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Book Review: Three Half Goats Gruff & Dragons Don’t Eat Meat, by Kim McDougall

I had several loads of laundry to fold yesterday. So, I borrowed an audio copy of Kim McDouGall’s Valkyrie Bestiary through Hoopla. It included the prequel Three Half Goats Gruff (which I actually have a Kindle copy of) and Dragons Don’t Eat Meat.

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Three Half Goats Gruff:

Is he a vampire? A shifter? Something worse? Thrown together to save a middle school from an infestation of satyrs, Kyra and the mysterious Captain of the Guardians share one heart-stopping night.

Critter wrangling rule #4: There isn’t much you can’t kill, confuse, or disgust with a can of bug fogger.

my review

At only 45 pages, this is was only a taster of the series to come. But it was enough to know I’d like the main character, Kyra, and the writing of the series at large. Plus, how cute is that cover!?

Dragon’s Don’t Eat Meat:

Someone is killing dragons. And the killings point to a civil war brewing among the fae.

When Kyra finds an abandoned baby dragon, she doesn’t want to bring him home. But until she can hunt down his thunder and stop the dragon killers, she’s on babysitting duty.

As a pest controller with a soft heart, Kyra already has an apartment full of rescues, including a basilisk who thinks he’s a turkey, a banshee nanny, and even a pygmy kraken. She might take care of them, but they also fill her need for family. And when that family is threatened, she’ll risk everything to save them. She’ll even join forces with the handsome and irritating captain of the city’s vigilante Guardians, who never fails to be around at her most undignified moments.

Along with a quirky cast of misfits and unruly critters, Kyra leaves the safety of Montreal Ward and travel through the dangerous Inbetween—the land beyond the protected city states, where magic is the only rule of law—to reunite the lost dragon with his thunder and stop a new and sinister force from invading their home.
my reviewI enjoyed this. I liked Kyra and her menagerie quite a lot. The world was interesting. I thought the writing readable and the narrator did a good job with the audio version. I didn’t feel like I got to know Mason as well as I’d have liked and at times the adventure felt a little go here-do that random, while the overarching plot a little predictable. Plus, in a post-apocalyptic world where travel was dangerous and limited and fossil fuels were no longer allowed, there seemed to be an awful lot of people not from the area in the area (lots of individuals with Welsh or Irish accents for example) and I wondered how they got there. Magic, maybe, but it wasn’t addressed. I still enjoyed the experience quite a lot though and will continue the series. Though not immediately, as I’ve other commitments to attend to.

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Other Reviews:

Books and Pals – Review: Dragon’s Don’t Eat Meat



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Book Review: The Hollow Gods, by A. J. Vrana

A.J. Vrana‘s The Hollow Gods‘ sequel, The Echoed Realm, was featured on Sadie’s Spotlight a while back. The post included some absolutely gorgeous art for the series and I’ve seen even more since then. (I mean check out the covers of these special edition copies!) Beautiful! So, I borrowed an audio copy of The Hollow Gods through Hoopla to give the series a shot.

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Black Hollow is a town with a dark secret.

For centuries, residents have foretold the return of the Dreamwalker—an ominous figure from local folklore said to lure young women into the woods and possess them. Yet the boundary between fact and fable is blurred by a troubling statistic: occasionally, women do go missing. And after they return, they almost always end up dead.

When Kai wakes up next to the lifeless body of a recently missing girl, his memory blank, he struggles to clear his already threadbare conscience.

Miya, a floundering university student, experiences signs that she may be the Dreamwalker’s next victim. Can she trust Kai as their paths collide, or does he herald her demise?

And after losing a young patient, crestfallen oncologist, Mason, embarks on a quest to debunk the town’s superstitions, only to find his sanity tested.

A maelstrom of ancient grudges, forgotten traumas, and deadly secrets loom in the foggy forests of Black Hollow. Can three unlikely heroes put aside their fears and unite to confront a centuries-old evil? Will they uncover the truth behind the fable, or will the cycle repeat?

my review

I liked this quite a lot. I’ll admit it wasn’t quite as intense as I’d expected, but I enjoyed it all the same. It was very atmospheric.

I liked the way Kai never truly tried to act human and how Miya accepted him for it all the same. And I liked the way Miya showed vulnerability, but also wasn’t a pushover and Kai appreciated that about her. I understood Mason’s difficulty and obsessive need to find answers. Though I thought his reluctance to believe lasted well past when it should have.

The prose is a little on the purple side. But I have a pretty high tolerance for that, often enjoying writing others complain about being too full of adjectives, similes, and metaphors. The story also wrapped around itself in a pleasant way, coming full circle and concluding nicely. But I never quite grasped The First’s motives, Madrix’s but not The Firsts. (I’m not certain I spelled that name right, since I never saw it in writing.)

All in all, I plan to read the second book too. But I’m not leaping straight in at the moment.

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Other Reviews:

Blog Tour Review: The Hollow Gods by A.J. Vrana

The Hollow Gods by A. J. Vrana – Review & Blog Tour


[Blog Tour] The Hollow Gods by A.J. Vrana – Atmospheric, Dark, and Mysterious!

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Book Review: Shadow of the Wicked, by Douglas W.T. Smith

Douglas W.T. Smith‘s Shadow of the Wicked is going to be on Sadie’s Spotlight next week. I didn’t agree to review the book for the tour, but those participating in the tour received a free copy of the book. Since it’s only 107 pages long, I decided to give it a quick read.

Honestly, I found myself in a bit of a pickle. Assuming I would enjoy the book, I had planned to drop the review at the same time as the post goes live on Sadie’s Spotlight—a bit of a 2 for 1 deal. But I turned out not to like it much and I do try not to post bad reviews during a promotional tour. That’s just bad form. So, I’m posting it a week early instead of holding it until the week after.


Twin brothers–a sorcerer and a warrior–are each tortured for their opposing convictions. Will magick be restored or extinguished?

Magick had once ruled The Three Kingdoms, but now it is banished and condemnable.

Jaromir and Talmage have been imprisoned for different convictions.

Jaromir wakes up chained to a table filled with dread, while Talmage is thrown into an underground labyrinth.

Jaromir has devoted his life to mastering weapons as the Empress’ Guard and forming a secret order to rid the world of magick. His lifetime devotion is useless when his limbs are chained. Unless he divulges the order’s plans. Jaromir is tortured and his body pushed to breaking point but he refuses to betray the order––until his wife is dragged into the room. Jaromir is forced to make a choice between his honor and his beloved wife. Which will he choose?

Meanwhile, Talmage is thrown into an underground labyrinth. Since his parent’s death, he had practiced the art of magick in secret from his brother’s order. Magick had been his savor and his security through his troubled life. No matter what Talmage tried, the ghosts of his past haunt him––especially in the dark passages. At first, he thought he was alone, for one last trial, until familiar voices echo from the shadows.

Both brothers must escape from their wicked fate, identify their outgrown relationship, and swallow their pride before it’s too late.

my review

There isn’t any polite way to say a book isn’t very good. I could try and dress it up, give the review a compliment sandwich, etc. But the bare bones truth is still that this book isn’t very good. Though it’s not labeled as such, I’m fairly sure the copy I read was an ARC and, therefore, hasn’t yet had it’s final mechanical edit. So, I won’t go into grammatical editing. But even leaving that aside, the writing is choppy, repetitive, and often unclear. The characters are un-relatable and, worst of all, none of it is given any true context.The sentence in the synopsis that says, “Magick had once ruled The Three Kingdoms, but now it is banished and condemnable” is pretty much all the world-building you’ll find in the whole novella. What you’re left with is 107 pages of torture porn with no apparent point. I read all 107 pages and still do not know if there was a theme or message. Was I supposed to take something away from this? I sense that Smith meant for me to, but whatever it is it’s too weak to be successfully conveyed. A viscous content editor could maybe beat it into something meaningful. But it’s not there yet. It does have a great cover though.

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