TOUGH KARMA: A RACE AGAINST TIME BY LAURA SIMMONS

Rating: 4 out of 5.

DISCLAIMER: I was lucky enough to receive this book from BookSirens on behalf of the author. This is in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. I hope the prospective reader will read this review fully before making any prejudgments on the book. I will give the book my thoughts, good and bad. Also, this review contains opinions that are my own and not the author’s. My thoughts will be different from your thoughts and just know that before reading the book. Lower in the review, I will talk about disclaimers in the book as well that you should read before opening the book.

Our story begins with Amber Macklin’s crashing world. Amber is stuck in what feels like an endless loop of grief. She looks around and sees no end. All she thinks is, what did I do to deserve this pain? She has to deal with the grief of her husband’s sudden death. Then three months later, her baby girl is ripped from her life. She is wandering through life lost and alone or so she thinks. Bryce is her shoulder to cry on. He has been her everything and she wants so much more than just a best friend bond. It is too bad that that he is her cousin. Then one DNA test happens and that could change everything. Soon after, Bryce’s friend Mike comes into their lives. Amber has a bad feeling about him and soon, everything takes a turn for the worst. Deadly secrets, a cat and mouse game, and a field of secrets are uncovered when Bryce takes a tour to investigate his college friend. Mike makes his move and Bryce has to save Amber. Will he get to her in time? Is there any hope for Bryce and Amber? Is Mike really the nice guy he pretends to be? Or will this chess game become a checkmate?

There is background in this story. I have to say that though this story can be read on its own, I would read the first one just so the reader can know everything. I feel as if at some points, I did have to play catch up. If you are willing to do that, then it can be a standalone novel. There were some holes missing in the background. I didn’t feel I knew enough about Bryce’s astral traveling before reading this. I think it was less about knowing what astral traveling is than anything else. Out of body experience was explained, but sometimes it was hard to follow when you are reading. Also, the plot seemed to have some areas where I felt disconnected from the story. I usually find it hard to stay connected with the story and not pulled away. This story made me feel as if I was having to be pulled back in a lot. It made for a slightly bumpy ride.

Even though the plot is important, the characters are my favorite. A wonderful character could lift a story up while a bad one can make a story hard to read. The hardest characters to write, in my opinion, are the deadly ones. Those people make a story more intense, but it could ruin it as well. There is a fine line in the stories that are being read with a wonderful antagonist and an awful one. The characters in this story were wonderfully written. Amber, I loved her from the very beginning. I felt her pain and grief. I saw a side to her that had guilt flowing through it. She was raw and real. The pain almost brought me to tears along with her. I felt a growing sense of urgency to secure her future and happiness. Bryce was amazing as well. He was the yin to Amber’s yang. In so many ways they were opposite, yet they matched each other so well. This is one of those stories that makes you root for them to be together. You sense this bond from chapter one, and they grow together. They don’t start as the perfect pair. They become the perfect pair. The hero, no pun intended, of this story was Mike. He oozed evil that a reader could just feel. You could feel it before anything happens. You feel the darkness that Amber does, and the twists just begin there. Mike must be one of my favorite antagonist characters that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

What is this book like? I think it is dark and eerie at times, but that is not all the book has to offer. It does bring this light at the ending of the tunnel feel. It shows grief at its purest form and brings hope when all seems lost. This is a romantic suspense novel. I feel as if you do get every element of that is supposed to be. I feel the thrill side and also the love. While you are reading this book, the suspense will knock you back like a dark cloud, but I feel that you do get right back up. Overall, this was an enjoyable book to read.

This section is the disclaimer part of my review. This is where I will explain if there are three components that could potentially make a prospective reader slightly uncomfortable. They are violence, language, and explicit sexual scenes. I will describe how in depth the story goes with each topic. Violence is a large part of the story. In this case, it is necessary to read the violence to understand the in-depth world of the characters. I feel as if it is not something you can get away from. That being said, I do think it is tolerable. I don’t mind a lot of violence if it is justified and I believe in this case, it is completely justified. Language can be excessive in a novel. Especially when it is an overabundance of one or two words that are explicit in nature. I felt as if this story did not have an overabundance of cursing to the point of it being unrealistic and uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, there was cursing, but a rational amount in my opinion. There were some intimacy scenes. Some of them descriptive, but some of them were more of a description of past events. I do have to warn the prospective reader to look past the thought of Bryce and Amber being relatives. Although the author did describe wonderfully that they are not. Don’t get caught up in that moment because there is a chance you won’t find the book as enjoyable. The scenes that had intimacy were not overly descriptive and were not uncomfortable to read, but you could skip them if you desire to and not feel as if you’re missing out on the story.

My rating: This was a hard one to rate. While I did love it, I found there to be some holes that I felt like I just couldn’t get past. There was something missing. I do not feel the drive or urge to read the other books in the series. This was a quick read for me because I felt like I wanted to know more. This has to be my first supernatural romance where out of body experiences are a major part of the story. That did intrigue me. I feel as if the rating I have to give this book is 4 out 5 stars. While I love Bryce, Amber, and Mike, I did find this book lost me at some points. Also, I don’t know if this would be on my read again list. I know that I enjoyed this book, but I feel as if I almost want more from it.

I hope this review helps you in making your next book choice. Happy reading!

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