Blue Haven by Lisa King Review

Blue Haven is
a science-fiction thriller that explores what innovation can achieve—and
destroy—despite the best intentions. King’s imaginative world-building and use
of moral ambiguity make this page-turning novel a thought-provoking thrill
that’s impossible to put 
down

By Lisa King

Welcome to Blue Haven, the world’s most lucrative condo corporation—so exclusive that only five lucky residents live in this lush, tropical paradise, housed in a top-secret location.

Among them is twenty-five-year-old Aloe Malone, an introvert and former waitress who traded bussing tables for lengthy sleep-ins, ocean dips, Michelin-star restaurants, spectacular sunsets, and unlikely new friends—all thanks to a spurious lottery win.

Life’s good.

Damn good.

That is, until Aloe discovers a journal.

Seemingly left by a past resident named Eloise whose entries are both sad and evoking, Aloe quickly suspects there’s more to Blue Haven than meets the eye.

Her suspicions are confirmed when visions arise, gruesome hallucinations she can’t understand, followed by a strange yet familiar man lurking in places he shouldn’t. Something’s wrong. Or maybe it’s all in her head. Regardless, she vows to uncover the truth.

Except someone wants to keep her quiet, and it’s the last person she ever suspected.

Blue Haven is a science-fiction thriller that explores what innovation can achieve—and destroy—despite the best intentions. King’s imaginative world building and use of moral ambiguity make this page-turning novel a thought-provoking thrill that’s impossible to put down.

Book Information

Release Date: May 31, 2022

Publisher:  The Story Plant

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1611883206; 336 pages; $26.95; E-Book, $7.49

Book Trailer https://youtu.be/DgnqxcZLRcg

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3LVsZB0

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3waPpHv

Indigo: https://bit.ly/3MWRayO

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781611883206

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3kNK4kk

My Thoughts

I was in a Summer reading mood when I picked up Blue Haven. I had just finished working for the school year and was eager to start my summer with a book that would give me the “summer feels”. This book was the perfect read for that and so much more. It is very atmospheric, when I opened the book, I was immediately transported to Blue Haven, experiencing what Aloe was experiencing.

This story exceeded my expectations and is my favorite read of 2022. There were several jaw dropping twists and things that I was shocked by in a good way. I am still thinking about the story a week after I have finished it.

I highly recommend this book but urge readers to go into it knowing as little as possible about it, it’s so much fun! It does have some bad language but overall the content is pretty clean.

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating

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Day One

Less than twenty-four hours earlier, Aloe Malone was sitting on a
tattered couch, a distinct eagerness coursing through her veins. She shivered;
her radiator was on the fritz again, sputtering from one side, cackling,
rendering her tiny bachelor apartment bone-cold uncomfortable. She curled into
a sweater, still freezing, slowly succumbing to the chronic, aggravating chill.

And then she laughed, her breath puffy with condensation. She’d
worked her last shift at the diner, and said her meager and limited
goodbyes—except the one owed to her crummy apartment.

“Sayonara, shithole,” she whispered under her
breath.

Now, she squinted into the radiant sun: hot
but not fierce, a tempered warmth that was perfect and satisfying. She pressed
her feet into the fairy dust sand and gave her toes a wiggle. She’d never felt
sand like this before: white, delicate, possibly otherworldly, like it’d been
manufactured in a laboratory or harvested from another universe. Like someone
had broken one million hourglasses to populate this beach.

She turned to her personal concierge, Amir.
“Is this … real sand?”

Surely, it couldn’t be.

He nodded. “Real indeed. One of the many
reasons we chose this location.”

This location: a mysterious venue somewhere on planet Earth. She’d love to know
the actual coordinates and considered asking (for the third time) but
confidentiality was part of the deal. If you wanted to live in the world’s most
lucrative beachfront community, secrecy was paramount.

Still, she dug her toes deeper into the cushy grains. What
part of the world produces sand like this? Aruba? Somewhere in South Asia? The
Philippines?

She stared skeptically at Amir. His natural tan and dark features
were clearly exotic. And his name, Amir. Was that Arabic?

“Aloe?” He touched her arm. “Are you feeling okay? You look a bit
dazed.”

Her mind floated back. “Yeah, sorry. Still a little groggy.”

“That’s a very common side effect,” he replied. “Rest assured,
you’ll be back to normal in a few hours at most.”

She nodded, somewhat attuned to the aftermath of drugs slugging
through her arteries. The whole “going under” aspect had been daunting: a white
mask, followed by slow, deep inhalations; counting down from ten, as requested;
waking somewhere new and unknown— though it made good, logical sense. How else
were people supposed to fly to a top-secret paradise without discovering its
whereabouts?

Besides, look at this fucking view.
The oceanfront, steps away, was a prism of blue light. Turquoise lapped at the
shoreline, fading to a sumptuous cerulean. The sky was a lovely robin’s egg,
swept with long, lazy clouds. Her eyes found the horizon. There was nothing in
the distance, no islands, shorelines, or glimpses. Just pure, unadulterated
space.

Aloe turned to the billowing palm trees swaying in her periphery.
Not an imposing number, just enough to provide a calculated amount of shade.
Unlike other beaches she’d visited, Blue Haven’s was devoid of human life; and
that, was its true appeal. No sandcastles or shoddily impaled umbrellas or
squawking birds begging for scraps of potato chips. Blue Haven was a
stock-grade computer background that didn’t exist in real life—except it did,
to her absolute astonishment.

“Paradise,” she looked at Amir and smiled. “Y’all weren’t lying.”

“We aim to please,” he replied. “Go ahead, test the water. Dip
your toe in. We’ve installed top-of-the-line thermoregulators to ensure the
perfect temperature. Always.”

“You’re heating … the ocean?”

“Only as required.”

“Wow,” she replied, stepping forward.

A wave drifted over her toes, warm as bathwater, and she instantly
unwound. A salty gust of air filled her lungs, causing her chest to lift.

And just like that, the unshakeable sense of irresolution that’d
been following her for years was suddenly gone. All that mattered was here and
now—this moment.

“How’s the temperature?” Amir asked.

She returned to his side with a lightness in her step. “Perfect.”

“Excellent.” He tucked a fuchsia hibiscus behind her ear, and for
some reason this motion summoned a pang of guilt. Her stomach lurched, and the
weight of her body returned.

Did she really deserve this new life?

The answer was clear and undisputed. Of course not. No cognizant,
twenty-five-year-old could honestly admit otherwise. She’d simply gotten lucky.

Then again, who was she to contest the force of luck?

“Are you ready to continue with the tour?” Amir asked.

She took one last glance at the ocean, nodding. The view was
dreamy, glorious, enchanting—beyond any adjective she’d ever learned. Maybe she
didn’t deserve this life, but it had found her. The only choice now was
acceptance.

Even if Blue Haven seemed too good to be true.

 


Lisa King
 is a Canadian fiction author and researcher whose work on veteran mental health has been published in numerous academic journals. She holds degrees in psychology and neuroscience, both from Western University. Aside from writing, she enjoys family outings, ample coffee, and unapologetic napping. She lives in London, Ontario with her husband, daughter, and wonky-eyed cat.

Her latest book is the adult science fiction/psychological thriller, Blue Haven.

You can vist her website at www.AuthorLisaKing.com or connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

 
Sponsored By:

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica Review

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Synopsis

She tried to run, but she can’t escape the other Mrs.

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

My Thoughts

Wow! This was a ride! This story is best to read with knowing as little as possible about the synopsis because there are many surprises along the way. It’s full of twists and turns…some that I was able to figure out and others that I didn’t see coming. There were a few outlandish concepts that require a bit of suspension of disbelief but they were minor and didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story. Overall, this was a homerun that I recommend to fans of domestic thrillers.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Park Row to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating

4 stars

The Other People by C.J. Tudor Review

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Synopsis

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or ‘the thin man’ as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it’s like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn’t seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they’re dead.

 

My Thoughts

I couldn’t put this one down! A wild ride from the first page to the last that had many surprises. This was the type of story that really made me think, “could this really happen?” and I truly believe that it’s possible (which adds to the creepy factor). This is the type of book that starts out somewhat confusing and eventually all of the pieces fall into place perfectly. I don’t want to say much about the plot because I feel that it’s best to go into this one knowing as little as possible. I definitely recommend this book, I read it in one sitting.

I received an arc of this book from NetGalley and Random House to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own

 

My Rating

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Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell Review

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Synopsis:

A shocking, original psychological thriller about a mother gone missing and the family she leaves behind, ultimately proving how unknowable even those closest to us can be 

Alexandra Southwood is missing. Held in a room against her will, she’s forced to imagine how her husband, Marc, and two daughters are coping in the wake of her disappearance. She’s shown news clips of Marc, desperately appealing to the public for information on her whereabouts. She tortures herself with visions of her family’s devastated new reality. She thinks of what’s lost, remembering the beginnings of her romance with Marc and the beautiful family they built together.

Marc’s pain is visceral. He thinks of nothing but his wife. He shifts from utter despair to frantic action, and when the police discover Alexandra’s bloody belongings by the river, turning their missing-persons case into a murder investigation, he cannot accept that she is lost to him. He embarks on his own journey, through the dark maze of the art world that so gripped his wife, following a trail that leads him to find answers to questions he never meant to ask.

My Thoughts:

I wish I could say that I loved this book but unfortunately, it wasn’t for me. I usually love psychological thrillers but this one felt strange with either the pacing or the narration or something. There were  a lot of characters to keep track of and it was a bit confusing at times. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

It was an interesting and unique story as it’s narrated by the person who has gone missing but she is very unreliable as she is guessing what is happening to her husband. Unfortunately, the story did not become interesting to me until the halfway mark and by that point, I was just ready for it to be over. I’ve heard it compared to Gone Girl, which I loved, and although I see some similarities, Gone Girl was far superior in my opinion.

 

My Rating: 2 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Delusion by Laura Gallier Review

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Synopsis: By March of Owen Edmonds’s senior year, eleven students at Masonville High School have committed suicide. Amid the media frenzy and chaos, Owen tries to remain levelheaded–until he endures his own near-death experience and wakes to a distressing new reality.

The people around him suddenly appear to be shackled and enslaved.

Owen frantically seeks a cure for what he thinks are crazed hallucinations, but his delusions become even more sinister. An army of hideous, towering beings, unseen by anyone but Owen, are preying on his girlfriend and classmates, provoking them to self-destruction.

Owen eventually arrives at a mind-bending conclusion: he’s not imagining the evil–everyone else is blind to its reality. He must warn and rescue those he loves . . . but this proves to be no simple mission. Will he be able to convince anyone to believe him before it’s too late?

Owen’s heart-pounding journey through truth and delusion will force him to reconsider everything he believes. He both longs for and fears the answers to questions that are quickly becoming too dangerous to ignore.

My Thoughts: I’m sitting here, trying to decide what adjective to use to begin this review. I want to give this book the credit and recognition it deserves. Amazing doesn’t seem like a “good enough” word to describe this book….

This book provides a visual picture of spiritual warfare…the invisible battle that wages each and every moment of every day around every person on Earth between the dark and light forces. I have never read a book that described this battle in such a clear way. There were moments that I had to put the book down and ponder what I had just read. There were moments when I got goosebumps, thinking about this war that is real but not seen by human eyes. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, flying through the pages, but nervous to see what was ahead.

This was a life-changing book for me. It changes the way I look at prayer and interceding for people with prayer, it showed how truly important prayer is in a very cool way.

The story shows how demonic forces can oppress Christians and possess non-Christians. There were some terrifying scenes that are more terrifying when you realize that this book, although fictional, is based on Biblical truths.

The book is a young adult story, focused around teenagers but would definitely be a good read for teens as well as adults. Because of the difficult and gritty content, I would recommend that it not be read by anyone under the age of 16.

My only problem is that it ended on a slight cliffhanger and I need more of the story! I am eagerly awaiting book 2. I highly recommend this book, it is my top rated book of 2017 so far.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers to review.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel Review

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Synopsis: After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

My Thoughts: It’s been 2 days since I finished this book and I still can’t get it off my mind. Unfortunately, the more time that passes, the more I’m disturbed by the content of this book. I would call this a “trainwreck” book…as I was reading it, I wanted to stop because of the twisted and disturbing nature of the content but for some reason I couldn’t look away.

This is not a feel good book, it was the opposite for me. I feel disgusted and frustrated and disturbed after reading it. With all that being said, I must say that this book falls into the unputdownable category for me. I devoured it in a few sittings, I needed to know what happened to Allegra and I needed to know how things would end. The writing style was very fluid, the characters were developed very well, and the book is full of several unexpected twists and turns. I think the fact that I have such an adverse reaction to this book is a testament to what a good writer Amy Engel is.

I don’t think this was the book for me…those familiar with me probably know that I am pretty conservative. This book had way too much vulgarity and graphic sexual content in it for my taste. I understand why it was there but I don’t feel that the author needed to go into as much detail as she did at times.

My Rating: This is one of the most difficult books for me to rate as I found it extremely compelling and well written but I can’t say that I liked it. Because of the unputdownable factor I rated it 4 /5 stars.

4 stars

I can’t in good conscience recommend this book to anyone as I really didn’t like the content but I will say that this is a book with a lot of adult content. If you like dark, disturbing, taboo subjects, you might want to try it.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Occupied by Craig Parshall Review

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Synopsis: As a youth, Trevor Black unleashed spiritual forces he couldn’t comprehend. Years later, Trevor is a high-flying criminal defense lawyer in New York City, with a six-figure Aston Martin and a trophy wife. But in an extraordinary turn of events, he receives a burdensome gift: the ability to perceive the invisible. And the dark forces he now sees are all gunning for him.

When one of Trevor’s hometown friends is murdered, the MO is eerily similar to a shocking trail of murders that have already crossed the lawyer’s path. So Trevor must return home to find the killer. . . and face not only his own personal demons, but supernatural ones as well.

My Thoughts: This book provides a great picture of spiritual warfare, which is something that I believe is a very real and powerful thing. In it you follow Trevor, who has the ability to see dark forces (which he calls the horribles) as well as the light forces that battle against them. I have often wondered what it would be like if the veil was lifted and we were able to see the invisible forces…I’ve always imagined that it would be terrifying to see the hidden world around us. This book confirmed my assumptions that seeing this world would be very scary.

This story took me a good 100 pages to get interested.I felt that it dragged a bit at first and the pacing was a bit disjointed. It also took me a while to get used to the writing style. There were a lot of characters and sometimes I had a bit of trouble keeping track of who was who.

I loved the concept of the story and found myself thinking about it often after reading it. I also liked Joel’s character. He became a born again Christian in the book and his development was great throughout the book. I also liked the prevalence of Christianity and theology throughout the story. For this type of story, it was very necessary to add the Biblical truths attached to spiritual warfare, which the author did well.

There were several twists and turns that I didn’t expect and the ending was done very well. Overall, this was a great story that I enjoyed very much. I would have given it 5 stars had it not been for the slow start and the uneven pacing.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: “Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

My Thoughts: Wow!!! This book blew my mind! A fun adventure from the first page to the last, my jaw dropped several times while reading this. There were many unexpected moments that I never saw coming. This is the kind of story you want to go into blindly because the revelations make it amazing.

This is the epitome of a thought provoking book…I can’t stop thinking of the plot and all of the things that are presented in the story.

The protagonist, Jason, is very likable and I was rooting for him throughout the story. His wife Daniela was a bit less well known…you only saw her through Jason’s eyes but it was clear how much he adored her.

I appreciated that the author didn’t need to use gore or vulgarity to make the story impactful.

This story crosses several genres…science fiction, suspense, mystery, thriller, romance, and even has some horror aspects. I truly believe that this is the kind of book that would appeal to a large audience of readers.

This book was amazing and I recommend it to everyone. It will live on my favorites list.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.

My Thoughts: At first I was a bit wary of this book because of the writing style but after about 20 pages, I was hooked. This book kept me guessing until the very end.

Nora, the main character, is definitely an interesting person. Because she is telling the story, you never really know if she’s reliable or not. The author is very good at showing her emotional decline after he sister’s murder. Nora reminded me a lot of Libby Day from Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places…damaged and unlikable.

There are many twists and turns, which I love, and most were unpredictable.

The book is fairly short at 219 pages but it is very dense…there were no moments when I felt like it dragged. I would much rather read a shorter book that packs a big punch than a long book that drags on and on.

I would definitely recommend this one to all of the thriller lovers. It was a great story!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Penguin Publishing company in exchange for an honest review.

Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller Review

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Plot According to Goodreads: Freedom Oliver has plenty of secrets.  She lives in a small Oregon town and keeps mostly to herself.  Her few friends and neighbors know she works at the local biker bar; they know she gets arrested for public drunkenness almost every night; they know she’s brash, funny, and fearless.

What they don’t know is that Freedom Oliver is a fake name.  They don’t know that she was arrested for killing her husband, a cop, twenty years ago.  They don’t know she put her two kids up for adoption.  They don’t know that she’s now in witness protection, regretting ever making a deal with the Feds, and missing her children with a heartache so strong it makes her ill.

Then, she learns that her daughter has gone missing, possibly kidnapped.  Determined to find out what happened, Freedom slips free of her handlers, gets on a motorcycle, and heads for Kentucky, where her daughter was raised.  As she ventures out on her own, no longer protected by the government, her troubled past comes roaring back at her: her husband’s vengeful, sadistic family; her brief, terrifying stint in prison; and the family she chose to adopt her kids who are keeping dangerous secrets.

My Thoughts: I had no interest in reading this book when I first saw the cover, but I read the synopsis and thought I’d take a chance (I’m glad that I did). This story follows Freedom, who is in the witness protection program and has a slew of issues. Freedom was the kind of character who I really disliked in the beginning of the story but as it progressed and I began to understand her, she grew on me.

The story has many facets and subplots that all merge together. It explores a religious cult which was extremely interesting and chilling. As a reader I went through a range of emotions, from anger to frustration, to fear, and sadness.

The story touches on religion, which often frustrates me in secular fiction, but the author handled it very well and I was pleased with the way things were presented.

Overall, this was a fast paced, action packed story that was enjoyable to read.

My Rating: 4 stars

 

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange of an honest review.