Category Archives: Book Reviews

Summoned by Rainy Kaye

Summoned by Rainy Kaye

4.5/5

A modern day genie tale almost sounds like it could be yawn-worthy to be honest. Despite my love for Rainy Kaye I was hesitant to read this novel. Yay, another romance novel that probably– wait, wait, wait. What the Hell is going on here?

That’s right. This novel is DIFFERENT. I saw none of it coming at any point, and I enjoyed that. The ending was a twist. The love story wasn’t the same tired story. And the voice worked. Many women have this habit of being over gushy when writing men. The majority of men are not that adorable and loving when thinking about women. A woman does not take over their every thought every moment of the day.

Dimitri, our genie in question, is not the most likeable character you’ll ever read about. Syd is not your most sympathetic heroine you’ll ever see. However the two make a dynamic that works on the rush they give one another and then the reader. These characters are real compared to many that will be seen or read about. Their feelings are organic as are their actions. And at the end of the story you will be left with a question but satisfied with an ending.

Now, with all of this praise, why did I remove half of a star? Silvia. Silvia is not the main antagonist, but she proves to be one. She falls flat as a character. The author spends a little too much time pushing on us how we should feel about Silvia and I didn’t completely feel that way… until one scene that caused me to have to put the book down for a day before I could read it again. This is a relationship that could have had a novel on its own to explain many things, but unfortunately for me it just didn’t go the way I thought it should, or could. We can’t all get what we want, though, and that is no fault of the author!

Reasons to Read:

  • One of the most original plots in contemporary fiction
  • Characters that keep you guessing
  • Sensual and Bloody
  • A borrowed tale has never fit so well in something new

Reasons Not to Read:

  • Might be a little too bloody for some
  • Fast paced parts sometimes can be a bit confusing
  • While some characters are expounded and worked with, some don’t have the payoff
  • All questions won’t be answered

Blurb

Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Find out more at http://www.summonedtheseries.com

Author Bio

Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark.com and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter @rainyofthedark. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

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Reviewing The Urchin by Adrianne Ambrose

5/5

The end of the world. Vampires. These are things that have almost become synonymous with eye rolling. Especially the overly-romanticized version of vampires. These vampires are not romance novel vampires. In fact they are a means to an end to support the story.

Nick, a pilot, crashes down and is luckily saved by a few teenagers before he is eaten by the vampires. He finds himself within Stanton Military Academy, which is now referred to as The Urchin. It is the last standing building for miles and the boys of the academy are all that remain, besides the vampires that haunt them nightly.

Now Nick must join together with Vance in an attempt to fix his plane and go to New Washington.

This is a dark look at the way people think and will act in the time of desperation. Ambrose does well to liken the experience to Lord of the Flies while Vance explains what it is he doesn’t want from the boys he’s trying to keep safe. The book explores the before and the during and the after of the apocalypse all interwoven together perfectly to make a complete story.

As with most novels that delve into the darkness, the ending is not particularly happy, but unlike most, it’s not something so desperately awful either. Ambrose ties the strings together she must and completes the story she is trying to tell. There is a world of stories here that Ambrose could embrace and she does well dragging her reader in and keeping them there.

Reasons to Read:

– Well Written

– Great dynamic of characters

– The stories behind the actions all make sense

Reasons Not to Read:

– Basically a horror novel with less horror and more storytelling

Reviewing The 50 Megaton Tweet by R. C. Wade

5/5

50 years ago people wrote on the significance of our growing reliance on electronics. Stories of our toasters and televisions and vacuums turning against us were nearly mainstream, and one famous story told of aliens observing our planet and believing our cars were the true rulers and we were just an extension of it.

Enter our times today. Sure, robots haven’t taken over the world, but electronics might very well run how we look at things. Wade takes a look at the power of Twitter and Youtube and how we reacted to things that we are told and show. One tweet starts it all, a tweet that claims the president’s assassination.

This is the sort of story that 20 or 30 years from would find its way into a thick high school literature book and be taught as a lesson about how we once relied on social media to run our lives. People will chuckled, because hopefully something like this will not have actually happened. However, this is a completely plausible situation. Twitter has started enough rumors of death, to the point that it is weekly, and there is always someone who believes it. Even if you don’t believe it you see RIP Celebrity trending and you check to make sure that it truly is a hoax.

This is literature at its best and worst, giving us a look at ourselves. Do we like what we see?

Reasons to Read:

– Very quick, worth the 0.99

– An excellent look at reliance on social media

– Well thought out

Reasons Not To Read:

– You might not like what you see

– It does have preachy moments, and even if they fit in the story, some might dislike the opinions

Reviewing Necromantic by Cole Vance

5/5

I received an ARC copy of this novel and I was hooked. This is erotica the way erotica should actually be written. It’s hot. There were moments I had to put it down because it actually affected my body to read it. Vance’s storytelling is a great balance between story and sex. The sex is hot, the story is deeper than you would expect. Perhaps it is not the most surprising thing you will ever read, but it is not supposed to be. But it is meant to hook you, and it does just that. There is a certain… violation element to it. It is not rape, no one in this novel would dare say no, but it is a story about a woman taking the bodies of other women to have sex.

Strong characters, believe it or not, that are not perfect in any way. It makes it all the more intriguing because while you feel sorry for Lydia you can also see why certain aspects are happening to her. And it does make you wonder about her as well.

Reasons to Read:

– Incredibly hot

– Great characters

– Great plot

Reasons Not To Read:

– You might have possible violation issues

– If you have a hard time suspending belief it won’t work for you

Reviewing Life of Pi by Yann Martel

3/5

I’m not exactly known for my patience with stories that want to be spiritual. In novels like this it somehow comes out worse because if you read it without looking for it you get a pretty straightforward story. The story itself is interesting, though the first part of the novel is more a deluge of information about zoos and religion than it is about any true character development, while still being a great reason for him to know the things he knows.

The second part gets more interesting, though the back and forth for the first few chapters within it bothered me, as if Martel wrote it out of order and decided to just keep it that way. The interactions between Patel and the tiger are interesting and believable in many ways. Sometimes the imagination has to be stretched to the limits to believe what has just happened, but it still is told well.

The ending, and a slight reveal, actually gave it a horror vibe while not being a horror novel. It was well done and you think to yourself, “I’d have rather read the story I did read.”

So I liked this novel. Why 3 stars? Because this was supposed to be a spiritual journey and I read it pretty straightforward without really ever getting that feel. It’s a great source of information told in a story. It’s an interesting fight of survival, but spiritual? I just didn’t get the vibe. Beautiful, sad, and destructive it did well, but trying to capture anything beyond it and it seems forced. As a story this is a 4 star novel. As something more, which it wanted to be, it lost a star rating.

Reasons to Read:

– You are fed information while in a story, you’ll learn something and not realize it’s what’s happening

– The interactions are interesting and it’s well told

– Piscine Patel is actually a very intelligent and sweet character who goes to lengths we have to wonder if we would in the same situation

Reasons Not to Read:

– The feel the novel wants you to have is only truly apparent by searching through it

– You might be thrown off by the ending

Reviewing Keystone by Misty Provencher

4/5

There is a lot I can say about this book, both good and bad. Nalena (Nali) as a main character can both be observant and painfully obtuse, especially when the reader can figure it out and she’s sitting here with a, “Huh?” look on her face. There are two moments of this that made me want to reach through the book and throttle her. First, there are the Veritas, which are introduced early in the novel. Nali is told they can “hear everything” then remains confused as the Veritas in question is seeming to answer things out of nowhere. It was too obvious and with all of the things going on around her it should not have surprised her as much as it did when it came out what it was. The distraction she might have felt might have been a good excuse if Provencher had used that as a handicap for her, but instead the distraction during this scene was hardly mentioned and therefore just made Nali look a bit dim.

The second instance is the continued reference to Garrett, the love interest, being her Vieo. Yes, having it not explained to her actually did appear natural. Authors often use the trick of, “We can’t tell you now, you will find out later,” but instead as Nalena asked about it the girls simply wanted to giggle at her ignorance and some of the men just didn’t have time for her. It was natural, but still she should have suspected what it was much sooner.

This book is written by an independent author, it is the second in the series. This means it is judged a little more roughly than the first one. This also means mistakes in grammar are picked apart more. As an independent author the one thing that must be done is this book should have been tread over with a fine toothed comb. Whoever edited this novel did Provencher a huge injustice. There were errors that should not have been made starting at about 20% in and then pretty much every 2-3% after. There were two on one page in one spot. The ending became worse, like the editor just didn’t care towards the end. When it should have been, “me” there was “I” and vice versa, and I’m not just talking about when the teenagers spoke to each other. Errors in majorly published books make me cringe, but they are far and few between. Errors in an independent author’s work only reflects badly on one person and as it is harder for an independent to find readers, it’s probably smart to look these over more clearly.

Now, for the plot itself. Keystone takes a much different approach than Cornerstone. Cornerstone is about a normal teenager girl discovering a world of protectors she did not know. The second is about a girl who is now one of those protectors and trying to protect the very planet itself. It’s a sudden change and might be jarring for some, but it crosses over naturally. The novel takes place almost immediately after the last one so there hasn’t been months to get used to what has happened, which is brilliant and more stories should do just that. When picked apart this is an excellent plot, and while there is a romance in this, Nalena and Garrett can continue their relationship, the romance does not threaten to take over the plot.

As a young adult novel I don’t judge some of the “coincidences” as harshly as I would other novels, because young adult primarily is not about absolutely helpless situations but is a coming of age with magic thrown into the mix. Provencher captures that beautifully and every character that she focuses on grows throughout this novel. Garrett is the only constant, but it’s a natural constant.

I recommend this novel, even if it reached a sophomore slump, I still give it 4 stars and think this is a series worth buying for your teen daughter, or even pre-teen daughter. The romance is light enough that you don’t have to worry about what your child is reading, and even the scenes that involve death are a read that will not weigh heavily on them later, while leaving an impression.

Reasons to Read:

– Great storytelling

– Character are interesting

– The system is entertaining

– Well written

– Surprisingly well adapted for all age groups

Reasons not to read:

– Has moments of inconsistencies

– The editor didn’t do a great job (pet peeve of mine in case you can’t tell)

– Sometimes you really must suspend belief

Reviewing Blood Ties Book One: The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout

4/5

This book comes off a score of novels I’ve read about vampires that I found in the romance section. This immediately made me think, “I remember a time when I liked vampires. Was obsessed. Now the shelves are filled with romantic drivel.”

The plot is basic, a doctor finds herself in a vampire state after she nearly dies and has to choose between The Movement and the vampires the Movement is trying to destroy. The Movement is basically the good side, but it’s really loosely good. Enter Dhalia who helps get the plot in motion, a modern day witch who longs to be a vampire and despises our main character, Carrie. Dhalia is a horrible person, but not without sympathy, while Carrie is a good person not without the need to throttle her. Nathan, the man Carrie turns to, and Cyrus, the vampire who sired Carrie, round out a cast of characters that all are human and monster.

This did not belong in romance. Sure, the main character has two men to choose from, but there’s a lot of things missing from this that typically make up a romance novel than a multitude of love interests. The biggest reason this is not a romance is there is absolutely nothing that most women would curl up and go, “That’s so romantic.” This is a novel about obsession more than it is love. Don’t expect a nice little bow on the end of this first novel, and don’t expect to like either of her prospects, or completely hate them.

The vampires in this novel are dark and deadly. It touches slightly on other races of beings but doesn’t explore them and I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see more of it in other novels. Still, excellent executed all of the way through. A few minor errors that I will not nitpick the author on, for once, but nothing that would keep me from recommending this novel to others. For once I was happy to have read a contemporary vampire novel again. It had been awhile.

Reasons to Read:

– Characters with character, no Mary Sues

– Interesting vampire lore wrapped up together without going too far

– No perfect little bow

– Very well written

Reasons Not To Read:

– It is not a romance, if that is what you are looking for

– Dark details, bloody, gory

– Vampires

Reviewing Be Still My Vampire Heart by Kerrelyn Sparks

2/5

This is the third book in Sparks’ series. The first one was a solid read, though not great, the second one was better, though I hated the contrived ending, and this one just fell apart. You have to read the other two to understand the secondary storyline in this novel. Shanna and Roman are a large part of this book and the continued efforts again Shanna’s father and the upcoming baby. Angus and Emma, however, are the main characters of this story, and it’s boring. The underlying storyline is better, but Sparks, like most women in the genre, decides it is more important to make this an erotic romance than just make a continuing series based on what she’s really aiming for.

Major issues I had with the novel itself were things like Angus calling Emma “virtuous”. The woman was killing vampires out of a need for revenge for what happened to her parents. It so happened that the vampires she had killed so far were doing something wrong, but she nearly killed Angus, who hadn’t done anything wrong.

Angus mentions how long he’s been alive and it’s why he’s chivalrous and needs to stand when she stands and why he’s so worried about a woman’s pleasure. Considering his background this makes no sense. Chivalry was not entirely a popular thing amongst his people at the time of his vampirism. He would have been more worried about the children they would bear. It does not mean he could not have been a gentleman, but he only inherited a castle, he was not raised in one. Angus contradicts himself much throughout the novel, and his final actions in the end of the book annoy me to the point where I just stop liking him. I’m tired of emo men in my romance novels. Women do not want a guy who is so easily torn up, at least not in romance.

Reasons to Read:

– It continues the series, and if you enjoyed the first two, keep going

– The secondary plot is interesting

Reasons not to Read:

– Lines like this, “Ye’re as wet and fresh as the morning dew.”

– Disjointed feeling

– Cookie cutter main characters

 

What Are You Reading Wednesday 9/5/12

I admit it, I bought a video game this week and all of my responsibilities went out the window. I can’t help it! I need to end the game, and once I’m done I’ll likely never pick it up again and wonder why I spent 4 days trying to beat it. For those curious, I’m playing Batman: Arkham City. I’m loving every moment of it, but it’s keeping me from my books.

I managed to finish one book last week, and not even the graphic novel. I’m so behind I’m not sure how I’m catching up this year. So, I’m still reading this book:

 

There was a bathtub scene that reminded me of a scene from Elizabeth Haydon’s Symphony of Ages series:

 

However, Haydon did it better. Which is a shame, and incredible, all at once. After all, Sparks’ novel is meant to be an erotic romance. The other is an epic fantasy novel.

Along with Sparks’ novel I’m about halfway through this manga:

 

So good, and I just can’t seem to get through it. Honestly, it’s that video game, because there’s nothing wrong with this novel. I want to read more!

Before I get distracted further, I’m also reading:

 

Now the second one might look like a hot and sweaty romance novel, but if it’s anything like the first book in the series it is based more off of a plot than a romance, though you can’t deny there is romance throughout the series. The first book had an excellent balance of teenage hormones and a deep plot that did not get too heavy handed. I’m only 5% through this next one, and it was a brutal 5% (in that the character goes through some immense pain) but Provencher has a way with words that is incredible. What are you reading this Wednesday?

Reviewing Gladius and the Bartlett Trial by JA Paul

2/5

For the record, this review is wrought with spoilers.

I sincerely debated giving this novel one star on the principle that I was forcing my way through to the end, but Paul knows how to write a sentence, he just didn’t catch the flow on how to tell a story. All of the reviews tell me this novel is written for young boys, but honestly, what age group? This novel is a mish-mash of wanting to be more adult and acting entirely too childish. “No, this character can’t die like this,” “No, let’s wait for the contrived story-telling,” and then in the same breath quite brutally kills off another character. The worst part about this novel is that when it is interesting the title character is nowhere to be found. Gladius is bland to the point of he could have been anyone else and been more interesting. Gladius also has this way of tripping over someone who can help, just in the nick of time.

The Bartlett Trial itself is barely explained, even though for the first 30% of the novel Paul was spoon-feeding us plot instead of letting it develop naturally. When it did develop naturally it was by the coincidence that, hey, there’s someone to help. We get a damsel who needs rescuing who should be dirtier and has absolutely not discernible reason ever given throughout the novel as to how she would be “helpful” later locked away from someone to just happen to trip over. Birds and bats can talk but the giant cat that attacked Gladius in the first scene can’t, why is that? We hear a very long story about a dragon that has nothing to do with anything other than the person works with dragons.

Oh, my favorite, “Gladius’ weight sent him falling past Elle and landing hard against the cliff fifteen feet below.” Someone ignores physics. If she is lower than him there is no way by simply falling he ends up under her “because of his weight”. No. Way. Speaking of no way moments, Albino bats? Kind of cool. Except they only come out in the day. You do know there are other problems with albino than that they are white, correct? The other being the sensitivity to light. So the author wanted day bats and for them to be white, that would have worked, but to call them Albino is just again going for the cool word rather than the logistics of the creature.

All of this honestly just makes me angrier because I can tell Paul can write, but to be honest it just was hardly worth the effort here. Does it mean I would never read anything by him again? No. I’d like to see him write something and just go for what it is he wants and not for what he thinks will sell.

Reasons to Read:

– Doc and the storyline between the two brothers are interesting

Reasons Not to Read:

– All of that stuff up there