Monthly Archives: August 2013

Review of Dr. Homebrew, by Snow Hudson

Dr. HomebrewI was sent a free review copy of Dr. Homebrew, by Snow Hudson. (Though the illustrator, Chiara Rogazzo deserves mention too. It’s worth checking out the website just to see more of of her illustrations.) While not currently free, I also know that the book has been available for free through Amazon KDP and will likely come up again.

Description from Goodreads:
An unassuming Psychiatrist by day, Dr. Max Mason and his assistant, Amber, work after-hours in their underground laboratory making the world’s best beers. Unfortunately for Max and Amber, the global corporation, Lake’s Ltd., has forced all independent beer brewers out of business. Pursued by Mr. Wig (the CEO of Lake’s Ltd.) and the clueless Chief Inspector Hastings, Max and Amber dodge one close call after another in pursuit of having their home-brewed beers distributed amongst the general population.

Will Max and Amber ever be able to sell their delicious drinks in the real world? Will Mr. Wig or the Chief Inspector ever find out who Dr. Homebrew really is? Who is blackmailing Dr. Max Mason? And will Max and Amber ever acknowledge their feelings for one another?

Review:
To start with, I adore this cover. It sets the feel of the book before you even start page one. It’s what originally attracted me to the book. As a matter of fact, it’s only the cover that really makes this a steakpunk novella. The technology isn’t really described in enough detail to clue the reader in to its technological genre (normal, sic-fi, steampunk, etc).

I quite enjoyed the story, didn’t immediately figure out the mystery, adored Max and Amber and felt really sorry for poor Chief Inspector Hastings (even if maybe I shouldn’t have). I couldn’t decide if this was supposed to be an indictment of the perceived lack of choice available in the modern Western market or not. I think some of us would be surprised at how little variety is actually available to us once you consider that choice really is only an illusion if you’re only allowed to choose between the same few options. Not to mention how many of those options are actually owned by the same companies. But again, I couldn’t decide if this was or wasn’t the theme here. It could have been or it could just be me reading too much into it.

The novella was written in a tight, snappy narrative style that moved along nicely. I did find it just a little bit repetitive and thought it wrapped up quite quickly at the end. It definitely left ample opening for a second book. I look forward to reading it.

Review of Sharon Page’s Erotic Vampire Novel, Blood Red

Blood RedI grabbed a practically new (maybe even new) paperback copy of this book at the secondhand shop.

Description from Goodreads:
Take a bite of desire…

Althea Yates is a vampire hunter, skilled with the crossbow and the stake. But she knows nothing of a man’s touch—or how to control the unladylike dreams that haunt her sleep. That is when they come, two men of unearthly beauty who ravish her in sweet carnal games, taking her to the precipice of exquisite desire and unimaginable erotic pleasure. It is scandalous. Forbidden. Unholy. For her lovers are not men, but vampires—the very beasts she and her father have sworn to destroy.

It is only a dream…until the elegant carriage arrives at the inn, drawn by four black horses. Until Yannick de Wynter, Earl of Brookshire, alights, silver-eyed, determined, and hungry for something she cannot name. And suddenly, Althea is no longer certain whether she has had a dream… or a dangerously erotic premonition…

Review:
I’m gonna use a star rating here and go with three stars for this book. But that needs to be understood as three stars on the erotica rating scale. I’m not really suggesting there is a whole different grading system for erotica, but we all know to expect less plotting, character development and world-building from an erotica than from, say, literary fiction. So a three star erotica is still going to have less of all of the above and readers accept that as par for the course.

I can sum this book up in seven short words: sex, sex, sex,sex, and more sex. Yep, that’s about it. I realise I can’t reasonable complain about too much sex in an erotica and I’m not. But even by erotic standards the plot was pretty flimsy for a full length book. A lot was left unexplained, such as exactly what special skills Bastien had that was supposed to help him battle Zayan or what exactly vampire were. Somehow demons and Lucifer came into play and I never really figured out how.

So, you’re doing the math in your head, aren’t you? There wasn’t a lot of plot, but the book is 300 pages long. Wow, there really must have been a lot of sex, you think. Yep, and surprisingly the author manages to put enough variety in to keep it from getting too stale. (I admit that by the end I was ready to finish, but I never quite reached the ‘Oh, bloody hell, not another one’ stage.) There is M/F sex, M/M sex, F/F sex, M/F/M sex, a M/M/F/M/M/M orgy, and even a little light bondage, S&M and breeding thrown it. Having said that, some of it just felt a little ridiculous–as if Ms. Page was trying desperately to create situations to add something more. The orgy especially felt this way. You see it coming a mile away, and then just watch it unfold with a mental eye roll and move on.

For all the forced variety there was also a certain innocence to the book. Maybe it’s because it is a couple years old and the current publishing rage is questionable consensuality, forced seduction, heavy BDSM, dominate men and simpering submissive women. I really appreciated that every sex scene in this book is clearly consensual. Althea (what the hell kind of name is that BTW) may be a virgin when she meets Yannick, but she takes to sex with enthusiasm. I did begin to wonder just how much she could experience before she lost that same innocence that the twins love so much, but it’s hardly a point worth thinking too deeply about.

I could have done without the sappy, happy ending. But, all-in-all for a full length erotic novel it wasn’t too darned bad.

Review of Would-Be Witch (Southern Witch #1), by Kimberly Frost

Would-Be WitchI picked up a paperback copy of Kimberly Frost‘s Would-Be Witch from Goodwill for $0.70. Yea, even I’ll throw down less than a dollar for an evening read.

Description from Goodreads:
The family magic seems to have skipped over Tammy Jo Trask. All she gets are a few untimely visits from long-dead, smart-mouthed family ghost Edie. But when her locket-an heirloom that happens to hold Edie’s soul-is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it’s time for Tammy to find her inner witch.

After a few experiences with her dysfunctional magic, Tammy turns to the only person in small-town Duval, Texas, who can help: the very rich and highly magical Bryn Lyons. He might have all the answers-and a 007savoir faire to boot-but the locket isn’t the only heirloom passed down in Tammy’s family. She also inherited a warning: stay away from Lyons.

Review:

This is a fun, light-hearted read. Tammy Jo is having a bad week, a really bad week and despite her lack of magical abilities finds herself mixed up in more hocus-pocus than she can handle. And some of it is just plain funny. The humour is what makes the book worth reading. Tammy Jo has a sharp wit and her sarcasm is a joy to partake in. 

The book does feel a little chaotic at times, with Tammy Jo trying to accomplish multiple tasks at the same time, with no real understanding of what is going on around her. Plus, the world-building is a little on the slim side. But, all-in-all, it’s a fun little ride. And while the whole werewolf mystery is cleared up, this is still very much a first book in a series. There are a number of threads left loose and a lot of unanswered or unaddressed questions. This left me feeling dissatisfied right at the end.

I’m also at a bit of a loss about the Bryn/Zach situation. I like both men, despite their serious control issues (Zach especially). It’s not quite a love triangle, but is too close to be comfortable. There’s little chance of either one escaping unscathed and I find myself cringing at the prospects. 

If I come across the sequel, I’ll definitely be giving it a read. But even a Kindle copy is $11.00 (and not even lendable)! There is just no chance of me paying that. So, it’ll have to be a secondhand copy from somewhere.