Red is for Rookie by Anne Greene
Was happy to learn I had won a copy of this book to read. Sounded like a good one and I was right.
Starts out with Holly and she and her best friend Matt, who are both PI's are watching over the night at the Meet and Greet Valentine's event that her mother had planned.
Something goes terribly wrong and Matt is kidnapped. Holly finds the clues and pieces it all together after talking with a few hands full of people. There are so many to name but so easy to keep track of.
With the help of God and her friends, family and suspects and cops she hopes to find the missing piece to the puzzle.
Lots of action, bit of romance, finding clues and where to look for them and especially like the rules noted as they resemble ones from Gibbs NCIS TV show. Very entertaining story and can see another to make this a saga series. The door is open for all that and more.
I was given the book by the author via Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review.
Davian is a tattoo magician – a man who can sense the magical tattoos under people’s skin and bring them to life. He’s spent most of his life hiding the true extent of his powers, hoping to avoid the attention of the Council and live a quiet life with his friend and business partner Keir and, hopefully, find a cute guy to have some fun with.
Except someone in the city is killing people with tattoos and stealing them – an agonising and terrible way to die. With his power, Dacian is perfectly placed to stop him and people are pressing him to get involved – but can he stop the killer and stay under the Council’s attention?
I really like the world building of this book – it does a really good job of taking a modern world and making it feel like a Dungeons and Dragons town. We have wizards and cars. We have elves and modern technology. It all seems to work – part of that may be not going into too much unnecessary detail at this point: it does an excellent job of hinting and shaping a lot without going into lots of details
Which is good because we can already see many many kind of wizards each of which are clearly very different from each other. We have elementals. We have fae. We have elves. We have wereanimals. We have a lot – and a whole lot of them are repeatedly touched on with excellent little details that are there to give an impression of a wider, different, broad culture (like the social nature of elves, the personalities of elementals etc etc)
This applies to government as well – we have so many hints of how this is worked related to the Council, how they treat powerful magic users and some indications of the way powerful supernatural forces interact with this organisation
Again, no-one sits down and starts expositioning lots of information about the society – because that would make absolutely no sense at all and would really clutter up this beginning book. But it does an absolutely awesome job of portraying an amazing world without dragging down the story
On top of that the actual focus – tattoo magic, the magic that Dacian and Keir have and the very foundation of the plot of this book. This shows how much imagination and detail can actually go into world building when it’s necessary to the plot
Unfortunately the story does kind of drag in the middle. Dacian spends a lot of time not knowing what to do, he’s kind of been tapped by several people as the one who should do something about the serial killing. He’s understandably reluctant since he’d rather keep his magic secret (and pretty much everyone seems to know he’s more than he seems) and he definitely doesn’t know what to do. So I can get that there’s a bit in the middle of the book where Dacian figures out what he can actually do
But it kind of waffles. What’s there is good – it’s Dacian’s normal life with his excellent relationships with Keir his best friend and Isaiah his love interest and Vyx who joins them. And it’s all fun but the fact there’s a serial killer on the loose seems to be too low a priority.
After falling in love with Holly Jennings’s intense, exciting world of virtual gaming in Arena, I had extremely high hopes for its sequel. Gauntlet was everything I’d hoped for and more. It’s imaginative, addictive, and tense. You never know what will be thrown at Kali and her team next, and that’s just the way I like it.
Kali Ling, the youngest team owner in the history of virtual games, is out to change the world of gaming. In a world where gamers are celebrities, their images managed, their moves dictated, and their addictions covered up, Kali is determined to have a team that’s clean, honest, and the players can be exactly who they are. But being a manager is a hell of a lot harder than being a captain. Kali’s drowning trying to be a manager, player, and friend, and that’s without the added problem that her actions have pissed off the Virtual Gaming League. Even with all that on her shoulders, Kali has another new challenge: her team has been invited to play in a new all-star tournament. But this game is unlike any anyone has ever seen. It learns, it adapts, and it will push Kali and her teammates to their very limits, both physically and psychologically.
Like Arena, Gauntlet is suspenseful, engaging, and just plain cool. The added twist of the new game that learns and adapts (plus a few other elements I can’t reveal without spoiling the story) upped the ante. The obstacles facing Kali, Rooke, Hannah, Lily, and Derek forces them to grow, and I loved watching them develop as characters and come together even closer as a team. While Kali is the heart and soul of the book, I cared about each member of team Defiance and loved seeing more of their true selves come out.
Compelling characters aside, I loved the new challenges thrown Kali, both in the game and outside of it. I enjoy not knowing what’s coming next, loved facing each new challenge alongside Kali. Her frustration, pain, and determination were palpable and had me reading late into the night, wanting to see what she would do next. I hated having to put Gauntlet down, and my only complaint is that the end of the book left me on the edge of my seat, eager to see what happens next.
It’s difficult to write about Gauntlet without revealing things that would spoil the story. The fun is in not knowing what obstacles Defiance faces and what internal and external challenges they will have to overcome. I’m not a gamer, but I loved all the detail Ms. Jennings has put into her elaborate world of virtual gaming. The Arena series is vivid and wonderfully entertaining. I can’t wait to see where Ms. Jennings takes Defiance next!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.