriff T. Perkins, and staff attorney Dorothy “Doggie” Rogers, whose father is convicted of arranging Mimi Todd Jansen’s murder—who were all present on that fateful day in Beijing.

Despite a disturbing and all-too-plausible concept duly supported by an appendix listing real-life executive orders ripe for tyrannical misuse, this nightmare gradually turns into a standard-issue lots-of-good-guys-versus-even-more-bad-guys scenario populated by characters you’ll hardly miss when they’re killed, as so many of them are.” Kirkus Review 

I highly recommend this book, it’s scary to think this could happen in our not-so-distant future.

If I Only Knew (Second Time Around #4)by Corrine Michaels

Book Description:

Published: January 28, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

From New York Times bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new heartwarming and sexy standalone romance novel.

My life was perfect – until a shocking tragedy pulled the rug out from underneath me.

My children were left without a father. I was without a husband and a provider. Instead of wallowing in my grief, I buried myself in my work at Dovetail Enterprises. Landing the promotion as the CEO’s right hand was exactly what I needed.

Getting saddled with Milo Huxley as an assistant is exactly the opposite.

I can’t stand him.

He’s arrogant, irresponsible, and out for my job. As if that’s not bad enough, he has to be devastatingly sexy, and have a posh English accent that makes me squirm on top of it all. I’ve had enough unpredictability for one lifetime, thank you.

But soon enough, we’re fighting less and laughing more. He’s there for me when no one else is. And those good looks aren’t the only panty-dropping thing about him.

If I only knew what to do about it . . .

Review –

For the record, the heroine is late thirties  and the hero is early forties.  I usually don’t comment much on age but the burb could be interpreted as them (or at least him) being a lot younger and I actually really loved that they were both so mature and level headed.

This book was absolutely everything a strong Romance should be — it was addictive and heart-poundingly intense at times and a tearjerker (at least for me) but sexy and romantic at others, it had a sprinkling of sass, complex and relatable characters, a lot of emotional healing and depth that tugged my heart-strings, and a believable love story that made me genuinely happy. It had everything in the perfect balance all rounded out with beautiful writing, not to mention that the pacing was on point so the editing was well done. 

Although this is the fourth in the series I haven’t read the others and most likely will not, at least not in the near future. I have a boat-load of others to read and listen before reading a new series.

 

 

Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Book Description:

Published: June 25, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 3

Never make a promise you can’t afford to keep…

This is a story about Charlotte – a mother and a wife with the perfect job, the perfect life… at least, that’s how it looks from the outside.

But behind closed doors, the marriage is breaking, and Charlotte’s husband Tris doesn’t even know how much. He has no idea what Charlotte has planned for him, who she has found, why she has hired someone to pretend to be her. But he doesn’t have long to wait to find out…

Don’t Ever Tell will keep you gripped from the very first page andhave you guessing until the very last. From the bestselling author of The Daughter and White Lies comes an unputdownable psychological thriller unlike anything you’ve read before!

Review –

While premise for this book sounded like an intriguing idea, I just don’t think it hit the mark. It was not edge-of-your-seat. It was not exciting. And it was definitely not fast paced. (Not that a book has to be fast paced to be exciting). I’ve read many slow burn starts, but this one just took too long to explode…and even then, it didn’t. The reveals, when they came, were not mind blowing or shocking. In fact, despite never actually saying so, I made one of the links very early on which was only confirmed when a character’s full name was disclosed. Then it made sense. The other was quite clever, I admit.

However, the execution of reveals were a little convoluted I felt, and didn’t flow. The reader would be left wondering at the end of Mia’s chapter, only to pick up in Charlotte’s next in a completely different place and you’re left wondering “What…?” Even when it did pick up where the previous chapter left off, it felt as if it was just thrown in as a “by the way”. It made for confusing reading that didn’t flow as neatly as it could have.

The climax, which began in the Prologue, that took us through to the ultimate ending wasn’t really edge-of-your-seat stuff. And in the end, the reader is left with questions as to what actually happened on “that night”. There was no surprise, no shock, no real twist – just a lot of unanswered questions.

I truly don’t recommend the book unless you like to spending you reading time being confused and dazed from beginning to end.

 

Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of the One #2) by Nora Roberts

Book Description:

Published: December 4, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

hey look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.

Review –

In this sequel to the apocalyptic Year One, which released in 2017, the world settles into its new normal after The Doom, a sickness that killed off just about everyone and caused new powers to be realized. The girl who will be The One reaches her thirteenth birthday, makes the choice to train with her magical mentor, and steps into her many gifts, then must find allies to prepare for the war to come.

Survivors of The Doom have aligned themselves into different factions, with various priorities. Many have discovered magical abilities; many who don’t have them hunt those who do. Governments have failed, electricity is scarce, industrial production is practically nonexistent, so in order to survive, people must produce or scavenge food and goods.

Thirteen years later, New Hope is thriving, magicks and normals banding together for protection and community. Meanwhile, Fallon Swift, raised on a remote farm with her mother, stepfather, and three younger brothers, has learned the basics of survival but knows that when she turns thirteen, she’s expected to leave with the mysterious Mallick and train for two years, preparing to step into her role as The One, destined to save the world. When the time comes, she goes with him into a mystical forest populated with elves and faeries, where she studies spells, trains with swords, and spars with ghostly figures in order to build her strength and abilities.

On the way she finds allies of every variety, including three spirit animals who represent aspects of her powers and humanity that enhance her ability to lead. She also meets a shadowy figure in her dreams who becomes more real once she’s able to travel across spaces in a flash. She realizes he’s a son of New Hope and guesses that their destinies are tied closely together along with his twin sister’s. Change is coming, and it’s up to them to create a new, better world—or die trying.

The author continues her apocalyptic Chronicles of The One with a mesmerizing follow-up that is bold and breathtaking. Focusing mainly on Fallon’s rise, the plot offers details and vignettes that glimpse the horror and trauma of the past fifteen years and introduces the characters who presumably will frame the future.

This installment feels a bit like a rest between the trauma of The Doom and the war to come except for an explosive end battle; however, meeting the next generation and watching the heroine grow into her powers and leadership is enthralling. 

I thought the first book would be hard to top but Nora Roberts has done it and I now look forward to reading/listening to the final chapter of The One saga and have no doubt that it will too will hit the mark.