"Connected To Me" by Marc Kage

 





Blurb:

Aoi Kanemoto is Japanese, cute, shy, and a certified genius. Despite graduating top of her class at Caltech, she struggles to find a job in the fast-paced tech industry. Her family, although very loving, doesn’t understand her at all, and her little sister seems poised for success. But Aoi suffers from deep seated trust issues, that keep her from pursuing her dreams.

Then she meets Christian Sterling at a local ramen shop. An Afro-Hispanic foster child and fellow tech-head, Christian’s gentle demeanor and kind gestures cut through Aoi’s emotional barrier. But as they chat and grow closer, the shy girl’s anxiety causes her to flee the restaurant, before he can even ask for her number. Getting ditched is bad enough, but Christian has no idea that this chance encounter is about to turn both their lives upside down.

The next morning, Christian and Aoi are shocked to wake up in each other’s bodies. They have no idea how to get back! As Aoi discovers how lonely Christian’s life really is, Christian must confront Aoi’s strict parents, and help her find the courage to stand up for herself once and for all. And the more they learn about each other’s lives, the deeper they fall in love. But are they trapped in each other’s bodies forever? And if they do switch back, will their new-found romance survive?



This story's idea may be a good one, but it's in dire need of editing to ensure consistency of tense, timeline, and characters. An editor will also help remove unnecessary and repetitive words and rewrite clunky paragraphs to craft a more captivating read.  Example: "It was such a gigantic place, you would think its sign would be much larger than that. The building is large, towering large above the buildings beside it." I couldn't enjoy the book in its current form.

"Stone Dead in Rio Vista" by Peter C Bradbury

 



Something unique about this book (to me as a reader) was the killer's identity revealed early in the book. I believe it was in the second chapter. I thought, how can you keep the book interesting when I already know "who done it?" The best part of the book, in my opinion, was the killer: clever enough not to get caught and crazy enough to want to continue killing. But eventually, they pushed their luck too far and got their just rewards. There were some minor editing issues and some unnecessary paragraphs that slowed the narrative. Overall, I found it entertaining for the unlikely bad guy and how they eluded capture.




"Vanished" by Mark Bierman

 


DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn't signed up for those.
Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.


I started reading this book, and my feelings wavered. I understand explaining Tyler's guilt and grief over losing his wife and the mission's point, but Chantale's kidnapping is where I feel the story truly began. I continued, and at about 25-30% in, I finally gained traction. The plot exploded and hooked my interest. By 50%, it reeled me in. The struggles of captives Martine and Guilles, plotting their escapes enthralled. Eliana's defiance of Diego to help find and rescue enslaved children touched a nerve. Her brave acts held many consequences. The author's descriptions illustrated the action. I suffer from claustrophobia, and JanJack's journey through the mining tunnels nearly had me in a panic. Tyler's description of the river as an enemy while trying to escape angry villagers felt artistic. But sometimes, in the middle of a "fast-moving" scene, the lengthy description could put the story in slow-motion. The author did a good job portraying a genuine problem in child trafficking. I am rating this three stars because I would rate the first half two stars and the second half four stars.