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Sessrúmnir (Antipodes Series Book 5) by T.S. Simons – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Sessrumnir (Antipodes #5)Sessrumnir by T.S. Simons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book begins with Freya and Cam being at odds with each other. About the time that Freya decides to move on, tragedy strikes Freya’s children in their community and two others. Their friends take matters into their own hands and help a reconciliation happen because they need both of them to figure out how to protect what is theirs. As the team gathers up Freya’s scattered children, they meet up with unexpected friends, revisit the past, and find out how far they will go to protect each other.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this series. I am sad to see it end, but I loved how everything was tied up in the end! Freya, Cam, Sorcha, and Illy are wonderful examples of friend/family relationships. They aren’t easy, they are messy, but in the end, they have each other’s backs. It was interesting to read about Freya- a normally strong character- show some cracks and have PTSD and anxiety issues that she had to learn how to cope with during their travels. T.S. Simons has done a phenomenal job with this series!

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Azreya, Aztec Priestess: An Illustrated Mythology Legend by Tricia Copeland, Illustrated by Matt Maes – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Azreya, Aztec PriestessAzreya, Aztec Priestess by Tricia Copeland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Azreya is a young girl born with a mark on her hand and a demon inside her. Her parents are convinced that she needs to be turned over to their priest, Nukpana, by age of three to protect them from her. They turn her over and expect to see her again, however, that is not what happens. Once they turn her over, Nukpana takes over her training and her life. As she grows, she begins to realize that he is just using her to increase his standing in the community. When Nukpana decides to only share part of Azreya’s vision concerning the Spanish and the Aztecs, she realizes that she must take matters into her own hands and runs away. But at the young age of 13, how will she convince others to take her seriously? Who can she trust? Will she be able to bring the Aztecs together in order to stand against the Spanish in time?

First of all, I really like this author! The characters are well written, and the story was like a movie playing in my head. I enjoyed learning about the Aztec culture and gods while reading about a girl that just wants to be loved. She’s thrown into a life she didn’t choose and is doing her best to keep the balance between an angry beast inside of her and the real-world struggles that surround her. She does find that balance and it was fascinating to read how she does.

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Kara, Shieldmaiden of Eire (Forerunner Series Book 4) by Jay Veloso Batista – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Kara Shieldmaiden of Eire (Forerunner book 4)Kara Shieldmaiden of Eire by Jay Veloso Batista
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The saga of the Agneson family continues!! Cub, Kara, Sorven, Thorfinn, and Uncle Karl are all scattered far from each other and facing their own battles to survive. Cub finds himself becoming known as a strategist. Kara finds herself as a hired sword and her first love. Sorven finds out that his cousin doesn’t make the best decisions and that he’d be better off alone. Thorfinn finds himself trying to protect his sister and ends up paying the price of a revenge plot. Karl find himself with an unexpected bride, and an impending sea battle. The magic, battles and heartbreak abound in this story. The kids are quickly growing up and changing while Uncle Karl does his best to survive. Can they all survive their personal battles? Will they ever come back together as a family?

I enjoy this author’s work! Each book I find myself immediately pulled into the story and I don’t want to put them down until the end! The characters are all well written. Their struggles and how they work through them feel very real -as much as fantasy can. There are a few unexpected twists at the end that had me heartbroken for one sibling and worried for another. I am looking forward to the next installment so I can find out what happens next!

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The Crown of Stones: Magic-Scars (The Crown of Stones Book 2) by C.L. Schneider – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Magic-Scars (The Crown of Stones #2)Magic-Scars by C.L. Schneider
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ian Troy has been captured, tortured, and drugged. The king and his father are at the center of him forgetting who he is and what all he has done. After he’s rescued and presumed dead by the latter, he slowly comes back to himself and what he finds isn’t to his liking. He has to come to terms with the things that he has done and also what has been done to him in order to find the power within himself to thwart the king and his father’s evil plans. Can he find his friends and keep them safe before they can be used against him? Can he find out how to harness the power of the crown of stones before his father?

This is a pretty intense book. Ian does some really awful things. Granted, some of them are not completely his fault, but he still has to pay the price of them. I feel like the author did a good job of walking him through coming to terms with who he is and what he’s done. He had to make some hard choices and pay for them. In a world where everyone seems to be out for themselves, Ian Troy seems to always be thinking of others more than himself. Thankfully, he has loyal friends that stick with him through the horror and violence.

Just so other readers know, there are several scenes that are explicit.

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Caim (Antipodes Series Book 4) by T.S. Simons – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Caim (Antipodes #4)Caim by T.S. Simons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! It continues following the life that Cam and Freyja have built from her POV. There are plot twists that you don’t expect, and it keeps you reading to find out how it all ends. Just when you think The Collective can’t get any worse… they do, and you want them all to burn.

This series makes you think about your life and evaluate what is really important. Truly. Love this series! You FEEL the heartache and the triumphs of the characters to your core.

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Fairly Royal (The Fair Series Book 4) by Grace Grahme – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Fairly Royal (Fair, #4)Fairly Royal by Grace Grahme
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Philip is married to his station… He’s grown up with expectations heaped on his shoulders by his family and society. Every move he makes is scrutinized by the media. To be seen with him, is to be cast into the rumor mill of the papers. Anna, the sister of his best friend, is seen with him at an event and the pictures and rumors abound! However, she doesn’t shy away from the press or the rumors. Philip comes up with the idea to “pretend” to be together to shift the press’ focus off of him once they are consistently seen together. What he doesn’t know is that Anna has had a serious crush on him for YEARS! Can his scheme work without involving any broken hearts?

This was a fun read. I enjoyed reading about Anna and Philip and their lives. I am a sucker for anything Scottish, though! The dialogue in this contemporary love story was delightful. The author did a great job of writing these characters as if they were real people. I was drawn into the story immediately and didn’t want to put it down! I would read this author again!

Definitely an 18+ book.

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Notebook Mysteries ~ Unexpected Outcomes (Notebook Mysteries Book 4) by Kimberly Mullins – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Notebook Mysteries ~ Unexpected Outcomes (Notebook Mysteries book #4)Notebook Mysteries ~ Unexpected Outcomes by Kimberly Mullins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book begins with a bang! Emma and Jeremy wake up after a train crash and have to ferret out the robbers they were seeking. Once found, they realize that there is more going on than just a simple robbery. The treachery runs deeper. They return home to some normalcy, only to find their fathers past has come back into town! With one father speculative on the newcomer and one welcoming, how will it all pan out? Can the new person be trusted? What will the fall out of their return cause? As the mysteries continue to roll in and be solved, the family finds themselves working together more and more to find the truth in all of their cases.

I enjoy reading these books! Emma and her family are all relatable characters. They are presented in a very down to earth manner and very believable. I like how they all have meetings and dinners together to discuss how to solve cases. And even when they can’t share the details, they still support each other the best that they can. As an added bonus, the author also puts the recipes they discuss in the book at the back!

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Ouroboros (Antipodes Book 3) by T.S. Simons – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Ouroboros (Antipodes #3)Ouroboros by T.S. Simons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So enjoyed this!! I did not see the twists coming AT ALL! But I enjoyed them nonetheless! I was happy to read from Freya’s viewpoint in this book! She saw things and experienced things that Cam didn’t and it was refreshing to see her old character come back out. She is pretty amazing!

The thought process to write this book must have been immense! Wonderful writing that I haven’t read in awhile! Thank you, T.S. Simons for putting this out into the world!

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Shake Down (First Coast Thriller Book 1) by Armand Rosamilia – Review by Desiree Ottinger

Shake DownShake Down by Armand Rosamilia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Clayton is a man that has made some really bad life decisions but is doing his best to correct his past mistakes. Growing up with a father that was well known for his criminal connections and prolific lifestyle wasn’t easy. He became a cop and was doing well, until his gambling problem cost him his job and his family. Now, three years later, he’s working for a repo company, keeping his head down, trying to win his family back, and get his job back in law enforcement. When his boss involves him in a boat repo of a drug cartel, he finds himself being approached by the FBI. And as if that wasn’t crazy enough, suddenly, his sister- that spells out trouble every time she’s around- is back in town. Between the FBI pursuing him, his sister’s cryptic conversations, and his dad coming up again, he’s not sure which way is up. Can Clayton-not Clay- help the FBI, and figure out his sister before all is lost? Or is this just the beginning of something greater than him?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I could envision each character as the story played out. His boss and coworkers were all believable. The author did an excellent job writing the struggles of each character and their thought processes. I appreciated that Clayton started realizing that it wasn’t just the gambling that was the problem, but his selfishness and self-loathing that makes him unapproachable to others. When he really starts to look past himself and see others, that is when he truly starts to change and see what has been right in front of him for the last three years.

This is the first of many books, I hope!

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Jester by Brielle D. Porter – Review by Desiree Ottinger

JesterJester by Brielle D. Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lisette grew up under the shadow of a father who was labeled a traitor after killing the king. When he is put to death before he could pass on his magic to Lisette, she feels the loss ten times over because she lives in Oasis- where magic rules. As she perfects sleight of hand that LOOKS like magic, she decides to enter into a competition to compete for the position of Jester to the Queen. However, her biggest competitor, Luc, has REAL magic. Lisette realizes very quickly that she will do anything to gain magic and fame. The farther she makes it, the more she has to lose, though. When she is approached with information concerning the death of the king not being at the hand of her father, everything changes. Can she trust the source of this information? Could it be true? Will the cost of the truth be her undoing?

I really enjoyed reading this story. It follows a girl that wants to be recognized as the best because she feels like she’s never been good enough. In her pursuit of being the best, she begins to make friends in places that she doesn’t expect. In the end, she realizes what is worth keeping and what is worth letting go. Her path isn’t easy, and she doesn’t always pick the right choice, but the ending is perfect!

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