Invinciman, by R. T. Leone

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Welcome to the exciting world of Robox, where robots beating the snot out of each other in cage matches are used to settle disputes on a scale you won’t be ready for. 

Ray Martin gets involved with Daniel Darque’s brainchild–a sentient robot named Darquer–and man does his life go wrong. Between a revolution, a botched assassination, and a genius’ downward spiral, poor Ray doesn’t have much time to breathe. 

I really enjoyed how well-organized the narrative was. It bounced a lot back and forth between past or present quite a bit, but only a handful of times did it feel awkward. They back and forth usually mirrored each others’ causes and effects. Backstory was given without an information dump using that method. Ample time was provided to get to know the characters and get a feel for their depth. 

I liked how friendship and loyalty were tested. Just how far can one be pushed in order to show continued support for their best friend? Ray found that out whether he wanted to or not. There’s many levels of dynamic storytelling involved with the narrative: corporate takeovers, political satire, and brilliantly engineered plots all weaved together. 

A tightly woven narrative with characters pretty well-developed and an ending sure to make even the most stoic of readers feel something. 

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Live to Tell, by Livian Grey 

People think writing is easy. That being an author is simple. But Stephen’s life is far from such. While trying to reconcile things with his wife and daughter, he ends up in the kind of situation he couldn’t imagine writing about. He becomes the star of his own gritty crime-filled drama.

I liked the way the conflict was set up for a few different reasons. Reason one: Stephen and his family are going through a tough time, emotionally. However, there was never a feeling of absolute hatred or even animosity within the family. They were taking care of their problems like adults–something that I don’t see often.

Reason two: the circumstances felt like a redemption arc, and not just for Stephen and his family. While they were certainly tied in, yes, just desserts were also served for the remainder of the conflict.

Writing style and tone were suited to the narrative. The story progressed in a well-timed way. Dialogue served as the majority storyteller. That was great and well done, but I felt like description lacked just a bit. I liked the diversity that was included with character personalities, and the extra attention paid to the women.

This was kind of a quick, heartbreaking read. What makes things worse is that there are parallels to real-life events.

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Killjoy, by LeVar Ravel

I feel like the mob and hitmen go hand in hand. Killjoy’s no exception. Except…this hitman’s quite different.

Gwen’s dealings with the assassin are a bit different than that of her husband’s, the mob boss that hired him. Things with the assassin get more and more bizarre the more she deals with him. He has a zero percent failure rate. But…why? And that’s where the novel really picks up.



Honestly, I thought I had things figured out after about twenty pages. I was delightfully proven wrong. There’s an air of mystique and mystery maintained throughout the narrative. It helps the reader get into Gwen’s head. It also offers many different possibilities as to the resolution and ending. Because of that, it remains a bit of the unpredictable side.



I liked the dynamic between Gwen and her husband, Charles. They were both excellent, well-rounded characters that adhered to some common genre tropes. However, they deviated enough to keep their characters fresh.



I had one or two questions still remaining at the end, but it was more burning curiosity than anything. While I enjoyed all of the novel, I think the ending was my favorite part. Through all the tumult endured, it had a powerful message that will hit the reader hard.



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Hidden in the Dark, by RaShell Lashbrook

4_24_17 Hidden in the Dark



If you’re ready for an intense, emotional rollercoaster ride, look no further.
Hidden in the Dark tells the tale of three sisters that discover their family secrets.
The tone is immediately set when we open with a man beating his wife. It wasn’t much before she decided to up and leave. Conflict’s established right off the bat. Accepting the author’s hook is a no-brainer: it promises lots of drama.
And it delivers. Through the eyes of each character this tale unfolds. Raine, Randi, Lilly, and Genevieve all tell their sides of the story. Each one weaves another layer to the fabric of this story. It works itself like a puzzle, coming together piece by piece. Three sisters start to remember bits of the awful things their father did. And for some, they learn some new things about themselves.
There is conflict everywhere. But each battle is important to either the characters or the narrative. It pushes the characters along in their development. And there was so much character development. So much drama, but so necessary. It leaves the reader hanging on every word, wanting more and more. All the information is spoon-fed to the reader in such slow, small increments. Such wonderful execution is an art form in and of itself.
While story pacing is excellent, the way the chapters break is frustrating. Chapters would end, only to pick up where they left off in the very next one. It never failed to pull me out of the story because I’m expecting something different.
There was some graphic sex in the novel—most of which was well-written. The author did a better job than most. And it served a purpose to the narrative.
I love the way the author takes the characters’ lives in different directions. Hidden in the Dark touches on varying coping methods. Some healthy, some not. Some expected, some not. By the end, the readers experience an entire spectrum of aftermaths—both good and bad. I loved the fact that not everyone had a happy ending. Leaving such a raw, emotional feeling must have been difficult for the author. But it complimented the rest of the novel so well. Everything fit. Everything felt right. Loose ends were well taken care of.
Hidden in the Dark touches on such sensitive subjects, but does so with tact and grace. It’s a wild ride from both start to finish. This author is one to keep an eye out for.

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